Basílio has been coordinating the Milky-Way Science working group since its creation in late 2008 and has several graduate students involved in DES. His main interests include stellar populations, galactic structure, star clusters, and galaxy evolution. As a member of the DES-Brazil group he has also contributed to the Science Portal.
We asked Basílio a few more questions – here’s what he had to say:
What is your favorite part about being a scientist?
Analyzing data, writing codes, making proposals, writing and reading papers, and most specially, following the progress in our knowledge.
When did you know you wanted to be a scientist?
Since I can remember, I wanted to be an astronomer.
What motivates / inspires you?
Earlier in life, a lot of curiosity. Later on, conquering the world (I mean, travelling and living abroad) but the curiosity was also there. Currently, the willingness to make contributions, to help the students and younger scientists. But the curiosity remains, perhaps in a more mature version of it, something like the “willingness to gain a long lasting knowledge” (“long lasting meaning some knowledge that will endure beyond my life span).
Do you have any hobbies or play any sports?
I like sports. Throughout my life I played a bit of basketball, a bit of voleyball, did some weight-lifting, jogging, and played squash. I was even the captain of the Institute of Astronomy (Cambridge/UK) ROUNDERS team, in 1996. Currently I practice Kung Fu and enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving.
What is your favorite space-related image, and why?
This is very hard, since there are so many. The image of the dark and starry sky at Cerro Tololo that entered my own unaided eyes is certainly one of them.
What is your favorite book, movie, and/or TV show?
Book: The Capital on the 21st Century, Thomas Piketty Movie: Nostalgia de la luz (Nostalgia for the Light)TV show: well, I do not watch much TV. But I enjoy Law&Order, SVU, etc
If you weren’t a scientist, what would your dream job be?
Something that would grant me a lot of money. I would then quit after some years of work. Living out of my accumulated assets, I would then dedicate to the things I like: traveling, sports, and science, naturally.
What do you think has been the most exciting advance in physics / astronomy in the last 10 years?
This is an easy one: the recent discovery of over a dozen of new Milky-Way satellites, plus stellar clouds and streams, almost all using DES data.
Any advice for aspiring scientists?
Read a lot, think a lot, work hard, but do live your life. Take a deep breath sometimes. And try to look at the broad picture, both in terms of your career and of your life.