Alessia Sgobba, Trinity College Dublin, will be taking part in Soapbox Science Dublin on Sunday June 30th 2019 with the talk: “The difficult challenges the energy sector has to face to preserve the planet”
My story is just a normal story of a normal girl. I have always been interested in a wide variety of subjects at school and I was always dreaming of becoming so many things as an adult. I am very curious, about everything and I guess this made it difficult to decide what to pick between so many options. At the end the spin stopped at engineering. So here I am, an energy engineer.
I am very happy with the choice I made. Energy can have many forms and it is in everything. Energy is a conserved quantity, meaning that it is not possible to create it or destroy it but only to convert energy from a form to another. A simple way to see it is when wood (fuel) is burned (chemical conversion process) to produce heat (useful form of energy) to warm an environment.
The energy sector includes all the systems that convert, transmit and distribute energy where is needed and it allow us to have a high standard of living. A higher attention on the fuels and the conversion processes used has risen due to global warming. Burning certain fuels produces CO2 which is the most significant greenhouse gas present in the atmosphere and it contributes to global warming.
As a researcher I collaborate with many other scientists in the field to find new ways or improve the existing ones to provide the energy needed for everyday activities in a sustainable way for the environment.
Things I have learned on my path
My curiosity made me become a researcher. I need to challenge myself with things out of my comfort zone as often as possible to learn as much as I can. To be a researcher in the field I am passionate about is great but sometimes it can be difficult as well.
PhD students, which have projects deeply focused on specific topics, often feel the pressure of having to know everything on the subject. I do not know everything. No one does, and no one can.
In fact, I want to share with you one of the most important things I learned in my path: only smart people are aware of the things they do not know. If you are true to yourself and accept the things you (still) don’t know, you can spend every day learning something new instead of spending it doubting yourself. Everything you learned is valuable and everything you do not know yet is an open possibility.
To all the young women who think they have to be geniuses to get into science, I want to say that every climbing starts with small steps at the bottom. So, don’t get discouraged and try your best.
And remember: the most important thing you can bring to science is an open mind.