During the IYBSSD 24-hour online event, a team from the European XFEL prepared a series of interviews with early-career scientists
Now we are going on with some interviews. And I would like to invite Ramon Bernardo Gavito. He is assistant research professor at Imdea Nanociencia. Can you tell us something else about your research?
Hi, Christina. Thank you for having us. I’m a physicist here at Imdea Nanociencia. I study mostly two dimensional materials and different ways they interact with light and electromagnetic fields to make mechanical oscillations.
So would you say that your work is mostly basic science, or it’s more applied science?
I would say somewhere in between. The phenomena we study are really interesting in terms of basic science. We study non-linear oscillations in these kind of materials, which are very thin, and they can lead to chaos and lots of different interesting phenomena. But they also can be used as mass or gas sensors or as actuators. So they do have an application, at the end. So I think it’s very clear for everyone why applied science is necessary.
But what do you think about basic science? Why do we all need that research keeps on basic science?
Basic science is the foundation of all the applied sciences and then of technology, of course. If you think of the most high technologies at the moment, like quantum computing or artificial intelligence, they both depend ultimately on basic sciences. Quantum computing depends on the study of quantum physics at the end, the hydrogen atom is back there. And artificial intelligence rests on the most basic of science, which is mathematics. And then if you listen to the previous speakers, and no matter if you look at big cell, still objects or the very small accelerator-made particles, you are having an impact in society, in culture and then, of course, technology.
And you said we were already asking about the breakthrough. So try to be a little bit imaginative. What do you think you would like to see coming in the next years as the most important scientific breakthrough?
Well, it’s difficult to say because I have a lot of fields, but I think most of us will always think on the energy and the availability of resources. We keep growing and growing as a society, exponentially, just in the numbers. And each individual keeps consuming more and more energy and more materials. So we need to find a way to keep this world going. We need to be able to produce energy from renewable sources and, most importantly, to reduce the energy and material consumption. We have to look at the way, and that goes through basic science and both to behavior as a society, to reduce our impact in the environment.