MEET THE TEAM: MARIA!

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…. No, really, it was in our galaxy, in our solar system, on our planet Earth, in a country called Spain, and in a city named Valencia, where I was born. My passion for the Universe and what is in it started when I was like 7 or 8 years old. It all began when my grandfather lent me his copy of the book “Cosmos” by Carl Sagan. I opened it and I was doomed. It was simply fascinating to discover this whole new jungle of stuff that at first looked so weird and abstract. That when you looked more into it, it could take you all the way to other possible stars, other possible worlds, other possible life? So much was contained in this book for my age that I was determined to learn more about it. And it was all Carl Sagan’s fault, so of course, for a while I had a crush on him. After this I was also determined to meet him someday in person. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do so in my life time, but I did manage to study Astrophysics.

When I finished school I left Valencia to go to Tenerife (Canary Islands) to study Astrophysics in the Universidad de La Laguna. It was a very attractive place to go, and probably you are thinking, “Yeah, an island, close to the equator, beaches everywhere, sunny all through the year!”, but I thought, “Woah! The highest peak in Spain! With the observatory of el Teide! With the biggest institute for Astrophysics in Spain! I’ll be surrrounded by Carl Sagans!”. Exciting! And it turned out to be very exciting for both reasons above even if the second one always came first. At the end of my studies I came to realise that nowadays Astronomers and Astrophysicists work more with computers than looking through a telescope. But even if looking through a telescope is a very tempting and romantic concept many people have about our work, it is nevertheless exciting because it still consists of learning and discovering new things. And since I still craved for discovery, I decided to continue my studies in research.

When I finished my university studies I left Tenerife to do a PhD. This time I wanted to jump further, try a different country and a different life style. So I came to where I am currently living: Göttingen, Germany. Not far from this city is a very remote village called Katlenburg-Lindau where a Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research resides and where I have been working for the past 4 years and a half. A year ago I defended my thesis in Solar Physics and now I am continuing my research in the same field and will continue to do so for at least the next 3 years. Still exciting!

During my time as a PhD student I came to know about the GalileoMobile project from one of the members that happend to be a student here too (Phil). The moment he told me about it I was in love with the project and couldn’t wait until the moment when he would invite me to join, so I tried hard to show him how interested I was about it. It took a while… until he finally invited me! Working in this project was (and still is) very inspiring. It gives me the chance to transmit the passion, curiosity, and excitement that I felt as a child to the children of today, both in the expeditions to South America in 2009 and to India earlier this year 2012. And to witness that moment gives me a great happiness and pleasure. I am only sorry that Carl Sagan is now too old for them. Fortunately, I am not!

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One thought on “MEET THE TEAM: MARIA!

  1. Gavin

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    Reply

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