Sabrina Maniscalco, Aalto University and Turku University


""Be yourself, be wild, be passionate. But also, don’t take life and your job too seriously and laugh a lot"

Sabrina Maniscalco

What have you studied and what influenced this choice back in the day?

I studied Physics and did a PhD in Theoretical Physics. I found it fascinating to investigate the l ruling how our universe works. And I always found math elegant and beautiful. Aesthetically very pleasing.

How did you become a researcher of quantum physics and technology?

My first job after graduation was a postdoctoral position at the Academy of Sciences in Sofia, Bulgaria. I loved being a postdoc: I had a lot of freedom on the topic of my research and at the same time a lot of time to dedicate to research only. The first years of being a postdoc are really a paradise if you love doing research – since over time, with more and more high-level positions, the administrative load is increasing and there is less time for research. This is clearly a sign that a revolution would be needed! After postdocs in Durban, South Africa and again in Sofia, Bulgaria I arrived to Finland with a postdoc position given by the Academy of Finland in the group of Prof. Kalle-Antti Suominen at Turku University. I then got a researcher position from the Turku Collegium of Science and Medicine, and formed my own group. But my first professorship position lead me away from Finland, and I moved to Edinburgh with part of my group. Finally, I won a position as full professor and Chair of Theoretical Physics and came back to Turku in 2014.

What is best thing about your job?

The people in my group; the collaboration with so many amazing physicists around the world; the possibility of organising original and creative events, such as hiking workshops, cycling workshops, unconferences, Game Jams, etc. I love bringing people together to spark creativity in research.

What do you consider as your biggest successes?

My biggest success is definitively my group: the people, the spirit and the wonderful research atmosphere. I don’t have any main regrets. I only wish I would have more time for research.

What do you expect from the future?

Just to continue to do research (hopefully more); supervise my student and postdocs; and explore more interdisciplinary research areas, such as those combining AI, quantum technologies and videogame development. I also have great interest in Science and Art, citizen science and public outreach, so I am always involved in rather unusual collaborations and projects. I love that!

Your greetings for young women in high school deliberating their future career?

Follow your heart and don’t let anyone decide for you, or make you believe you cannot make it. Be yourself, be wild, be passionate. But also, don’t take life and your job too seriously and laugh a lot 🙂

What kind of person is suitable for your profession?

I always say to my students and researchers: the qualities that make a good researcher are passion, drive, discipline and resilience.

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