My scientific training started at Sapienza University in Rome. Here I concluded my bachelor studies in physics with an essay on superconducting circuits (SQUID) and their application in quantum computing, under the supervision of Prof. Carlo Cosmelli. I continued my studies in Rome and finalized my master in condensed matter physics with a thesis on surface enhanced Raman scattering and its applications in bio-sensing. I conducted this project in the group of prof. Paolo Postorino, learning how the behavior of light at the nanoscale can change dramatically compared to what we are used to experience in the macroscopic world.
Fascinated by light’s behavior at the nanoscale, I decided to set condensed matter aside. I joined the NanoOptics group led by prof. Kobus Kuipers at AMOLF in Amsterdam, for a PhD project entitled ‘understanding the behavior of light at the nanoscale’. Here, I could study the structure of light with a resolution smaller than its wavelength. This was possible thanks to a special microscope that allows to circumvent the diffraction limit. This power allowed us to detect entities that arise in light fields, which are smaller than anything we can think of. These are zero-dimensional points where some property of light cannot be determined, better known as optical singularities. At these points, mathematics fails to describe light: a quantity that we can experience and measure. In the NanoOptics group I studied spatial distribution and evolution of optical singularities in random light fields, concluding my research with a dissertation entitled ‘The Singular Optics of Random Light’.
During my PhD I had to deal with datasets of nontrivial understanding, which I then clarified through mathematical manipulation and physical modeling. It is at that point that I started developing the idea of using similar approaches to describe different types of complex data, possibly beyond the realm of physics. This desire convinced me to embrace the field of neuroscience as my next scientific challenge. In the coming years I will contribute to the cause of the Social Brain Lab and try to integrate my approach driven by a strong record as a physicist with the diverse expertise of my new colleagues.