I live in Limerick city with my husband and I work as a researcher in the School of Engineering in the University of Limerick. I love playing sport and go for drives on the west coast of Ireland!
Originally from the sunny Italy, I moved to the rainy Limerick 8 years ago for my PhD. After falling in love with the city and with Ireland, I decided to stay and work as a researcher in the School of Engineering of the University of Limerick.
I like to be active and I cycle to work every day (also under the rain!) and I play tennis or squash in the evenings. During weekends I really enjoy going for long drives on the west coast with my husband.
My two biggest passions are skiing in winter and scuba diving in summer…. they sound quite different but they have a similarity…. water (or H2O) is involved in both!
I have been skiing since I was 3 years old and I love it so much that the first thing I actually checked before moving to Ireland was if there were ski slopes!!!!!
I love scuba diving because you can explore the wonderful underwater world around us. It took me a good bit of courage to dive in the freezing Atlantic ocean but it was unbelievable: my favorite dive was actually diving with seals here in Ireland!
My main research area is vibrational energy harvesting: the conversion of ambient vibrations into electricity. The device that convert vibrations into electricity is called vibrational energy harvester or VEH and as part of my job I design, simulate (lots of Maths and programming) and test these VEHs.
My VEHs are made of magnets and coils that moves relative to each other. The physics principle I use is called Faraday’s Law of induction (maybe you heard about it in school!): when the magnets moves inside the coils, a voltage is generated that could be used to power something.
My dream would be to realise a vibrational energy harvester that could power small sensors or electronic devices without the use of any battery. Batteries are dangerous for the environment if not properly discarded and recycled and with my work I ultimately would love to reduce ambient pollution.
My Typical Day
I wake up and have breakfast: cereals + espresso coffee (I am Italian at the end of the day!). I cycle to work at 9am and I do lots of experiments in the lab. I have lunch with the other researchers and then I am back in the lab till 5pm or 6pm.
I wake up at 8am and after a good breakfast, I cycle to work. My working day generally start with checking emails (so boring!) and then…my days are never the same!
I could spend the day writing codes to model my vibrational energy harvester (or VEH) to predict how much electric power it can generate, or I could spend the day trying to assemble all its components or (worse) winding coils. Most of the time I am though in the lab testing the VEH on a shaker that is an instrument that can replicate vibrations, from simple sinusoidal vibrations, to real vibrations such as the ones of a car, train, industrial air compressors…
I used to have lunch (and more important coffee) with friends before the pandemic, but for the moment we are not allowed anymore. After lunch I go back to my simulations or to my lab to finish off what I started in the morning.
In research, days are never the same and there are always unexpected events that happens, experiments not going as planned, but this is the fun part and often the most important results are the ones we did not planned.
What I'd do with the prize money
I would love to build a demonstrator of my technology suitable to school students that could be used during science week or similar events.
I would like to build a demonstrator of vibrational energy harvesting that could be shown to school students to science week or similar events. I would like to build a vibrational energy harvester that could be easily shaked by hand and it could generate enough energy to power LEDs or a temperature sensor that transmit data to a phone via Bluetooth.
The LEDs are an easy way to show that by using vibrations (in this case by shaking the VEH) it is possible to generate electricity.
The temperature sensor will then show a real application and it will be used to show the general public that it is possible to power sustainably small sensors without using batteries, by exploiting vibrations.
Liceo Scientifico (scientific high school) and University of Perugia. Both in Italy. Then I did my PhD in the University of Limerick
I have a PhD and a Graduate Diploma for teaching in Higher education from the University of Limerick. Bachelors and Masters degree in Physics from the University of Perugia, Italy
I have only worked in the University of Limerick
I am a postdoctoral researcher.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
What did you want to be after you left school?
A university professor...I am working on it!
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Nope, I was even too good!
Who is your favourite singer or band?
What's your favourite food?
Pizza obviously, I am Italian
What is the most fun thing you've done?
One of my friend in college had a telescope and once we spent the whole night stargazing in a field
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
Wininning the nobel, winning the nobel and...winning the nobel!
Tell us a joke.