Dr. Anna Cabré (@AnnaCabreAlbos), University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia / Institute of Marine Sciences Barcelona, is taking part in Soapbox Science Munich on 1st June 2019 with the talk:“Climate change: Where does all the heat go?“
Soapbox Science Munich: Did you choose a scientific career or did the scientific career choose you?
Dr. Anna Cabré: A little bit of both. I first chose to be a physicist because I wanted to know more about the Universe and because I enjoyed playing with mathematics, but it is always random and personal connections that lead me to work on specific topics that allow me to meet other scientists and visit new places where my interests change while my life happens. My scientific career has shifted towards the study of the oceans and climate, but who knows what will happen in the future.
SSM: What was the key event that brought you to the place where you are now?
AC: A talk on climate change that my former supervisor gave. I was a cosmologist looking for a big change in my career, and that talk got me really interested on climate. It was the right time, because my former boss was looking for physicists at that moment.
SSM: What’s your favourite daily scientific superhero power?
AC: I can follow a water particle circulating anywhere in the world while sitting in front of my computer.
I can also travel to the past and the future climate.
SSM: What is the most exciting aspect of your research?
AC: For me, the beginning of new projects is always exciting. Understanding the problem, and designing a preliminary solution. And then, I really enjoy visualising the final results so that they can be understood easily for other people.
SSM: What challenges do you encounter in science?
AC: Many. For starters, high levels of competition force one to work non-stop, what is called ‘publish or perish’.
The same competition makes it difficult to be multidisciplinary because it rewards specificity. Moreover, it leaves no time for strengthening our communication skills to the broad public outside of academia.
Science-life balance is challenging, especially with children and as a woman.
You may also need to move around the world for science jobs, which is fun and interesting but also hard and isolating.
SSM: What motivates you to give a talk in Soapbox science?
AC: I want to inspire other future scientists, make it visible that many women are scientists, and tell everyone about how important oceans are to our changing climate.
SSM: Do you have a few words to inspire other female scientists?
AC: If you are a curious person and you love science, just do it. There is still so much to learn. And a tip: Interpersonal relationships are very important in one’s career so make sure to walk along people that you trust and that trust you.
SSM: What can we do to attract more women to STEM fields?
AC: For me, the problem is about retaining the natural curiosity that every child has regardless of gender. I think that small gender biases in our use of language and actions accumulate through everyone’s life and ultimately affect the ratio of women in science. As a society, we need to treat girls and boys interests equally.
Meanwhile, making women visible in science is a powerful way to counteract these prejudices.