1. What made you want to be a chemist?
As a kid I was attracted by sciences in general, but when I saw the first chemistry experiments, especially the chemical volcano (decomposition of ammonium dichromate), I was literally fascinated and knew that I wanted to become a chemist. Also my teacher in secondary school was excellent. What I like maybe the most in chemistry is that imagination and creativity play an important role, probably more important than in the other “hard” sciences.
2. If you weren’t a chemist and could do any other job, what would it be – and why?
I would have loved to be an opera singer, but unfortunately (or fortunately…) I have no voice. I like sport very much, especially tennis and martial arts, and therefore I would have liked to do a job in these areas. But most likely I could have done another scientific job, such as astrophysicist.
3. What are you working on now, and where do you hope it will lead?
In one of the undergoing projects we are interested in the preparation of supramolecular helical aggregates provided with conducting or/and optical properties. Besides the understanding of the self-assembly processes, one of the main objectives is to evidence differences in the physical properties as a function of the helical pattern, with the ultimate goal to use this type of aggregates in molecular electronics.
4. Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with – and why?
Very original question; let me think, as for general historical figure I would like to have dinner with Queen Cleopatra, one of the most remarkable (and beautiful!) women in history. But to stay in science, a dinner with one of these past famous alchemists would be certainly very interesting.
5. When was the last time you did an experiment in the lab – and what was it?
It happens quite often that I still do small experiments, especially to have a quick look whether some ligands could coordinate a metal, or if a certain compound could crystallize easily.
6. If exiled on a desert island, what one book and one music album would you take with you?
The problem is that I have already read the books I would like to have with me. Anyway, I would vote for “The Lord of the Rings” by J. R. R. Tolkien (but “Belle du Seigneur” by A. Cohen is very close by). For the music album I would take “The Wall” by Pink Floyd.
7. Which chemist would you like to see interviewed on Reactions – and why?
I would like to see interviewed on this blog Marius Andruh, an outstanding Romanian chemist working at the University of Bucharest. He created there a very dynamic and competitive group in coordination chemistry and crystal engineering.