Nina Gunawan


Brewing Superior Chemicals 24/7

I'm from: Indonesia, but Australia is a second home to me
Current Location: Hobart, Tasmania (usually my bedroom, or my lab/office).
Position: PhD candidate, School of Natural Sciences, UTAS
Field of research/work: Synthetic Chemistry
YTS Years: 2022 2023

Nina's Notable career moments

  • Enjoyed science - from childhood.

  • Hated studying - from childhood.

  • Had a dream to work in the culinary field - childhood.
    Got opposed.

  • Was asked to go to uni before going to culinary field.

  • Had fun in the chemistry lab.

  • Now cooking in the chemistry lab.

About Nina Gunawan

Flavouring in your potato chips; cough syrup for your flu; soap and shampoo for shower time; these are just powder or liquid in the eyes. But do you know these powder and liquid are constructed of tons of absurdly small things that the eyes can’t see? These extremely tiny things can be classified under “chemicals”. They do have their own specific structure that differentiate one chemical to another and they tend to exist in a cluster, eventually forming either a solid in all kind of shapes, liquid just like our cough syrup, and also gases, just like the steam observed when we boil water.
Chemicals can be obtained from the nature such as natural essential oils or man-made such as your cough syrup or the food-flavouring commonly used in your potato chips. While the word “chemicals” tend to picture a toxic and dangerous stuff, in reality, they are not always that bad! A lot of them are actually useful in different field of life and my job is to develop how to make these useful chemicals in a better way or even invent a new useful chemicals-the job of a synthetic chemist. In short, my job as a synthetic chemist is just like cooking, taking a cheaper ingredient and cooked it into a better product.
What I love most about my job, is that I can play with tons of different chemicals in a safe manner and produce some very weird stuff too. When I cooked my chemicals in the laboratory, the fact that I can’t really see what I actually cooked by my eyes always excite me because it does feels like I was given a surprise all the time, of course including a lot of disappointment as well from time to time.

Nina's Photo Gallery