Robert Shaw


I’m gay and I’m a PhD student in theoretical chemistry. //

I love mathematics, and the creativity associated with it. My research in theoretical chemistry tries to get to the heart of why chemical systems behave the way they do. I focus on developing and implementing new theories and methods for looking at molecules, and in particular, their electronic structure. I never saw or heard of any LGBT mathematicians growing up—or, for that matter, queer scientists in general. It’s easy to convince yourself that your sexuality shouldn’t be relevant to your work, and I’ve heard plenty of dismissive comments from professors about the importance of inclusivity. When I think how much I’ve struggled with my identity, and how much I desperately needed to know it was okay to be me, I’d like to stop being invisible in the hopes it helps someone else. Even if it comes as a surprise to many who know me.