Reactions – Eugenio Coronado

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Eugenio Coronado is in the Institute for Molecular Science at the University of Valencia, and works on molecular magnetism, in the design, study and processing of new magnetic molecules and materials exhibiting multifunctional properties.

1. What made you want to be a chemist?

One initial reason was the central position of chemistry, in between physics and biology. Another more recent reason was related with the structure of matter, its beauty, and the unique possibility offered by chemistry for manipulating these structures to create new compounds exhibiting new properties.

2. If you weren’t a chemist and could do any other job, what would it be – and why?

A painter or a cartoonist, as these artistic activities also involve a significant amount of research and a lot of creativity.

3. What are you working on now, and where do you hope it will lead?

I am starting to work on molecular spintronics. The main hopes in this new area of nanomagnetism are to show that chemistry can provide new magnetic molecules and materials, which conveniently designed and nanostructured, should lead to useful spintronic heterostructures and to new opportunities in nanospintronics and quantum computing.

4. Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with – and why?

Leonardo da Vinci. For me this figure represents the perfect combination of scientist and artist.

5. When was the last time you did an experiment in the lab – and what was it?

My last chemical experiment was done at Georgetown University, USA, in July 1987 in the lab of Prof. Louis Baker. I was preparing a cobalt magnetic cluster encapsulated by a polyoxometalate. It resulted to be the first polyoxometalate molecule exhibiting ferromagnetic exchange interactions. In physics I performed more recent experiments at the ILL in 1991 to study the magnetic excitations in this kind of clusters.

6. If exiled on a desert island, what one book and one music album would you take with you?

Apart from a survival guide, I would take Homer’s Odyssey. As music, I would take Vivaldi music (and a Spanish guitar).

7. Which chemist would you like to see interviewed on Reactions?

I would like to see interviewed relevant scientists (not chemists) having seminal contributions in chemistry (for example, Nobel prizes in chemistry coming from other fields). Aaron Klug (physicist interested in biochemistry) should be an excellent choice.