Skip to main content

Do You Know the Wei? An Interview with Dr. Wei Liu

by Jamal Pracha (’23)

Last Thursday, I interviewed Dr. Wei Liu, the beloved organic chemistry professor here at UC who’s known for his relaxed yet effective style of teaching students. Since this is Dr. Liu’s first year at UC and in-person interactions have been few, I thought it would be great to interview him and let students get to know him a little better. 

After adjusting to seeing Dr. Liu’s face for the first time (he usually wears a mask in class), I started out pretty broad, asking him to introduce himself to the audience, talk about where he went to school, and discuss why he came here to UC. 

It turns out that Dr. Liu was quite the exceptional scholar. Before coming to UC, he received his PhD from Princeton University in synthetic organic chemistry, completed his postdoc at UC Berkeley, and launched his independent career at Miami University as a professor and part-time researcher. 

Dr. Liu currently leads a research lab. He and his team are trying to innovate efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective techniques for catalytic reactions. 

From there, I segued into why he enjoyed teaching, specifically such a difficult subject like organic chemistry. “Well, I want to try to pass knowledge onto the next generation,” he said after a moment of consideration. He also added that he likes interacting with students, especially younger people, who give him a fresh change of pace from his research career. 

As a student in his class, I was also interested in how he described his teaching style. He stated that he prefers “chalk talk,” a combination of writing and lecturing at the same time, so that students can actually internalize the material as it is being taught. He is a big believer in actively engaging with the material (shoutout to Dr. Kinkle!), as opposed to mindlessly reading powerpoint slides. 

Most importantly, I asked Dr. Liu what he would like students to take away from his course. He firmly asserted that he wants students to understand the fundamentals of organic chemistry and see the connections among all the other classes they take. He purposefully teaches concepts he thinks will be relevant to them in the future.

Knowing that this year was his first, I wondered what he loved most about UC so far, to which he replied, “The students. Being an R1 university, there are so many opportunities for students to get involved and help out.”

Afterwards, we moved on to some more lighthearted topics. I chatted with Dr. Liu about what he does for fun apart from researching and teaching. Smiling, he talked about his love for superhero movies (especially Iron Man), listening to Backstreet Boys music, and chilling with friends while sipping on some beers.  

Lastly, just to make things a bit more interesting, I posed the following question: “If you could meet any scientist dead or alive, who would it be?”

“Einstein. [His] theory of relativity, no one understood it and it was way ahead of his time. When we do research, we try to do something new. Einstein did that. He did something that no else could.”

My time with Dr. Liu was definitely well-spent. Thank you, Dr. Liu, for agreeing to do this interview, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the year here at UC!

Intranet Login

Contact Us

Department of
Emergency Medicine

Medical Sciences Building Room 1654
231 Albert Sabin Way
PO Box 670769
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0769

Mail Location: 0769
Phone: 513-558-5281
Email: Emergency Medicine