Postdoc Spotlight: Gary Koenig

Gary Koenig has been working at Argonne for two years now in the Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division. He is a part of the Electrochemical Energy Storage Group and has focused his research on the synthesis and understanding of new cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries.

Battery research is a hot news item these days as industry, governments and individuals turn to science for answers to our energy problems. Koenig’s work takes on a special, significant importance as the research he is working on today will become the technology of tomorrow.

Koenig completed his graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work in the chemical engineering department involved fundamental experimental studies of colloidal phenomena.  When he arrived at Argonne he joined an applied research group that focused on technology development. He was given the opportunity to work on larger scale systems for producing lithium-ion battery materials.

“In comparison to my graduate work, my prospective project at Argonne was more applied and involved much more synthesis and materials science,” said Koenig. “I thought these aspects would help broaden my research.”

Argonne was the right place for Koenig to expand his horizons. The laboratory is known for its battery research and development. It is also known for its diversity of research, experienced scientific staff and its reputation as an open science laboratory. This is what attracted Koenig to Argonne.

“There are a number of people here with many years of research experience in very diverse areas,” said Koenig. “So if you can find the right people, you can learn quite a bit.” He also chose Argonne to get a feel for the environment and inner workings of a national research laboratory.

While Koenig has thoroughly enjoyed his postdoctoral appointment here at Argonne, he did mention one area of difficulty — paperwork. “The paperwork can be frustrating depending on what you’re trying to do,” said Koenig.

In 2012 he will join the faculty of the University of Virginia for the spring semester. He described his experiences interviewing for this and other positions as quite involved. Koenig prepared at least one to two presentations and had several additional individual meetings with up to 20 people. His skills as a speaker and the time he spent making presentations at Argonne helped him prepare for the interview process and his new faculty position at the University of Virginia.

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