A Journey into Excellence, INFN Gran Sasso National Laboratory. Part II
We continue our tour of the world’s largest underground research centre. After becoming acquainted with the place, in this second part we prepare to meet some of the people who work here.
Young researchers grow up
Research at the frontier of scientific knowledge as that carried out at the Gran Sasso Laboratory is the result of a collective effort involving researchers with different ages, stories and experiences, starting with young people who are taking their first steps in the world of research here.
This is the case of Stefano Dell’Oro. He tells us that, after graduating in Physics, he moved from Milan to L’Aquila to write his doctoral thesis on the CUORE experiment, working on the cryostat. A path definitely enhanced by a territorial context centred on knowledge, integrating training and research.
Stefano, in fact, completed his education at the Gran Sasso Science Institute (GSSI), an international school based in L’Aquila, which offers Italian and international students the opportunity to do excellent doctoral programmes in the fields of physics, mathematics, computer science and social sciences.
From his story, we discover that exchanges with the Laboratory offer students at the University of L’Aquila and GSSI interesting opportunities to start a research activity which can soon take on an international dimension.
A dynamic working environment
From Gran Sasso to the United States and vice versa is but a short step, as shown by the stories of different people who have passed through the Laboratory: the story of Stefano Dell’Oro, currently doing a post-doctorate at VirginiaTech, or the story of Augusto Goretti, an engineer with thirty years of experience in the field of basic research.
From Lombardy, as his accent suggests, Augusto has been working for the Princeton University for about 15 years, spending much of his time at Gran Sasso, where he has followed the systems of important experiments carried out here and where he currently deals with infrastructure. Over the years he has moved to L’Aquila for love. The most difficult time, he tells us, was during the 2009 earthquake, when, because of the damage caused to his home, he had to temporarily leave the capital city of Abruzzo and move to the province of Teramo.
Overall, of the almost 1,500 scientists from 29 different countries who currently do research at Gran Sasso, only a few live permanently in this area. Many of them, associated with the various institutions involved in scientific collaborations, spend more or less long periods here and then move elsewhere.
The Gran Sasso Laboratory represents one of the most prestigious underground research infrastructures worldwide. This is also thanks to its convenient location, easily accessible from the road via the tunnel: this makes it easy to transport people, vehicles and equipment. In addition, unlike other underground research facilities built in abandoned or still active mines, no lifts are needed to reach the Laboratory.
(End of Part II)