Livia Racz

Livia Racz
What I find most exciting about our work is that it shows our sponsors the art of the possible.

Where are you originally from?
I was born in Paris, France, but I am 100% Hungarian. I am a refugee to the United States, having come here in fourth grade to the New York/New Jersey area. I grew up bilingual, which I found to be a huge advantage in my ability to see things from different viewpoints, so I made sure to pass that on to my two daughters. Later in life, I also learned German to full fluency and I am currently working on Italian, so languages have always been a part of my life.

What do you find exciting about the research being pursued in your group?
My group develops advanced materials and microsystems for sensing, communications, and microrobotic systems, usually in unusual form factors. We build entire systems on silicon wafers and into textile fibers and fabrics, we develop new materials and new ways to deposit materials, and we build tiny motors driven by an electric field across droplets of oil and water. What I find most exciting about our work is that it shows our sponsors the art of the possible. We hear repeatedly when we deliver initial prototypes that “we never believed you would really do it.” 

How do you spend your time outside of work?
As someone who was torn between becoming a professional singer and becoming a scientist, music has always been important to me. I've sung with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, which is the chorus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, for 29 years, aside from the two years I lived in Germany and, of course, this year during the pandemic, when none of us are singing in groups. When I'm not memorizing music or going to rehearsals, I like to spend time in the garden with my family, or traveling with them inside and outside the United States.

Are you involved in any Laboratory employee resource groups?
I am involved with the Lincoln Laboratory Women's Network (LLWN) and LLGROWS, the Laboratory gardening group. In my time here, LLWN has evolved into a powerful and effective advocacy organization for women, and LLGROWS is a fantastic way to connect with people in a completely different but highly meaningful way. If you come into my office and see windows filled with growing seedlings, now you know why. I have also volunteered occasionally for activities like Girls Who Build.