Fearless and curious are often words used to describe Dr Catalina Curceanu.
Bulli High School principal Chris Gregory said the eminent physicist who heads Italy’s National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), was also a ‘’wonderful communicator and inspirational to boot’’.
Her praise came after Dr Curceanu’s wonderful talk to senior science students at the school on Wednesday.
‘’Dr Curceanu is a wonderful communicator,’’ Ms Gregory said.
‘’The students were not only engaged but absolutely inspired and were asking really very meaningful questions because of the way she was able to give us not just the information, but connect the dots.
‘’I think that is the secret to it. Her being able to communicate in a way that had the students thinking and having them question, because they are trying to imagine it, but also to give some answers.
‘’It was absolutely a great benefit and joy to our students and our teachers to have a person who communicates so well their knowledge and love of science.’’
Dr Curceanu also had a ‘’great time’’ trying to inspire the young students to always be curious to better ‘’understand this beautiful world and universe we are part of’’.
Her talk was titled from the Big Bang to the Black Holes.
‘’The subtitle was Why Physics,’’ she said.
‘’I want to make them curious and show them that physics and science can help them understand this beautiful world and universe we are part of.’’
Dr Curceanu said physicists also had to be courageous and propose theories without fear of failure.
‘’Physics is 90 per cent trial and failure. It is much worse not to try, than to try and fail,’’ she said.
This is the second straight year she is visiting Australia. In 2016 the Australian Institute of Physics chose her as the AIP Women in Physics’ lecturer.
‘’I’m so happy to be in Australia again,’’ Dr Curceanu said.
‘’I enjoyed talking to the students this year and I’m now looking forward to visiting scientists at the University of Wollongong.
‘’We are working together on a very exciting project.’’
The Romanian-born scientist studied nuclear physics and elementary particle physics at Bucharest, and then a doctorate in spectroscopic meson physics at CERN.