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Prof. Pierre THIBAULT - winner of a ERC Consolidator Grant - arrives at the Department of Physics

31 August, 2020

While the debate on the so-called ‘brain drain’ is still going on in the Country and the phenomenon sadly involves many young Italian researchers, the University of Trieste is proud to announce the arrival of a Canadian scientist, winner of one of the prestigious awards of the European Research Council: Pierre Thibault, an international physicist and expert in the application of image analysis techniques and X-ray tomography for the study of the properties of matter.

Despite his young age (42 years old), the ‘Québécois’ Thibault already has a great experience at international level: after his PhD – obtained in the USA at Cornell University – he first worked at the Paul Scherrer Institut in Switzerland, then at the Technische Universität in Munich and finally in the UK – initially at the University College London and finally, as associate professor, at the University of Southampton.

Thibault has now chosen the University of Trieste as the ‘Host Institution’ of his ERC project because of the international character of the University itself and because of the opportunities that Trieste, as a ‘city of science’, will offer him to achieve his research goals. ‘The strong link between our University and the research institutions in the area’ says Prof. Giovanni Comelli, Head of the Department of Physics ‘was the key to Prof. Thibault's choice. The possibility to exploit the exceptional properties of the electromagnetic radiation produced by Elettra – ‘Partner Institution’ of Thibault's ERC project – was a fundamental element in his choice to move to Trieste. ‘For us,’ continues Comelli ‘the arrival of a new ERC winner – the third one in our Department – is a very important achievement, a fact that further strengthens our position in a field where we already are very competitive at an international level.

Pierre Thibault – author of several scientific publications, also in high-impact journals such as Science and Nature – was awarded the prestigious ERC Consolidator Grant thanks to his idea of applying diffraction imaging techniques to other systems, thus gaining a spatial resolution that cannot be obtained with conventional microscopy. The project – funded for 2.2 MEuro – includes the development of a new imaging equipment and will give several young researchers the opportunity to join the research group.

‘The arrival of a renowned scientist such as Prof. Thibault at UniTS is a confirmation of the high degree of attractiveness of our university, a goal we have always aimed at’ adds Professor Alessandro Baraldi, Deputy Rector for Scientific Research and Doctorates. ‘We are already working on developing further initiatives to facilitate the participation of both UniTS teachers and international researchers in future calls for proposals from the European Research Council, in order for them to carry out cutting-edge research activities at our university.’ 

Professor Pierre Thibault will officially start on the 1st of September as full professor of Applied Physics in cultural, environmental, biology and medicine.