Zheng Yong dwells on problems. For example, if he encounters an unfamiliar equation, instead of tackling it immediately, he deconstructs it: What does this term mean? Why is it to this power? What happens when the variables become very small or large? He will not apply the equation unless he had understood all its components.
After graduation, he put his personal ethos to the test, doing more de-constructing and re-constructing. He was part of the team at an aerospace company that converts passenger planes into freight planes. Then, during the pandemic, as passenger traffic had ground to a halt and the world needed more cargo space. He entered the industry at a critical time and was able to contribute to the pandemic effort.
However, the job, which involved a lot of engineering and re-engineering, helped him learn something important about his own aspirations. While he appreciated the importance of engineering in maintaining the day-to-day functioning of systems and machines, he realised his own interest was in developing new products and improving what had already been built. He applied for and was awarded the A*STAR National Science Scholarship (NSS) (PhD) - Scholarship, to pursue a career in research, to create products and technologies that would make benefit mankind.
Before heading to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to do his master’s and his PhD, he is now doing the one-year pre-departure attachment at the A*STAR NanoBio Lab. While his background is Aerospace Engineering, he chose to pursue something on a completely different scale, working with atoms and molecules, which are measured at nanometres. To put it in perspective, a human hair ranges from 105 to 106 nanometres wide.
His current project involves working with a team to create the next generation of batteries. If the energy density of a battery can be increased, devices would become smaller, weigh less, and have longer lasting battery life. With a breakthrough in the manifold increase density, next-generation innovations such as electric passenger planes would shortly follow. He may continue working with batteries for his PhD, or he may not. He will decide after he has spent more time working with batteries. But one thing is clear, it will a career grounded in science.