The PhD thesis was supervised by Xavier Obradors i Berenguer and Xavier Granados Garcia, from the Superconducting Materials and Large Scale Nanostructures (SUMAN) Group (ICMAB-CSIC).
The PhD Committee that evaluated the Thesis was formed by Pascal Tixador, Grenoble Institute of Technology | Grenoble INP · Department of Electrical Power Engineering (IEE), France (President), Joffre Gutierrez, Institut de Ciència de Materials de Barcelona (ICMAB-CSIC), Spain (Secretary) and Luis García-Tabarés Rodríguez, Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT), Spain (Vocal).
Pedro Barusco’s PhD thesis was part of the PhD Programme in Materials Science from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB).
From left to right: Xavier Obradors, Pedro Barusco, and Xavier Granados.
Why did you choose the ICMAB for your PhD?
Because ICMAB was working in a project with superconductors tapes for an electric device and I had previous knowledge regarding HTS tapes and this specific device.
How would you explain your research to a non-scientific audience?
The objective of my work was to improve the thermal properties of the most recent architecture of superconducting wires. These improved wires are less likely to burn and/or rupture due to over currents and therefore, more reliable to be used in all sort of electric devices like motors, generators and high-field magnets.
What are the main applications of your research? Could you give us an example?
Big electric devices like motors, generators and MRIs. In my case, the wire I was designing should be more suitable for a Superconducting Fault Current Limiter (SFCL) and high-field magnets (fields above 10T).
From the lessons learnt here, which one do you value the most?
Always double check and question everything (good and bad results). Learn fast how to work with others and you will not lose time.
What will you miss the most from ICMAB?
I will miss the constant diverse scientific input I would never have being on my own.
How do you think this experience will contribute to your training and to your future?
I am an electric engineer in the field of superconductors and I did another full course in material’s science. All the experimental techniques I’ve learned at ICMAB will be of utter value for my future career.
What are your plans once you finish your PhD?
Finish a couple of pending experiments at ICMAB and then following R&D career in a private sector.
What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your PhD, that now you can recommend to the ones who are starting?
Learn how to be self-sufficient and don’t be afraid to question your colleagues and superiors. Your supervisors are there to guide you and not think for you. It is okay to not know something as long as you do let the ignorance set in. The experimental details matter, they matter a lot, always double check.
Why did you become a scientist? Which have been your role models?
I became a scientist at 20 years old when I did my first internship in a laboratory named LASUP in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There I saw a magnet levitating on top of a superconducting block for the first time. I kept on thinking about the possibilities of such phenomena the whole day and I knew what I wanted to do. I do not have role models. I like many scientists and investors like Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Sir Isaac Newton, Marie Currie, Alan Turing, Barbara McClintock and so, but no role model per se.
Which is your favourite female scientist? And why?
Barbara McClintock. This scientist made one of the most remarkable discoveries in the field of genetics, the “jumping genes” by simply studying corn. Her views were way beyond her time but she did not care. She did not need anyone backing her point of view nor extra encouragement. In her own words “If you know you are on the right track, if you have this inner knowledge, then nobody can turn you off…”
Describe in 3 keywords…
- Your research: Reliable, Superconductors, Wires
- Barcelona: Diverse, Proud, Struggling
- Your experience at ICMAB: Tense, Arduous, Fulfilling
Any other comments you would like to say: