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An astronomer in Australia. “Life is beautiful here and I have a high profile. I have never regretted leaving”

When I moved to Australia, in the year 2013, Barbara He already had important experiences abroad, in United States of America and in Germany. “It certainly wasn’t my first step,” he smiles. Today, after 20 years outside Italy, he directs a group of researchers in the field of extragalactic astronomy inInternational Center for Radio Astronomy Research a Perth. For a radio astronomer like meAustralia and the South Africa They were the most promising options, he says. Life here is beautiful. But I don’t rule out going back when I get close to her pension“.

diploma High school scientific, degree in Physics in status From Milan In 1997, Barbara Weather in Catinella He left Italy in 1998 to start a PhD in astronomy Cornell University (Ithaca, New York). After that, announcing the experiments AreciboPuerto Rico, the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics a dirty, at Germany, it’s at Melbourne, In the Swinburne University of Technology. “It is here, thanks to a prestigious fellowship, that I started building my small research group,” he says. In 2015 he was awarded a permanent contract atInternational Center for Radio Astronomy ResearchUniversity of Western Australia, A PerthWhere it still works. “My parents have always encouraged me to go my own way. I have never regretted leaving,” she smiles.

Barbara now heads a team of eight. “I take care of studying galaxies: How it forms and develops, what properties does it have and what physical processes affect stellar evolution – he explains -. Mine specialty It is the study of hydrogen, the material that stars are made of, which is measured with radio telescopes.”

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Because pandemic, has been deleted in Meeting international astronomical society cui Barbara He worked for three years. “But for Australia He was fortunate and the impact of the epidemic was less strong than in other countries, where it was very isolated from the rest of the world and had a population of only 25 million concentrated in a few cities,” he adds. In the field of astronomy research, the main problems caused by pandemic she was Total ban on travel (also patriotic), close telescopes And distance learning, due to long periods of Full lock.

Barbara still feels very attached to Italy: in 2020 she got Australian citizenship, Not only to get complete freedom to travel and move internationally as well. “for Australia I liked it from many points of view, and I wanted to feel more integrated and to be able, for example, to vote.” Salary It’s higher than in Italy, he explains, but the cost of living also increases if we talk about it foodrent and health insurance (“You must have private insurance in addition to the National Insurance”).

After I worked in United States of America, Germany e AustraliaBarbara has always been impressed by the high level of an exercise University Italian. There are many Italians – He explains – that they have built successful careers abroad, in large part due to their studies in their home country.” He noted that over the past decade, the quality of university education around the world appears to be gradually deteriorating. Barbara.

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The difference was one of the main incentives that prompted her to emigrate after graduation working conditions: “is being astronomy In Italy it seemed more complicated: salaries were significantly lower and research funding was scarce or non-existent.” However, things seem to be gradually changing. “I am not working now Italy More than 20 years ago, so it is difficult for me to comment in detail, but I have a large number of friends and colleagues who decided to return to Italy and were able to find places in universities or research institutes. This suggests that in recent years we have seen active efforts to slow brain drain, which is a positive sign.

For Barbara, doing research means having to “confront Problems Always new and strive to find solutions. Research is never the same and always is Energizing “. His dream is to see him Square kilometers matrix array, (the international project envisioned in 1991 aimed at building the world’s largest network of radio telescopes, in Australia e South Africa) Action. In the meantime Barbara bought a house in Perth, where “the quality of life is excellent, I am in no hurry to leave.” Once in pension She did not mind returning to Italy to be closer to her family. Aye Young I might recommend doing an experiment abroad, even if only for a few years. “I had had travel opportunityGo to conferences, see some of the best telescopes in the world. search in astronomy It is now globalized, and it is important to expand it horizons As soon as you get the chance.”

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