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Meet a NASA Glenn Employee: Francisco Solá
April 19, 2013

Thousands of talented, dedicated and passionate people work at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. They are rocket scientists and engineers. They are researchers and physicists and chemists. They are aviation specialists, public affairs officers, administrative assistants, security officers, logistics managers and more. With countless specializations in myriad fields, the people of Glenn share one goal: working for the public in support of NASA's mission.

The diverse Glenn workforce is comprised of civil servants and on-site support contractors. Workers perform a large variety of different jobs at NASA Glenn. "My Job at NASA Glenn" is a series that introduces some of these workers. Learn about different employees and the interesting jobs they perform, and how their education prepared them to make unique and important contributions to NASA.

Francisco Solá


Job Title:
Materials Research Engineer in the Advanced Metallics Branch

What that means:
That means that I'm involved in several research projects mainly within the Structures and Materials Division. I currently support research projects in nanotechnology, advanced thermoelectrics and nanocomposite blades.

What I do:
I do advanced microscopy investigation of a wide variety of aerospace materials with emphasis in structure-property relationships. For example, I look at crystal structures and the electrical, mechanical and thermal properties. My work is focused on the microstructure of materials.

The coolest /most interesting part of my job is:
Being able to predict physical properties of materials by looking at them at the atomic- micron scales. For instance, I may look at sizes of features within the material (i.e. grain sizes), how the matter is organized and if there are any types of defects on the material.

My favorite project that I have worked, or that I am working on, is:
All projects I have worked on are interesting, but probably my favorite until now was the collaborative work on a new type of methane sensor. We showed for the first time that methane can be detected at room temperature by using porous tin oxide nanostructures as the sensing material, something that did not happen with solid tin oxide nanostructures.

The accomplishment that I am most proud of is:
I finished my Ph.D. in four years after completion of my bachelor's degree.

A Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education helped me by:
Providing me with tools, coherent rules and activities necessary to be successful in my career and to some extent in my personal life.

Good advice for students, including STEM students, is:
Work hard every day, be consistent and persistent, and always try new things and projects. Master the language of mathematics and you will be able to find deep answers to your scientific problems. Go beyond topics covered in class by trying self-learning.

How do you "dream big?"
I dream big by working hard every day and by setting short and long-term goals.

Who inspired you to "dream big" and how or what did they do that inspired you?
My family, teachers and mentors inspired me by simply supporting me in my decisions and encouraging me to always do better and by coaching me how to be disciplined and reach for excellence.

What do you do to inspire others to "dream big?"
I inspire others to "dream big" by sharing my story with coworkers and students. I talk to students at NASA events; scientific competitions, and I mentor students during the summer.

Meet More NASA Glenn Employees

-Edited by Nancy Smith Kilkenny, SGT Inc.
NASA's Glenn Research Center

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Francisco Solá
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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: Kelly Heidman