Meet the Scientist: Funmi Felicia Ajayi

August 12, 2019

Name: Dr. Funmi Felicia Ajayi
Institution: University of Ibadan
Place of Residence: Oyo State, Nigeria


What kind of science do you do?
I am primarily a geoscientist specializing in the field of soil/sediment mineralogy and environmental geochemistry.

Why did you choose this field?
The field of environmental geochemistry is quite interesting in that it deals with understanding the environment we live in, providing information about the processes and chemistry of nature, the changes taking place in its settings, and ways of mitigating the effect of alteration and pollution happening in the natural systems. Then the field of soil/sediment mineralogy is very down-to-Earth, addressing the basics.

What's the most interesting place you've ever done field work?
Generally, I love field work, because I am an outdoor person, I like the natural landscapes with its varying concepts and diversities. So, exploring and interacting with it is always fulfilling. Each field work experience comes with its own uniqueness but I always find the appearance of water-bodies refreshing, so I will say the experience of sampling coastal wetlands of the Lagos Lagoon at Offin-Araromi in Ikorodu, Nigeria (N 060 32' 19.0" E 0030 30' 1.1") was very interesting, even with some little incidences, experienced with the local dwellers mistaking us for agents of their rival neighboring community.

What is one place in the world that you would love to do research in, and why?
The Arctic, because I've always wondered and intrigued, how will it be like? To set foot on those vast open landscapes filled with ice, water and rocks. I even learned that part of the dust generated in the Trans-Sahara desert on our own African soil do travel as far as those regions. So, it wouldn't be a bad idea to sample and carry out research on the geochemistry and particulate signature of Greenland's or Norway's ice.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part of research work is non-availability of equipment and tools: the lack of adequate, up-to-date materials and machines, for sampling, sample processing and analysis. In a bid to find a way around this problem, one has to improvise and send samples to overseas countries for reliable analysis; this comes at an exorbitant amount when considering the foreign exchange. So, research is unaffordable and it gets slowed down.

If you could sit next to anyone on an airplane, who would it be?
Well, I feel it will be good to spend my time on an airplane chatting with achievers and predecessor scientist/researchers in my field, tapping their wealth of knowledge and experience.

What's your favorite city in the world and why?
New York, I will love to see the Statue of Liberty.

What is your favorite downtime activity?
I spend most of my downtime, to surf the internet for information, to check my social media account, know what is trending and keep up-to-date, with events around the globe. I love to do these while listening to good Gospel music in the background, and I also love to cook.