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Benjamin Ofori-Okai’s Personal Story


“There will be times when you’ll think you can’t do this… but you can. Just work hard and have fun.”


Ben describes his realization that his love of problem-solving in math class could have an application in chemistry research. He urges anyone intimidated by science to give it another shot because it can be a lot of fun.

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  • MIT Title

    Current MIT graduate student in Prof. Keith Nelson’s Lab talking about research in Prof. Christian Degen’s Lab

  • In your current work, where do you find inspiration/real-word application to your research? What about science continues to inspire you?

    First, I’m inspired by the question, “Will this work or not?” which is often followed by, “Why did that just happen? Can I make it do something else? Can I make it do something useful?”

    On a broader scale, I’m motivated by the current problems facing scientists and engineers relating to energy and computing like, “How can we make this device more efficient or faster?” I think that research has given us incredible power to do things that are beyond our means. The idea that maybe I can add to that toolset is pretty amazing.

    Finally, I’m inspired by the desire to spread knowledge. I like knowing stuff, but it’s really awesome that I can tell people about the stuff I know. So the more stuff that I can know and talk about, the better.

  • Did you know how to play a sport or musical instrument? Which one?

    Both. I played the trumpet and the piano briefly, learned three different forms of martial arts, and dabbled in playing basketball for a while.

  • If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

    If I could learn to do anything, it would be to breakdance. Or I would learn how to mix songs and become a DJ.