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January 17th 2013

PhD Welcome Event 2013

On January, 17th, 2013 the third Annual CNST Ph.D. Welcome Event was held.

Following Prof. Balzani and Bruno Murari, this time the guest was Prof. Giuseppe Zerbi of Politecnico di Milano.Prof. Zerbi started his career in the group of Nobel Prize Giulio Natta, and throughout his career published more than 500 papers and received countless awards.  Most of his career focused on polymers and their ground state properties. Zerbi gave an historical overview on the progress in polymer science from the 50’s to now and kindly accepted to answer a couple of questions.

Prof. Zerbi, in your opinion, what is the most exciting challenge that organic materials will have to face in the next future?

I believe the discovery of graphene and the exploitment of its still unveiled properties is a major challenge and opportunity for the scientific community and for the progress of science in general. More than this,  I hope young researchers will be able to overcome the difficulties my generation had in the communication between chemists and physicists. Science goes more and more towards the integration of different fields and the correct communication is a crucial point.

The event of today was dedicated to young researchers, Ph.D. students in particular. You also worked in the USA for years, what do you think of the italian academic situation and what would you suggest to the students who are interested in starting a career in research here in Italy?

Things are changing in Italy too. There’s more and more attention to meritocracy respect to the past and scientific organizations are moving towards a more “american” way of thinking. However this is not always a straight and smooth process, sometimes mistakes are made, I also wrote a book about it. We often look at the USA or UK as the promised land for science and universities, but this is partially true. We often forget that academic and research institutions in Italy hold outstanding researchers and laboratories, who make top level research. This is sometimes forgotten.  I am really convinced that despite problems, the quality of the italian scientific community is world class.

We thank Prof. Zerbi for his availability and kindness.

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