I found out that there were people in an area of Uganda that had sleeping sickness (a deadly parasitic disease, spread by a tsetse fly), when everyone else thought that it didn’t exist there – it was helpful because it meant the ministry of health could go in and look for infected people who would need treatment, they could think about trying to do a control programme and they could start to plan to get the facilities there that are necessary to diagnose and treat the disease. If I hadn’t looked for it in the first place, people would be infected and might even have died, but no one would know.
I guess the most helpful things that I have discovered so far are lots of new methods of figuring out things about extinction and evolution. Like how to make models of why some species go extinct and not others, or methods to measure how other species evolve when one goes extinct and if they affect each other. I haven’t been a scientist for very long though so I hope to discover lots more helpful things in the future.
I’ve discovered that that putting together two materials that are just a few atomic layers in thickness can make transistors, these tiny electronic devices, that have show record performance. The transistor works by a quantum mechanical effect called tunnelling, and even more exciting I showed that it can also work on flexible and transparent electronics.
My hope is that in a few years time my devices will be used in computers, phones and everything else, but that’s left for industry to decide!