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Antal Jakli, Ph.D.

Nineteen Kent State faculty members have been named to be in the top 2% of scientists in the world based on a recent study published by Stanford University scholars.

The report, published in the PLOS Biology Journal, evaluated more than six million scientists across 22 different fields and 176 sub-fields from 1996 until 2019. The top 2% list is made up of more than 100,000 most-cited scientists who have authored at least five scientific papers. For more information on the list and the other Kent State researchers who are on it.


I hope to find applications of my research that will improve the life of a large number of people. At a smaller scale, I would like to provide unforgettable research experiences for my students and help them find their dream jobs. I hope I can make a positive impact on all my students.


Questions & Answers

Why did you decide to pursue your field of research?

I heard about liquid crystals from my Solid State Physics Professor during my College years. It is a very versatile field that can be studied by individuals or small groups without the need of large instruments and organizations. I could understand all elements of research. 

I learned about the world famous Liquid Crystal Institute at Kent during my PhD. That is why I did my post doc at KSU and that is why I accepted a research and faculty position here 20 years ago.

This field is aesthetically appealing, intellectually challenging and has various applications.

What would you tell a student at the beginning of their academic career?

Luck averages out, but hard work adds up. Choose a topic that you are most interested in and do not care about instantaneous rewards.  Understanding something new is the most enjoyable intellectual activity.

Tell us a little about your research:

I am interested in soft matter that is part of our life and foods. Understanding these materials help me understand myself.
Specifically I am most interested in the physics of liquid crystals. Although by training I am a theorist, eventually I became an experimentalist, as only experiments can really test reality. I design experiments to understand the nanostructure of new materials with the aim to find new physical properties that can lead to new applications.
The majority (almost 200) of my papers are dealing with understanding the connection between polarity, chirality and optical properties of liquid crystal materials.
Presently I am working with 10 PhD students on ferroelectric liquid crystals, ionic liquid crystal elastomers, liquid crystal microlenses and liquid crystal clad fibers for various applications, such as biosensing, soft robotics, energy harvesting and fashion purposes.

What are you hoping to accomplish?

I hope to find applications of my research that will improve the life of a large number of people. At a smaller scale, I would like to provide unforgettable research experiences for my students and help them find their dream jobs. I hope I can make a positive impact on all my students. Finally, I would like to enjoy the beauty of working, thinking and understanding as long as possible. 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

It does not matter how many papers you have written, but what matters is how many bad papers you have.

Who is someone you admire, and why?

I admire my daughters, who became independent, self motivated, hard workers and successful adults and they think I helped them a lot.

Do you have any skills or talents most people don’t know about?

I became a skilled cook and I  love experiencing new types of techniques and foods.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I love playing soccer, listening to music and cooking.

What does it mean to you to be included in the top 2% in your field?

It means positive feedback. Something that I rarely received. It tells me you do not need to be in a top-ranked place to  be top ranked. (Although it is certainly more difficult.)

View Antal Jakli's Profile