Prof. Ronald Martin from Western University.

New Answers at the Threshold of Art & Science

Professor Ronald Martin finds inspiration through his interdisciplinary research.


Ronald Martin is a Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Chemistry at Western University. We asked him everything from why he chose his field of study to what’s in his record collection in hopes of giving you a better understanding of what goes on outside the lab for one of the best minds in Canadian research.

What inspired you to become a scientist?
I wanted to understand how the universe worked.

What do you like most about being a scientist?
Interacting with other researchers, especially outside my discipline.

What do you envision in the future of your field?
I apply my research into areas like the environment and objects of cultural heritage. This makes my work intensely interdisciplinary and I should like to see more interdisciplinary work in the future. I think this is where our greatest achievements will live.

How will your research make a difference in our lives?
I hope we will be in a position to interact with our environment wisely and face challenges like global warming and environmental degradation from a true knowledge base. If we can manage this, I think the lives of all humans will be improved. I have said many times that art makes life livable and I should like to think that the work we are now doing on cultural heritage objects will help in understanding this important principle.

What advice would you give young researchers?
Research is difficult; you have to love it to do it.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’ve been a university instructor for many years. My greatest achievement is the response I have received from students.

What do you read?
I read just about everything: history, biographies. I love Shakespeare and read just about anything I can get my hands on.

What’s on your Ipod?
(Or if you’re like me and haven’t entered the 21st century, what records do you have?)
My record collection is almost all classical music including modern composers; however, there’s enough extra tucked in that I dare call my collection eclectic.

If you could meet any historical figure who would it be and why?
I change my opinion every day; right now it’s Sitting Bull.

If you could do any profession other than your own what would it be?
Probably medicine.

What do you like to do for fun?
I am a sailor. I love hiking, live theater, and good food.