I was born and raised in Riazzino, Ticino. As a kid, an insatiable curiosity for what was happening around me has driven my interests and choices, making the passion for science and nature deeply rooted in myself, as my dream to become a professional helicopter pilot. After having obtained my private pilot license in 2010, I started my studies in Material’s Science and Engineering at EPFL. I obtained my Bachelor in 2014 and pursued my Master studies in the same school, specializing in semiconductors and composites. I completed my studies with a Minor in space technologies. Later, my interest in space brought me to the start-up SWISSto12, an emerging competitor in 3D printed telecommunication components, located in the innovation park of EPFL. During my 1-year internship, I contributed to the set-up and development of an experimental electroless copper plating line for 3D printed plastic parts. It was a particularly rewarding experience, because being part of a developing company allowed me to understand managerial and financial dynamics of a fastgrowing start-up in the markets of terrestrial, aeronautical and space applications. During this time, I had the desire to complete my master thesis abroad. The opportunity to conduct my research project in the Department of Material’s Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) quickly became reality. My hosting group explores new solutions for synthesis, characterization and control of oxides and chalcogenides semiconductors, those containing elements belonging to the oxygen’s column on the periodic table. Possible applications of these materials include optical neuromorphic computing – a technology inspired from the human brain’s architecture and functioning – thin film solar cells and sensors for precision agriculture, the latter being my principal field of investigation. What motivates me is the belief that the scientific community must help our society in addressing the major global challenges we are currently facing, which will only become more prominent in the next decades. This needs to be done through promoting a wiser use of energy and diversifying its production, addressing climate change and food provision to name a few. Innovative technologies could play a crucial role, but major alterations need to fall in place ranging from changing people’s lifestyle to a more eco-conscious kind all the way to public policies. We have a long way to go yet, especially for changing humans’ minds, which are too often at the mercy of economic interests.
I am profoundly grateful to the Zdenek and Michaela Bakala Foundation for its generous support. It allowed me to strengthen my competencies and live an enriching experience, both on a professional and personal level, in one of the most advanced research centers in the world. All of this will now be put at the service of our society during my future career as an engineer.