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Clivia Sotomayor Torres

ICREA Research Professor
Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies
Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology
University College Cork, Tyndall National Institute, Ireland

Country of origin: Chile

What I do.
I head a research group working on nanophotonics, nanofabrication, and inorganic nanotubes. We formulate scientific questions, discuss and plan key experiments and methodologies, prepare publications, guide research students, work in international projects and help disseminate our findings.

What I find exciting.
Almost everything! The kick you get when a new experimental design works and when the results make sense, which is not a foregone conclusion. This, coupled to the "tickling" feeling of uncertainty, when the answers to the research question are still rather far off, is a feeling that can be with you for months, and sometimes, years. The excitement of living with uncertainty in the quest for knowledge is almost addictive.

What I wish someone had told me.
That research is like any other human activity, very exciting (from my point of view), but intrinsically human. There is no hiding. In research you have to negotiate, compromise, engage in the "politics of the work place" and the "politics of research funding," and deal with the great aspects of people, and the not so great ones, too. You can never learn enough about human nature.