The Power List 2020 – South America
Director, Research Center for Biomolecules (CIBIMOL), Research Center of Excellence (CENIVAM), Universidad Industrial de Santander Bucaramanga, Colombia
Reason for pursuing analytical science: My mom was a chemist and my dad was a physicist, so family tradition played an important role in my decision to study chemistry. My love for analytical chemistry in particular developed during my PhD in the field of organic MS.
Dinner party guest: Very difficult to answer. There are many people with whom I would like to meet and have dinner; among them, Giordano Bruno, Caravaggio, Antón Chekhov, Bertrand Russel, Victor Frankl, and Carl Djerassi. In more recent times, I’d love to meet Angela Merkel or Pepe Mojica (former president of Uruguay). But if I had to choose, I would probably have dinner with Baruch Spinoza or Niels Bohr; extraordinary, daring, and huge in the ideas that they proposed – truly visionary.
Time travel destination: I would have liked to visit Constantinople at the beginning of the 15th century, or the Republic of Venice in the times of Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese. They were centers of culture, history, beauty, elegant traditions, and brilliant (but sometimes unusual) ideas.
Misconceptions of science in South America: Often people don’t understand what science is for or why we should invest in it. For this reason it is crucial that scientific ideas are communicated to the public. Funding institutions also do not always understand the need for investment in fundamental science and seek only applications and innovations. Excessive red tape also diminishes the growth of fresh and creative ideas in science as they may not be among the fashionable or profitable ones at any given time.
Advice to younger self: Visit more analytical laboratories in different universities and institutions, learn more about the maintenance of analytical equipment and tools, and attend more seminars and workshops on different analytical chemistry methods. But also learn more about classical music, and learn some more foreign languages!