Nacho is specially attracted (no pun intented) to the fundamental questions that cosmological observations can help answer, for example, the nature of gravity and dark energy. So he dips his feet here and there in several projects related to the large scale distribution of galaxies. Most of his work tends to be in the field of understanding the characteristics of the data and helping other scientists get the most out of it.
We asked Nacho a few more questions — here’s what he had to say:
When did you know you wanted to be a scientist?
Actually it was quite a singular moment: someone bought me for my 9th birthday ‘The Young Astronomer’s Handbook’. I opened it up at a two-page spread of the Milky Way galaxy and I had a “What the …!!” moment from which I never looked back.
Do you have any hobbies or play any sports?
I used to practice karate quite a lot. It’s funny because I am not a confrontational type at all, but I enjoy deeply the peace of mind it brings to me. Few other things do that for me: having a 1-hour long breakfast with a newspaper; being on night shift during a quiet run at the observatory or at CERN; reading slowly a good comic.
If you weren’t a scientist, what would your dream job be?
A diplomat! My secret failure in life is not mastering more languages and traveling more. And earning more money some cynics would say.
Do you have kids? Do they want to be scientists too?
Three boys. The eldest is crazy with being a scientist since he was six. We thought we just overexposed him too much to our own interests. But then came the other two who really don’t care at all…
Any other fun fact you’d like to share?
My high-school physics teacher was adamant with me becoming an engineer. Then I told him I saw all Engineering fields too ‘down-to-earth’. He gave a deep sigh and said: “Then you absolutely have to study physics”.
Any advice for aspiring scientists?
This could be applied to anything really. “Do what you are passioned about” (and that doesn’t have to be necessarily your job!). It sounds awfully cliched but it truly is what works. Your life circumstances will make that more or less difficult but try as hard as you can.