March ‘15
Insight Interview

March ‘15
The Chemistry Professor
The Chemistry Professor


Dr. Nabila Guindy was the first female to be a post graduate student at the University of Sheffield in the UK and here in Egypt. Since the late 70's, Dr. Guindy has taught Chemistry at the University of Ain Shams and frequently at the AUC as well as being a visiting prof supervising and judging post grad papers and studies as well as several MSc and PHD thesis degrees at both the universities of Alexandria and Cairo. She also held the position of Chair person of the department of Chemistry at the faculty of Science for 6 consecutive years. Dr. Guindy is a distinguished professor and a mother of three and was kind enough to find the time in her busy schedule to answer our questions about juggling her career and life's responsibilities.

Please tell us about yourself and what you do.

I am a university professor and I got my PHD in PhotoChemistry from the university of Sheffield in the UK.

How did you find your current path in life? And why Chemistry?

Life is chemistry. All reactions in nature and inside the human body are chemical reactions. Even the rules of attraction between human beings is chemistry. When people are confused about something, they blame it on the chemistry... So basically Life is Chemistry.

What do you most enjoy about teaching in general and Chemistry in particular?

I love teaching. I enjoy teaching. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to make people understand and make them more aware or enlightened. Even now as I'm getting older, it is extremely enjoyable to work with youngsters and sensing their thirst for knowledge and their enthusiasm to learn. It is also very rewarding when one of your students reaches high levels in their career or becomes acknowledged. You feel proud.

Could you describe a day in your life... As a professor, mother and wife...

A typical day used to be as follows: waking up at 6am, prepare the lectures, walk the dog, make and have breakfast as it is the most important meal of the day, send the kids to school or uni and husband to work then I would go to uni where I would lecture and supervise lab work. I'd be back home at 4pm to prepare lunch and have a normal family life till the next day to repeat. I only had help with the cleaning. Nowadays, I take it easier and only work twice a week.

Could you please identify a couple of research articles that you value of high importance?

There is this project on splitting water by sunshine (solar energy) to obtain hydrogen as a clean fuel (environmentally friendly).

Have you experienced any personal struggles typical for women in sciences?

None whatsoever.

In your view, how can we improve the current academic career in Egypt?

By increasing the budgets tremendously.

Who (scientist or otherwise) has influenced you?

First and foremost: my mother (May she rest in peace). Even though her origins where from upper Egypt and they are known to be tough and conservative, yet she was very independent and encouraged me and gave me freedom of choice and support all the way.

What would be your advice to young researchers still trying to decide on a career path for themselves?

I always tell them during their research to get in touch with foreign universities to broaden their spectrum for career enhancement as well so life experiences. It is neither scientific nor fulfilling to look at things from only one perspective both in life and in work.