Innovating for a Strong and Flexible Future: Ethen Lund ’25 PhD

Ethen Lund studies materials science in Yale’s School of Engineering & Applied Sciences. Conducting research that will mold the technology of tomorrow, Ethen has flourished as a member of the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale.

Ethen Lund ’25 PhD
Ethen Lund ’25 PhD
Ethen Lund ’25 PhD
Ethen Lund ’25 PhD

Compounds that bend and twist at room temperature. Solids with the atomic structure of liquids. Metals as tough as steel and malleable as plastic. 'Materials that are strong and also flexible have great value for their versatility in engineering applications,” says Ethen Lund. These are the building blocks of the future, and they are taking shape in the hands of Yale graduate students like Ethen.

Ethen is a PhD student in the School of Engineering & Applied Science (SEAS), where he studies in the lab of Jan Schroers. Ethen’s work in materials science focuses on metallic glasses, amorphous alloys that have an atomic structure similar to water. “I spend a lot of time fabricating samples,” Ethen says, “feeling the materials, observing them, manipulating them. It’s extraordinarily tactile and hands on.” The materials Ethen studies and develops hold the promise for applications in aerospace, energy, and manufacturing technologies.

Innovation like Ethen’s flourishes in a collaborative environment where students and faculty can share ideas, trade insights, and draw from many disciplines for inspiration. Ethen has found such a setting at the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale (Tsai CITY). “Tsai CITY is an amazing resource,” Ethen says. “I’ve benefited a lot from it. There’s a great cohort of students. Together we’ve worked on projects like coming up with new ideas for sustainable resources in building maintenance and development and, more broadly, cultivating a community of innovators at Yale.

“I felt the gravity of the place immediately,” Ethen continues. “And its commitment to innovation attracted me. The faculty and staff there are incredibly supportive. If you can think of something, Tsai CITY will help you make it happen and make it successful.”

Ethen drew on Tsai CITY support to found and lead a program pairing first-year doctoral students with peer mentors. “I really could have used something like this when I first arrived at Yale,” he says. “It helped build a great community with strong bonds between its individual members. All of that came around because Tsai CITY had the flexibility to support my idea and help me make it happen.”

His time at Yale and Tsai CITY has opened Ethen’s eyes to the iterative process of discovery and experimentation. “Innovation is just trying something new and seeing what happens,” Ethen says. “Tsai CITY gave me the confidence to call myself an innovator and start imagining better ways to do things. I really value being a part of this community where I know I’m ready to tackle a challenge, now and in the future.”

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