MEET THE TEAM: PATRÍCIA

When I was five years old, my very only sister started to attend the school. She is a year and a half older than I am. Thus, because I had lost my playmate, I used to kill my boredom watching movies for kids on television. Once, while watching a science fiction movie – don’t ask me the name! – I asked my mother what was the name of the profession which people mix up different materials and get to do experiments, and my mother answered me that those were the Scientists. I promptly told her I would become a Scientist.

Some years later, when I was eight or nine, my mother helped me to build a model to explain the seasons of the year for a school project. At that moment I decided that I wanted to be an Astronomer. More years had passed, and when I was in high school, I found out that I enjoyed maths and physics very much. That, I probably inherited from my father. Then, I decided I wanted to be an Astrophysicist.

Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to learn more about what Scientists do while dreaming to become one. This is because I was born and raised in the small city called Caxias do Sul, in southern Brazil, and no science outreach events took place there at that time. (A parenthesis here: it snows there. Many people don’t know it’s possible to snow in a tropical country, but it happens once in a while.) Thus, I actually had no idea on how a Scientist spends his/her time while working.

I started my career path when I was 17. I moved to Porto Alegre, the city where I did my undergraduate and masters studies in Physics at UFRGS. During my masters, I spent three months working at the Durham University, in England. This experience gave me the courage to apply for a Ph.D position outside Brazil, something I hungered very much, since I always wanted to go to another country for a cultural exchange.

When I was 24, I moved to Munich, Germany to do my Ph.D in Astrophysics at LMU. Today, it has just been a little more than a year that I completed my Ph.D degree and I currently hold a post-doc position at the University of São Paulo in Brazil. I study galaxy groups and clusters using the technique of gravitational lensing. (Another parenthesis: from that, you may guess that I am currently 29. 😛 )

Academic career path was very far from easy, but it was during my first year as a Ph.D student, in 2008, that my academic life has changed and I started doing science outreach. I received an exciting e-mail from Philippe Kobel about an itinerant project to be taken place during the International Year of Astronomy 2009. That was the beginning of the GalileoMobile project, which I am very proud to say I am part of since the very first meeting, and which has given me the motivation in pursuing my dream to become a Scientist.

With GalileoMobile, I get to share my passion of Astronomy with young people, who like me as a child, have no access to science outreach programs. I believe Astronomy is very inspiring and can help to awaken the curiosity and critical thinking of students all over the world.

So here I am. Telling you how I became a GalileoMobile team member!

But well, I am not all that nerdy person who only talks about Astronomy. I like traveling and the world diversity. This is an advantage of being a Scientist: there are many conferences in cool places that we get to participate. I also love dancing (almost dropped the idea of being an Astronomer to become a professional ballerina). Today, I am still in dance class – but just for fun, I am not that good – and I practise yoga regularly. Like all Brazilians, I play volleyball. Yes, volleyball, not soccer. Brazilians are much better at volleyball than soccer. I also like to experiment mixing up food. Normal people call that cooking. I call gAstronomy. 😛

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