Natalia Bruno on the surface of the scientific world. This 36-year-old from Battipagliese is among 15 scientists honored globally at theInternational Rising Talent Award 2022 in Paris.
Where does one of the 15 most promising international researchers come from?
I was born and raised in Battipalia, my parents are of Irpinia and Cilento ancestry. She attended the Classical High School “Pereto” in Eboli and graduated in Physics at “Sapienza” in Rome. After my PhD from the University of Geneva and my post-doctoral from ICFO, the Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, I went back to Italy, to Florence. I work here at Cnr’s National Institute of Optics and at the European Laboratory for Nonlinear Spectroscopy (Lens).
Have you dreamed of becoming a scientist since childhood?
As a child, I had many dreams: I wanted to become an artist and played with canvases and brushes, but at the same time my mother, with a degree in physics, made me play with little experiments in optics and thermodynamics. At university I was determined to enter the field of architecture, but I followed an instinct to study a subject familiar to me, physics. I’ve been asked a lot in recent days why: I think “out of curiosity”.
In Paris, she was the only Italian scientist to receive an awardInternational Rising Talent Award. What effect does it have?
I spent nine days with the other winners in France, between training sessions and group activities offered by the L’Oréal Foundation and UNESCO. I learned that although we come from different cultures and places, we find ourselves facing, with greater or less difficulty, the same challenges, both as researchers and as women.
What is your project, albatross?
The term “Aqtress” stands for atomic quantum technologies for building solid-state systems. Studying the interaction between laser light and atoms of an element called rubidium, with the idea of using the results to produce solid-state devices, and thus on things like a wafer that exploit the laws of quantum mechanics. An in-depth study of the interaction between light and matter allows us to develop quantum technologies, such as communication networks based on particles of light and photons, propagated in optical fibers already in our homes for the Internet, whose specificity is guaranteed by the laws of quantum mechanics, or quantum sensors, capable of conducting Measurements with very high accuracy, and finally quantum computers that will be able to perform operations in a few minutes that ordinary computers will perform in a very long time.
Women and science. Could this significant achievement break any barriers?
Initiatives such as “L’Oréal-Unesco For Women In Science” are essential to highlighting feminine excellence in research. This master allows the creation of female models to change the stereotype of the world. It is a way of showing organizations the need for appropriate policies to support families and people who experience harassment and discrimination. It is also important because it gives us visibility and prestige at a professional level.
And if, thanks to his work, he became a reference point for the youth of Battipalia?
It would be great. I would very much like to go back to Battipalia or Eboli, to the schools I attended, and I know what I am learning. Opportunities like the one that happened to me show that regardless of gender, geographic origin, culture or social status, we have more in common than we think.
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