Roberto Macchieraldo is performing a secondment in the SIM² KU Leuven cluster (through the ETN SOCRATES project). In the interview below you can get to know more about this Italian researcher with a background in chemistry.

Bio Roberto Macchieraldo

Roberto_Machieralda_2Roberto was born in 1988 in Biella, a small town close to Turin, in the north of Italy. He obtained his Master Degree in Advanced Chemical Methods at the University of Turin. In this thesis he researched the computational characterization of a metal organic framework and enjoyed the supervision of Prof. Roberto Dovesi (the group responsible for CRYSTAL code) and the mentorship of Dr. Silvia Casassa and Jacopo Baima. During his master studies, he also took the opportunity to do a short internship in Paris in Saint Gobain Recherche, where he analysed the photoelastic properties of some crystals.

After his studies, he moved back to Biella and worked there in a small but solid company which produces non-woven fabric. After a year, he switched to Siena to attend a master in Drug Design and Synthesis. Thanks to that master he got the opportunity to work for GSK, a pharmaceutical company, in the field of the Quality Assurance. While working for GSK, he was interviewed for an open position as Early Stage Researcher (ESR) in the ‘European Training Network for the sustainable, zero-waste valorisation of critical-metal-containing industrial process residues’, in short SOCRATES, which is coordinated by prof. Koen Binnemans. He was very happy to be selected and started working in Bonn in January under the supervision of Prof. Barbara Kirchner, studying mixtures using a computational approach. The goal is to gain insight from a molecular point of view in what mixtures are. For the months of May and June, he enjoys a secondment in the LIC to study the miscibility of ionic Liquids with solvents and other ionic liquids.

He loves movies and series, especially sci-fi.

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Interview

Why did you chose to come to Leuven / to the laboratory of prof. Koen Binnemans?

My short stay in Leuven was scheduled as a secondment part of my PhD-training within the EU Horizon 2020 MSCA-ETN SOCRATES-project. So it wasn’t a real choice but I am very happy to be here as Prof. Binnemans and the colleagues prepared an interesting topic for my work. Also, I like Leuven a lot as it has all the benefits of a small town, while it is really close to Brussels, giving you the opportunity to enjoy a relaxing life and doing big city activities during the weekend. Furthermore the bier is amazing!

What are 3 things you hate and 3 things you love?

I love movies, good food and good company. I especially enjoy sci-fi-movies like Alien or even new one like Arrival. I think one of the best series ever shot is Battlestar Galactica although the title of best series remain to Breaking Bad. Fortunately, I don’t think I really hate something, but let’s say I am not fond of those things that can stress you. I think one should work for living, and not live for working. I’m looking for the perfect balance between the two things.

How do you recharge?

For quick recharges I spend time with friends, I watch movies or play video games. Seldom I also read. For hard recharges I fly back to Italy to my girlfriend (as often as I can!), and she flies to me as well. We have been together since about a year but I have never been so close to someone as I am with her. We did not expect at all to have to manage a ‘long distance relationship’, but we are doing fine with many thanks to Skype, Whatsapp and Ryanair!

Which question would you like to omit, which new question would you like to introduce?

I would like to omit the first question “Why did you chose to come to Leuven / to the laboratory of prof. Koen Binnemans?” and to introduce this question: “If you could change one choice you made, what would you change?”