My name is Christopher Kruppe. I'm from Illinois. I go to the University of Illinois at Chicago where I am a PhD Physical Chemistry candidate.
What got you interested in sustainability?
At my undergrad I earned a concentration in environmental sciences. The coursework introduced me to sustainable ideas for the individual, but also at the community level. The world is in need of ideas that unite people together and a progression towards a more sustainable culture is something that all can benefit from.
What sustainability, energy, and mobility issues are important to you?
There are many issues that deserve the attention of sustainable problem solvers. Plastic waste, air/water quality, greenhouse gas emissions, are definitely all causes for concern. I think many people agree as well. While I am naturally interested in the technologies that are created to solve problems, I am extremely interested in finding ways to incentivize people to make decisions that result in more sustainable outcomes. How can this be done in ways that don't just guilt people? Solving these kinds of issues can lead to sustainable actions that become permanent for generations to come.
What exciting projects/research are you working on now?
My research is concentrated on understanding model catalytic systems at the molecular level. We use surface-sensitive spectroscopic techniques to elucidate chemical structures on the surface of our catalytic material. Recently, we have been studying an atomically efficient catalytic system termed a "single-atom alloy". We have shown that single atoms of a reactive metal deposited on a more inert host exist as single atoms dispersed on the surface. These single atoms are reactive enough to drive reactions that are usually done by a much larger amount of reactive metal. Thus, the project has implications into utilizing as little rare metals as physically possible.
What are your plans for the next five years?
After finishing my PhD I hope to find myself working to solve complex problems that can have a beneficial impact on others. My other hope is to be working with motivated people towards those solutions in a positive environment.
What made you want to apply to SISE?
I applied to SISE because of the implied experience that comes with the institute. The experience seems incredibly unique and is related to an interesting topic. I am curious as to what kind of problems industries are facing in adopting sustainable practices and I feel like SISE will likely provide answers to this.
What are you most looking forward to doing in the city?
Summertime Chicago is always great. It is good to have a quick search for what events are happening because each weekend is packed with excitement. My favorite nights involve live music and good food. There are several blues spots on Halsted, the Green Mill for Jazz, and Randolph street for food. All genres and tastes can be found in different areas of the city, and if you have a preference for something look it up. Chicago has something to offer everyone.
Do you like cats? If not, are you willing to learn to like cats?
I like cats. I respect cats. I own one as well. They are certainly incredible creatures and it is cool to see the little jungle cat in them. However, I do love my dogs.