Silvia Dalla Torre, spokesperson of HP2 and HP3,is answering to the questions. Silvia is a senior researcher of the Italian Institute INFN (National Institute for Nuclear Physics) and, at present, she is serving as Director of one of the 24 structures of the Institute, the Sezione di Trieste, based in Trieste and operating in full synergy with the Physics Department of the Trieste University. After the education period, Silvia became an INFN researcher in 1981. Along her professional career, she contributed to seven experiments all dedicated to explore different aspects in the hadron physics domain. Her activity within these experiments has always been characterized by important contributions to the detectors of the experiments and so she became an expert of detectors of ionizing particles, namely the detectors needed in nuclear and subnuclear physics. Along the years, she has served in several national and international scientific committees, which are established to judge the scientific proposals and to follow the progresses of the approved scientific projects.

You are leading activities dedicated to frontier photon detectors – What are the scientifically exciting aspects of your research projects?

Since the thirties of last century, the development of photon detectors is one of the goals for experimentalists in nuclear and particle physics. Each new invention has made possible new experiments and thus important progress in the knowledge of physics. Being part to this process is fantastic.

Who is participating in projects dedicated to frontier photon detectors?

We are physicists and technical personnel from five European institutions, namely three INFN Structures, Bari, Torino and Trieste, and from the University of Freiburg in Germany and the Technical University of Liberec in the Czech Republic. Each group is guided by a few senior physicists, but a large fraction of the research and development work is performed by younger colleagues, mainly PhD students and post-docs. Their dedication and enthusiasm are fundamental ingredients for the success of the projects.

What do you want to achieve with this activities?

We are developing a novel type of photon detector and the goal is to obtain a large size detector robust and reasonably cheap , while the existing photon detectors do not match all these requirements at the same time. The detector under development belongs to a wide family of detectors of ioninsing particle, the gaseous detectors, all invented after the first famous prototype: the Geiger counter, introduced about one century ago.

In which way will these activities eventually benefit society?

The past experience clearly indicates that sooner or later all the tools developed for science have found important applications for the whole society. In spite of the fact that nuclear physics is a young science, only about one century old, many applications are already routinely used in medicine both as diagnostic tools and to cure cancer. In particular, the medical applications require every day more advanced photon detectors, exactly the kind of instruments that we are developing.

In general, why do you think should a young person choose to study science and why should they do so in Europe?

The answer is not unique and several elements can guide towards such a choice. Among them, the curiosity for nature and the natural phenomena, the possibility to make use of updated high-tech tools, the chance to prove yourself in overcoming challenging problems, but also the opportunity to acquire a number of qualified skills that will certainly be useful either if you continue as a scientist or if you move to the productive world, namely industry, finance companies and other sectors. Europe is lacking an adequate amount of personnel with high level scientific and technical skills. Young people with experience in scientific research can answer to this need.

Would you like to add anything?

Yes, something coming from my personal experience. The great adventure of my life is science and the continuous stimulus that comes from facing every day challenging aspects is keeping me young; in spite of the fact that I am 58, I feel as young as I was when, at the age of 23, I started to work in the field of research.

The HadronPhysics3 project is supported by the European Union
under the 7th Framework Capacities Programme in the area of Research Infrastructures (RI).