What is electrochemistry? Why should society as a whole care?
Since the late 90s, Nagy has been compiling this huge network of electrochemical knowledge in order to showcase why electrochemistry is so vital to the growth and nourishment of society.
“It may sound selfish, but I think electrochemistry is very important for society and people know very little about it,” says Nagy.
He began compiling the site during the infancy of the internet – around the second half of the 90s.
“I decided to put together a website for the education of the public,” Nagy says. “The articles are written in every simple language so that people can understand and see what electrochemistry does for society.”
While Nagy has been the sole editor and curator of the site, many others have contributed their expertise to create and eclectic and versatile source of electrochemical knowledge.
“I was always – and still am – hunting for the best experts,” says Nagy. who is updating the site almost everyday.
Nagy seeks out these experts and tries to convince them that writing articles about their specialty for his knowledge base would be beneficial for both them and for society as a whole.
Because of his life experience in electrochemistry, Nagy was very much aware of who was doing what and who was the best at his or her specialty. He has now brought together articles from experts all over the world in the Electrochemistry Knowledge Base.
Although the relaunching of the knowledge base with ECS is a proud achievement for this electrochemist, Nagy has had quite the storied past to get to where he is today.
Currently Nagy is semi-retired with bouts of academia thrown into the mix (including University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Case Western Reserve University), but he is still able to recall back to the time when he first discovered his love of science.
“I was very much interested in chemistry when I was in high school,” says Nagy. “My father was working for a large metal company. They decided they wanted to try to diversify into electrochemistry. My father tried to get ready for that change, so he brought a chemistry book into the house, which eventually got into my hands. I started getting very interested then.”
Nagy grew up in Hungary, where he began to pursue his career in electrochemistry. At the time, Hungary’s education system was following the Soviet model, which was extremely specialized.
Because of this, Nagy received a very strong education in electrochemical engineering – which has resulted in the compilation of the array of information in the knowledge base.
After 30 years of research at the Argonne National Laboratory and bits of academia at universities, Nagy is now retired and can dedicate much more time to creating a source that attempts to popularize electrochemistry. Though, when Nagy first started building the site in the late 90s, he did not have the amenity of time.
“When I started the whole thing I had a full-time job. My limitation was the amount of time I could spend on it,” says Nagy.
“Things got much easier when I retired, but I still remained on as part-time – so I had access to the computer and the library, which made it much easier.”
As for Nagy’s vision for his Electrochemistry Knowledge Base, it’s quite simple …
“I hope it will be useful for popularizing electrochemistry,” he says. “Hopefully it can convince some young scientists to work in the field.”