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Mahmoud R

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Science policy, electrochemistry, combustion, energy, environment


I am currently pursuing my PhD in mechanical engineering at MIT and also a Technology and Policy master's degree at MIT. My research is on the explosive behavior of lithium-ion batteries. I am Communications Director at the MIT Science Policy Review, where I am also co-authoring a policy review on electric vehicle charging infrastructure. I also participated in the MIT Science Policy Initiative's Congressional Visits Day where I advocated for an increase in federal STEM research spending. I received my bachelor's degree in chemical engineering with minors in chemistry and math from Ohio University. During my undergrad, I spent time at the University of Pittsburgh conducting computational catalysis research, interned at an industrial chemical plant, and conducted nuclear energy research at the Idaho National Lab. Feel free to reach out to me if you are interested in lithium-ion batteries, electric vehicles, climate change, science policy, chemistry, engineering, energy sciences (anything science- to be honest!), or event politics. Here's more on me:

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Literature review on a topic related to catalysis (reaction engineering), batteries, electric vehicles, climate change, energy

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that we have only 10 years left to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 ºC, before the point of no return. Tackling climate change can be accomplished through numerous means. Below are two examples of topics we can discuss and conduct literature review in! A)The widespread adoption of electric vehicles is essential to decreasing CO2 emissions. As one of the highest-energy-density rechargeable batteries, lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) are ideal candidates for this transition to electric vehicles. B) CO2, a major greenhouse gas, is present in low concentrations in the atmosphere and is expensive and challenging to sequester directly from the air. Chemists and engineers are actively exploring a variety of catalysts that can adsorb and activate CO2 to react to form other valuable chemicals. Suitable catalysts (i.e., those that have large surface areas and bind high concentrations of reactants) can be synthesized and packed into reactors, and finally installed at the source of CO2 production. For example, in industry, methanol is produced on a Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 catalyst using a CO, CO2, and H2 mixture. We can begin by exploring the intersection of energy and environmental work, identifying a topic of interest, and finally conducting a literature review in it. The end goal could be to write a short article!

Policy Review

We can work towards conducting a policy review of policy topic of interest. Alternatively, one could write a policy critique of a certain policy or position. The policy topics can be scientific, economic, or purely political in nature. The article could be published as an Op-Ed. This project would involve developing our logic and reasoning skills.

Energy Systems Modeling

We ca explore the fascinating world of energy systems, learning how to model and analyze various energy conversion processes using fundamental first principles and thermodynamics. Together, we will delve into the core concepts and apply the basics of thermodynamics, and develop the skills to create mathematical models for real-world energy systems. Matlab or Python can be used to model the system.

Coding skills

Python, Machine Learning, Matlab

Languages I know

Lebanese Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic

Teaching experience

I was a calculus II supplemental instruction leader for 5 semesters as an undergrad. I was the first freshman supplemental instruction leader. I also tutored students one-on-one, through my college's Center for Academic Achievement.


Work experience

Idaho National Lab (2020 - 2020)
Student Researcher
Solvay (2019 - 2019)
Chemical Engineering Intern
University of Pittsburgh (2018 - 2018)
Visiting Student Researcher


Ohio State University
BS Bachelor of Science (2020)
Chemical Engineering
MS Master of Science candidate
Mechanical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MSt Master of Studies candidate
Technology and Policy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
mechanical engineering

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