Engineering Fresh Faces: Nabil Bassim

Welcome to Fresh Faces. In this series, we highlight new faculty members who are doing interesting and innovative things in the lab and the classroom.

Nabil Bassim is an associate professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. In this spotlight, he talks about the whirlwind year he’ll never forget, chasing opportunities and the lessons he hopes his children learn from him.

On what got him passionate about his research

When I went to graduate school, I was passionate about studying materials and was drawn more and more into using electron microscopy to fundamentally understand and manipulate materials at the smallest length-scales. I became fascinated with the tools and techniques to better do this, and ended up working with the electron microscopy experts at the University of Florida, my graduate school. Since then, I’ve been focusing my career towards in pushing the limits of materials characterization using electron microscopes.

On his favourite things about Hamilton

I live in Westdale and enjoy the walkability of the area. I have two small kids who are nine and seven, and they love to run and bike in the park and the trails of Cootes Paradise. We are also enjoying all that the waterfront and conservations areas have to offer. I also really like the Niagara region and the opportunity to explore Toronto as a cultural hub.

Nabil Bassim.

On the greatest journey he’s ever been on

In the span of one month, I got my PhD, married my wife of almost 20 years now, and my favourite football team won the Super Bowl. That was a great month (Go Gators, Go Bucs, and Hi Carol).

On the places he’s lived in

I was born in Canada, but I moved to the United States when I was in high school. I lived in Florida for 10 years and then I was in Washington, D.C. for 14 years. I didn’t expect to come back to Canada, but I jumped at the opportunity to join McMaster because of the resources at the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy (CCEM) and the rich tradition that McMaster has in Materials Characterization. There are few places that have the capabilities and equipment that we have here at the CCEM, complimented by the expertise of the faculty and staff.

On his perfect day

I walk my kids to school and then walk to work. I meet with my graduate students and work on the latest results from our research, thinking about new ideas for better understanding and using materials.

In a perfect day, nothing breaks in the lab.

Then I come home and spend time with my family, including a walk in the park.

Nabil Bassim.

On his definition of success

With work, it’s to discover new things that could help the world.

I always think of research as an opportunity to take things you already know and put them together in new ways.

In life, success is to have a very rich and varied intellectual life and emotional life, and to have a strong family.

On why he wanted to be an engineer

My dad’s a university professor in engineering, so I had a good template to start off. I always excelled at math and science and enjoyed doing research in order to understand and predict nature.

On what lessons he hopes his kids will learn from him

Work hard, be curious and try to be fundamentally good people.

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