Anna Fontcuberta i Morral

1975

Professor at École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne

"I'm proud of certain discoveries I’ve made and of my modern way of managing people, which is based on motivation and encouragement rather than an old-style method."

My career path

I’ve been an associate professor at EPFL’s Institute of Materials since 2014. I teach and conduct research centred on novel semiconductor nanostructure combinations, using mainly nanowires, which are filamentary crystals with a very high ratio of length to diameter, the latter being in the nanometer range. Semiconductor nanowires are of significant interest from a fundamental point of view, as they offer new physical and chemical properties owing to their large surface-to-volume ratio, low dimensionality and confinement to one dimension.

From a technological standpoint, they constitute attractive building blocks for novel nano-electronic and nano-photonic systems, as well as biochemical sensors. Our experimental methods have included studying the fundamental properties that span from optical and Raman spectroscopy to magnetotransport.

I like the possibility of advancing science, working with young people and seeing how much they progress. And on top of that, I like to see the impact my research has had on the scientific world and on young scientists.

My career path. I’d put it down to a lot of work, fascination and a solid dose of naivety. I’ve also been able to count on certain mentors. After earning my bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Barcelona and a PhD from the Ecole polytechnique in France, I did a postdoc at the California Institute of Technology. I then worked at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) before doing my professional thesis at the Technical University of Munich in 2009.

A downside or obstacle ? There aren’t many women in my field, which means there’s a masculine culture. I’ve often not been taken seriously and have had to work even harder to reach my goals.

I’m proud of certain discoveries I’ve made and of my modern way of managing people, which is based on motivation and encouragement rather than an old-style method.

The Proust Questionnaire

This section is available only in the original language
Au-delà de votre profession

La science

Des personnes qui vous inspirent

Marie Curie et Barack Obama.

Un film

Deux films en fait : Princesse Mononoké (Hayao Miyazaki) et Kill Bill (Quentin Tarantino).

Un modèle

Oui, des gens que j’admire et qui m’inspirent tous les jours.

Un rêve

Que tout le monde arrive à travailler et communiquer dans le respect de l’autre.