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Becoming friends with the analytical instrument

Ingrid Bakke, visiting researcher at InnoRenew CoE; Main area of research: emission of VOCs from wood building materials and impact on indoor air quality.

  • Where were you living in childhood and where do you live now?

Growing up I lived in a small town in Norway called Hønefoss, and now I live just one hour away, in Oslo.

  • What have you studied and what were the motives for your decision?

I have studied environmental analytical chemistry, and my motivation has always been to do my tiny part to minimize the harm we humans inflict on the planet.

  • How would you describe your work to someone outside your field?

I usually say the same to everyone, as I’m not sure precisely what my field is or who is included in it. I say that I analyze indoor air quality, and that I focus on wood buildings.

  • What does your typical working day look like?

A typical workday for me starts with setting up some analysis in the lab, going for coffee while I wait for results and coming back to see that there are three faults in the instrument before trying again.

  • What makes you excited about your work?

The hope of one day getting analytical instrument to work properly and producing some data, which is mostly exciting because it is rather rare.

  • And what is the biggest challenge at your work?

The biggest challenge is definitely becoming friends with the analytical instrument, but the trick is to remain an optimist. And as in any relationship understanding and good communication is key.

  • Which scientist or scientific achievement are you fascinated by and why?

I am very fascinated by arctic environmental research, as the arctic is our closest thing to land untouched by industry and the anthropocene and paints a picture of the extent of harm we have inflicted on nature. I’m also very fascinated by oceanography for similar reasons.

  • Tell us about the work of art (books, music, movies, theatre, dance, visual arts) that has a special place in your life.

I couldn’t possibly mention all the pop cultural references that has formed my life, but anything by Haruki Murakami and Rihanna has at some point touched my heart.

  • What have you read, listened to, or watched lately?

I’m reading “Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance” by Robert M. Pirsig, which is a very interesting book so far. My favorite artist lately is Little Simz. And I recently watched the very strange but funny movie “Banshees of Inisherin”.

  • Describe your very first impression of Slovenia.

My first impression of Slovenia was that it’s a country with many different landscapes, nice and welcoming people, and a very difficult language.

  • What do you like about Slovenia and what do you miss most from your homeland?

I like the beautiful nature by the coast, the fresh vegetables, good food and wine, the burja wind, and there is not much I miss about Norway so far.

  • Which place on the Slovene coast do you like the most?

Somewhere in the olive fields on the top of Dobrava area, the view is wonderful!

  • What makes you enthusiastic?

Many things! Nature, good music, cakes, coffee, and good conversation.

  • Characterize your life’s guidance or an important realization (or epiphany) you have experienced.

My life guidance is the constant fear of becoming a boring and closed-minded person.

  • What does the charm of wood mean to you?

Trees and wood have always had a warm and comforting presence in my life, and I think I have favorite trees in all the places I have lived or visited.