Advice from an Industry Professional: OSA Ambassador Interview Series
By Jelena Pesic, OSA Ambassador, NOKIA Bell Labs, France
- What is your education background?
- I have an engineering degree (MSc) in optics from Institut d’Optique Graduate School of Palaiseau in France and a PhD in physics.
- What got you interested in science?
- When I was a teenager, I was always curious about how things were working and liked the sense of power that I was feeling when I was repairing broken objects.
- Why did you choose optics?
- By mistake! I did not know what optics was really about and enjoyed electronics more. I was distracted the day of the nationwide competitive exam in electronics and I brought one of my 7 written folders home… and ended up failing the admission by 1 point out of 500. Without that mistake, I would most likely be doing a different job now.
- Is there any person, from the world of optics/science, you admire?
- Général Ferrié. He is one of the fathers of telecom science. He managed to turn the Eiffel Tower into an antenna, saving it from demolition.
- What motivates you in the morning to go to work every day and to push the limits?
- What makes you feel you accomplished something at the end of the day?
- Creating new rules for the game.
- What is your dream job?
- How did you figure out what your dream job is?
- During my PhD. I was not particularly attracted by research before.
- If you could use a time machine to get back in time, what advice would you follow to get yourself through your studies?
- I am not looking back to the past, more to the future. If I was, I would have fun with electronics right now, wouldn’t I?
- Why is industry an important sector for students to look into?
- Everyone should pick up the sector where they feel attracted to. I chose industry because creating knowledge was not good enough for me. I had to go beyond and prove that my ideas could make a true impact.
- When we were students, we all had moments when we thought, ‘why do I need to learn this’, ‘when will I ever use this in life?’ Did you experience moments like these? How did you overcome them?
- Always. But I do not remember being bored. I guess that I somehow trusted my professors / parents when they were explaining to me that it would be useful sooner or later.
- From your point of view, what is the difference between research in university/institute and research in industry?
- When I was at school, it was commonplace to segment research in industry and research in academia according to “applied” research against “fundamental” research. I do not think that it is where the actual split is. Both types come with knowledge creation, otherwise they would just be R&D. However, researchers in industry are often expected to push their ideas one step further, to work out a would-be application space by themselves, even though the actual applications could change several times until they come out. It takes time and efforts, but it can make them truly impactful.
- How do you like to spend your free time?
- I love cinema, particularly science-fiction movies
Posted: 1 June 2018 by Jelena Pesic, OSA Ambassador, NOKIA Bell Labs, France | with 0 comments
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