news highlights

One Hundred Reasons to Be a Scientist

Stories of great scientists and how they decided to go into science

One Hundred Reasons to Be a Scientist
One Hundred Reasons to Be a Scientist

29/05/2020 - Trieste

Why be a scientist? Nearly every scientist has a different answer and a different inspiration, drawn from varied careers, outlooks, and experiences. For its 40th anniversary in 2004, ICTP published the book One Hundred Reasons to be a Scientist, a collection of 100 essays from many eminent physicists and mathematicians with a connection to ICTP. The book is a source of many insights from the lives and careers of scientists, including Mildred Dresselhaus, Freeman Dyson, Vera Rubin, and Francis K.A. Allotey. The authors discuss what led them to study science, the difficulties they encountered and overcame, and their passions and hopes for the future.

We are revisiting twenty of these stories highlighting one of them every week, sharing inspirations from the essays and showcasing the words of these great scientists. During the uncertainty of the current global pandemic, the words will hopefully help researchers feel less alone in their scientific path.

We are presenting this week the story of Mariana Weissmann, an Argentinian physicist, most known for her contributions to the computational physics of condensed matter. In 2003 she was awarded the L'Oréal-UNESCO Award to Women in Science, becoming the first Argentinian scientist to receive this prestigious prize.

In her essay, Weissmann tells how she decided to study science and why physics is so important in her life. She recalls her college days at the University of Buenos Aires, followed by her days at Caltech, and then back to South America, where scientists had to face many political difficulties to carry on with their research. You can read it here.

Weissmann has been an ICTP associate for more than 30 years and a frequent visitor to ICTP. You can read a full profile on her research and career here.

Finally, if you are interested in learning about 99 more scientists and what inspired them, you can find the whole book in electronic format for free download on ICTP’s library website, in English, Italian and Urdu.


Here you can read the previous stories: