IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Dr. Luca Conversi recently joined the Euclid SOC at ESAC as Instrument Scientist. Luca comes from the long wavelength side. For his PhD he designed, assembled and verified the re-imaging cold optics and feed-horn arrays of the OLIMPO balloon-borne experiment to study galaxy clusters through the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect. In 2007 he moved to ESAC, initially working for Planck, later as an instrument and calibration scientist for Herschel.
Why did you switch to Euclid? "I joined Herschel few months before its launch: it was a good opportunity to see straight on how operations of a scientific satellite work, but I really missed the opportunity to be involved in the earlier phases of the mission, when many details are still discussed and decisions need to be taken. So I really wanted to work on the pre-launch phases of a new mission. Furthermore, Herschel finished operations in May 2013: although there is still work to do and a long post-operation phase, the SPIRE instrument calibration and pipeline are in very good shape and the work was starting to be more routinely, hence I felt it was a good time to move on."
What do you see as the biggest challenge? "From the technical point-of-view it's going to be understanding how optical and near-IR instruments work. I spent most of my career working with bolometers: although the basics of running and calibrating a satellite will be similar, Euclid instruments are quite different from the ones I'm used to. From the interpersonal point-of-view, I already know some people in the Euclid consortium given my Planck and Herschel backgrounds. However most of them are new to me, especially in the instrument teams, so it will be the usual process of getting involved in a new team."
What about your expectations? "On the short term, I'm looking forward to knowing people and start contributing to the project. On the mid term, I hope to see less 'paperwork' and more 'hardware development & testing'. On the long term, I look forward to see Euclid to be launched!"
[25 March 2014]