"Find something you are really passionate about"
I’m Stefania Carpano, astronomer/astrophysicist. I’m half Belgian half Italian, and I lived until I was 23 in Brussels where I got my degree in Physics. Then I moved abroad in the Netherlands (Noordwijk) and Spain (Madrid) doing various scientific jobs in Astronomy, as well as in Germany (Tübingen) for my PhD thesis. I arrived in Munich mid 2013, and started to work at MPE early 2014.
Since I was young I was fascinated by the starry sky I could see in Italy while on holidays, and started to get interested in Astronomy as a school kid reading books, magazines, visiting the Planetarium in Brussels, hanging posters in my bedroom.
There are many fields in Astronomy and Space Sciences I find interesting and where I worked in, but I spent most of my career in X-ray Astronomy studying mainly X-ray binaries, where two stars (a compact object and a normal star) are exchanging matter and interacting dynamically. Because in X-ray binaries things may change very rapidly, I’m particularly interested in the time variability aspects of the sources. Within the eROSITA project I’m involved in various working groups that are related to my research activities: Near Real Time Analysis (mainly looking for new transients), Time Domain Astrophysics, Normal Galaxies and Compact Objects. I'm also taking care most of the time of the eROSITA Twitter account.
I don’t have long-term perspectives for the future, but for the next years I’m planning to continue to work on the eROSITA mission for which there are already so many data and many more are foreseen.
In my spare time I read books, I particularly like science-fiction ones, or I watch movies/series on TV. I also regularly do sport either at the fitness club or at home, and I especially like dancing. I love traveling, discover new places and cultures, or simply making excursions in the surroundings of Munich. In winter I like skying, sledging and skating.
I wouldn’t change my academic path, I’m very happy of the decisions I took even if things have not always been easy. I sometimes wished I followed an engineering career in Space but maybe I wouldn’t have liked it after all. The advice I would give to young scientists? Find something you are really passionate about, and travel as much as you can while you are still young.