Dante Gatteschi is in the Department of Chemistry at University of Florence and works on molecular magnetism — the design, synthesis, investigation, and exploitation of molecules for their magnetic properties.
1. What made you want to be a chemist?
I hesitated between Medicine, Physics and Chemistry. Eventually the idea of learning to create new substances made me choose Chemistry.
2. If you weren’t a chemist and could do any other job, what would it be – and why?
Not much fantasy, I could be a physicist.
3. What are you working on now, and where do you hope it will lead?
Molecular nanomagnetism and the extension from the nm to 10 nm range of size. It is a suitable border line where bottom up and top down approach merge and new properties may emerge. We are looking at the new opportunities in biomedicine.
4. Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with – and why?
Lorenzo il Magnifico: it would be great to have an inside view of Florence when it was the cultural capital of the world.
5. When was the last time you did an experiment in the lab – and what was it?
Around 1990, it was a home made high frequency EPR spectrometer in Grenoble. The experiment was run by our hosts LC Brunel ad A-L Barra and Roberta Sessoli and myself were trying to explain the bizarre nature of the sample containing 12 Mn ions. It was the birth of single molecule magnetism as we later understood.
6. If exiled on a desert island, what one book and one music album would you take with you?
Dante’s Comedy and Sinatra’s My Way.
7. Which chemist would you like to see interviewed on Reactions – and why?
Achim Mueller, he is a volcano of ideas.