Postdoctoral fellow Chun Chang works at a core-flooding setup, assembled with a medical CT scanner to visualize the CO2-brine displacement in rock core samples.

Postdoctoral fellows across Berkeley Lab help give the Lab its reputation as a cradle of cutting-edge scientific research. Forty two postdocs work within the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area. A series of brown-bag lunch talks are held to raise the visibility of individual postdocs, who are given the opportunity to present their work to colleagues and senior staff during the sessions. SULI Intern Nkosi Muse  had the chance to sit down with Chun and ask him about his experience as a postdoctoral fellow here at Berkeley Lab. 

Chun Chang was among the four EESA postdocs to address attendees of the Meet your Postdoc session on Thursday, November 16. Chun’s journey to Berkeley Lab began in China, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in engineering and Ph.D in hydrogeology from China University of Geosciences’ School of Water Resources and Environment. Chun currently works with Timothy Kneafsey in the Energy Geosciences Division.

Question: Describe the path that led you to Berkeley Lab.

Answer: While completing my Ph.D. at the China University of Geosciences, I met Quanlin Zhou, a geological staff scientist here at EESA. We discussed my Ph.D. work and each other’s research interests. When I discovered the opportunity to receive funding through the Chinese government to perform two years of research at Berkeley Lab while living abroad, I jumped on the opportunity and stayed in contact with Quanlin. Later, he introduced me to Tim Kneafsey, also a geological scientist here at EESA. With these two as advisors, I was able to complete my Ph.D. and accept a postdoctoral position from Tim Kneafsey here in Berkeley from March, 2017.

Q: What do you do here at Berkeley Lab, and why is it important?

A: My research focuses on the geological sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. This involves using rock core CT scans and modeling to visualize how water within underground reservoirs is displaced when COis injected into the ground. Knowing how much COcan be stored deep underground within these aquifers, how COmoves throughout porous rock and substances, and under what conditions COcan be stored most effectively all can help play a part in reducing the greenhouse gas effect.

Q: What attracted you to this area of science?

A: I always preferred hands-on activities within the lab to computer and desk work. Science allowed me to do that, and when it came time to pursue higher education, engineering and hydrogeology stood out to me the most. My school had a strong hydrogeology department, and the hydrogeologic courses held my attention more than others did.

Q: When you’re not here at Berkeley Lab, what are you doing?

A: When the weather is nice I love to be outdoors. Barbecues at Tilden Park, hiking, enjoying the shores, and views. The weather here is more consistent than it is in Beijing where summers are very hot and winters are very cold.

Q: Of all the issues currently of concern to scientists, which issue in your opinion deserves the most scientific attention? ?

A: Climate change. With the heat waves that we recently had in Berkeley, hurricanes that have been intensifying, and flooding in China that has killed people, we need to focus on climate change. It’s more than just a regional issue, it’s worldwide. I hope that my research on COgeological sequestration can someday have an impact on climate change for the better.