What is your position or role in the DESI project?
I have only recently joined the DESI project. I am very interested to contribute to the synergy between DESI and the large upcoming space-based surveys in the infrared such as Euclid, SPHEREx and the surveys with the Roman Space Telescope. I would also be excited to serve on the Publication Board, to which I can bring my extensive experience as Associate Editor for PASA.
Where were you born?
In Rimnicu Vilcea, Romania, which is a town just below the Carpathian Mountains.
Where do you live now?
I live in Durham, which is in the North East of England, and home to the beautiful Durham Cathedral.
What do you do as part of DESI?
Since I have only recently joined, I am still navigating my way around in this very large collaboration, trying to understand the different activities to which I could sensibly contribute. My expertise is in optical and near-IR spectroscopy of AGN and the study of their inner structure using time-domain astronomy. I eagerly follow the many publications coming out of the project and hope to be able to join meetings soon. But, unfortunately, it is too late for me to make travel arrangements to come to the DESI meeting in Hawaii in December.
What is the most interesting or exciting thing about your job?
The most exciting thing about being an astronomer is that no day is like the other. The job might get frustrating at times, but it surely is never boring. If I have a new idea on what I would like to research and publish, I can just do it.
Any advice for an aspiring scientist?
For an answer I would like to quote from Max Weber, a German sociologist, who wrote in “Science as a vocation” (1917): ” … Do you in all conscience believe that you can stand seeing mediocrity after mediocrity, year after year, climb beyond you, without becoming embittered and without coming to grief? Naturally, one always receives the answer: ‘Of course, I live only for my “calling.” ‘ Yet, I have found that only a few men could endure this situation without coming to grief. …”
What do you do for fun?
I like to spend time with my children. Listening to their views and ideas and seeing their need to express themselves in art is fascinating.
If you weren’t a scientist, what would be your dream job?
I cannot imagine myself not being a scientist. I find that it is most rewarding and exhilarating to discover for the first time even the smallest part of Nature’s hidden secrets.
What excites/interests you most about DESI?
I am excited about DESI’s possibility to measure the neutrino masses. But, of course, the possibility that we might soon have a satisfactory answer to the profound question of the nature of Dark Energy, which will come from DESI but also from other facilities working towards it, such as Euclid and LSST, makes me think that we live in historic times!