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Photo Credit - L'oreal

Marcia Barbosa

Professor

Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul

And - Brazilian Academy of Sciences

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Diversity is very important for science and for any aspect in life. Be yourself.

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WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am a theoretical physicist. I use computer simulations to understand the unusual properties of water and to use them to develop new technologies to obtain more clean water.

In particular my research group unveal the mistery why water molecules unlike other materials move faster when they are put together in a more compact form. The water molecules move by making hydrogen bonds with the neighbor molecules and when they are closer they can do that easier like dancers in a salon.

In addition I also analyze why there are so few women in physics and how this can be changed so we create a more diverse working enviroment.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

As a kid I did love to make experiments and to learn how things work in nature. I remember that once I created a plastic kite so I could play with it during the rain. I just was super carefule to avoid thuderstorms because I knew that they would attract the thunder.

At the high school the teachers asked to stay after class helping to assemble the school laboratory. This was a very exciting experience. Once I built an electric over. In fact first I put the electricity of the school down by a mistake while building the over, but then I fixed it.

After so many interesting experiences I decided to become a scientist.

HOW DO/DID YOU TACKLE OBSTACLES?

I came from a low income family, therefore I knew the meaning of facing difficulties. We learned to be reslient and that through efforts we could succeed. It was not easy to be a latina, a woman in physics, but the fun of doing science and knowing that if I persist other women could become scientist

gave me energy.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

I wish younger me would know that I am not alone and that other women also face the same difficulties.

Networking is a powerful instrument.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

The discovery is a wonderful feeling.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

Never ever allow others to say that you have to change for science.

Diversity is very important for science and for any aspect in life. Be yourself.

INSPIRATION

Together we can.