Alberto Moscatelli, Senior Editor at Nature Nanotechnology, about the beauty in science, his expectation that nanotechnology can also tackle the climate emergency, and about dressing up for roaring twenties parties.
Who are you and what is your profession?
I am Alberto Moscatelli and I work as a Senior Editor at Nature Nanotechnology, a peer-reviewed academic journal publishing the very best research output across the sciences at the nanoscale.
What are you currently working on?
We’re currently organizing a set of webinars to celebrate the 15th year anniversary of the journal. A selection of our best authors working on a number of fields, like quantum technology, nanomedicine, energy storage and nanophotonics will give their perspective on how the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology has evolved since we launched. It’s fun also to take a look at our first issue.
Which trend will influence your work/ research the most?
We will see more and more focus of nanoscience applied to practical problems. Scientists have now accrued enough fundamental knowledge and are starting to make a tangible difference in the real world. Think about the mRNA vaccines: that is a nanotechnology that took more than 20 years of research to come to fruition. I expect similar breakthroughs coming from nanotechnology to be able to tackle, for example, the climate emergency. But, you see, the overarching idea of nanoscience is to acquire fundamental knowledge at the smallest possible scale (‘nano’) and build from there. Once you have this knowledge, then you can in principle apply it to any problem in hand. Acquiring it has not been easy, but we are now in a position to use it to search for competitive solutions for world’s problems.
What keeps you awake at night?
Beauty. There is a lot of beauty in science, which is unfortunately hard to express in ways that most people can appreciate and enjoy. In my job, I’m fortunate to be exposed to inspiring people, minimalistic experimental designs, and elegant solutions to problems. So, every day, as new manuscripts land on my desk(top), I’m in search for beauty.
What are you currently reading?
I like reading about history. I’m currently reading Babylon by Paul Kriwaczek. I’m fascinated by the fall of ancient civilizations; that regenerative period of decadence and renewal when people get to define a new idea of modernity.
Tell us a fun or unknown fact about you!
Have you seen me all dressed up for one of those roaring twenties parties and swing dancing the night away?
In the future, you would like to…
…hahaha, I am fixated about opening a store of antique science books and antique scientific instrumentation. A bit niche!
What is your favourite spot in Berlin?
Natur-Park Schöneberg Südgelände is a magical place. It’s this remarkable combination of natural and artificial forces to create something unexpectedly harmonious, nostalgic and even poetic. Or, maybe it speaks to me, because as a kid I used to spend a lot of time with trains and locomotives, as my dad took me to work with him when school was closed and childcare too expensive.
What is your part in this year’s 6th Berlin Science Week?
I am fond of a collaboration with ArtMoMa, a EU-funded programme for PhD students. At the Berlin Science Week, we are putting together an interactive event, in which the students will convey their enthusiasm for their molecules. ArtMoMa stands for Artificial Molecular Machines. The students are building these molecule inspired by biological machines in our body. They want to mimic their functions and expand on them, but it’s a great intellectual and also architectural challenge full of twists and turns to make these molecules. It should be a nice event, because these are beautiful molecules that have inspired a generation of chemists.
PS: What is the most delicious thing you ate this week?
If you want to learn more about Alberto Moscatelli’s work and his ideas check out the event by Springer Nature ‘Molecular Machines Takeover‘ on 6 Nov at 6.00pm.