Interview with Prof. Rosei in the newspaper "Il Piccolo"

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The engineer expert in nanotechnologies, son of one of the founders of the Synchrotron, has returned to his city to teach at the University after a long career as a researcher in Montréal

Rosei: «Relaunching from Trieste the challenge of training new generations of scientists»

the interview Giulia Basso


It cannot be said that I was not predestined: I am a son of art, my grandfather
maternal, like my father, he was a physics professor, my uncles and aunts university professors,
I had three out of four graduate grandparents and a great-grandfather an engineer. It is as if at birth
I had received the winning lottery ticket: for a genetic issue, but
also for the environment in which I lived, international and incredibly
stimulating". Federico Rosei is the son of Renzo, one of the founders of Elettra
Synchrotron. Roman by birth and Trieste in his adolescence (he attended high school
Dante first and then the United World College of the Adriatic), the teacher e
researcher, now 50 years old, has lived most of his life across the ocean, in
cold and peaceful Canada. He is immediately struck by the frank sincerity, the
awareness of the privileges that birth has given him and the desire to put them to
provision of those who, in that great lottery that is life, have been less fortunate than
he. An uncommon degree of empathy and an eclecticism which, in his youth,
it also saw him try his hand at writing a novel, "The road not traveled".
Specializing in materials science and engineering and nanotechnology, Rosei won
an incredible number of international awards, has trained more than 200 young people in 20
years and has lectured in 50 different countries. He is a UNESCO chair for materials and
technologies for energy conversion, he was recently awarded the prize
"Spirit of Salam" of the Ictp for its international scientific and didactic commitment e
from the beginning of March he returned to Italy, with a chair in the Department of Sciences
chemicals and pharmaceuticals of the University of Trieste after a very long
stay at the Institut National Recherche Scientifique in Montréal.
He lived to
as a boy in an international environment. What have the years at the Collegio del
United World of Duino? «I was born in Rome, but in the first years of my life I lived
even in the United States. And I grew up bilingual, which was a great gift to me
my parents. When I was 10 we arrived in Trieste because my father, with
professor Fonda, had had the idea of ​​building a synchrotron here: it was the period in
where Electra was born. I first attended the international school, then the Dante high school.
But I still wanted international experiences: I won the tender to enter the
United World College and I spent two years there, which influenced me profoundly.
Growing up with 200 peers from 80 different countries allowed me to meet kids
who didn't even have water at home: their memory always accompanies me». There
his career was entirely played out outside Italy. Why did you choose Canada?
«Halfway through my university career in Rome, I decided that I would leave: mi
it had influenced the film "Mediterranean", a hymn to escape. I completed my studies
doctorate, then I left for a post doc in Denmark. I had sent questions to
right and left. I also tried Montreal, I had met a girl who lived there
there. I got that job and I moved: for a long time I felt at home there. The climate,
true, it is what it is, but the nature is amazing and it's a pretty safe country, which
it has so much to offer." Why the return to Italy? "To be close to my parents,
that they are getting old: I am an only child and they didn't want to move to Canada.
You know that proverb about Mohammed and the mountain? So I returned to
Trieste: thanks to a direct call I got a chair in the Science department
chemicals. Now we will see how it goes: it is not trivial to get used to the Italian system and in
Canada I left my laboratory and my research group, which I hope to
reconstitute here, perhaps thanks to the opportunities of the Pnrr».
Materials science and
nanotechnologies, what are the most promising research lines? «Since I have
realized that among the biggest challenges for the survival of humanity there is that
energy and climate change, I decided to continue with the research
fundamental in this area. I have always been concerned with understanding how the
structure of a material influences its properties: my primary task, however, is
to develop human products. I work on innovative materials for technologies
solar, energy storage, sustainability, also orienting activities in
application directions to train new generations of scientists». He won the prize
"Spirit of Salam" 2023. Can science really cross borders? "I have
traveled a lot in these years because I wanted to interact with scientists and students of
all over the world: I have lectured in 50 different countries. Science is without borders if
there is already basic knowledge that allows it to be transmitted. And when it happens, in
my scientific trips to countries such as Central or South America, Africa, Asia, I find
a unique enthusiasm and gratitude». Wrote the essay "Survival Skills For
Scientists", what do you think are the essential skills for a scientist?
«There are skills that are often not taught at university, yet they are
fundamentals: it is important to know how to present your work, how to write
a research project, like doing an interview. The book is the result of a course from
same title that in Montreal, and beyond, received a great response».
Last update: 04-21-2023 - 13:21