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Ivan Schmidt: “There is a shortage of job opportunities for scientists”

Ivan Schmidt has a long trajectory in the world of science, teaching and physics research. Doctor Schmidt has excelled in his career with the Federico Santa Maria Technical University, institution to which he entered as a student in 1963, and where he later became professor and director of the Campus’ physics department in three occasions.

Ivan Schmidt has a long trajectory in the world of science, teaching and physics research. Doctor Schmidt has excelled in his career with the Federico Santa Maria Technical University, institution to which he entered as a student in 1963, and where he later became professor and director of the Campus’ physics department in three occasions.

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This year, Schmidt has been nominated for the 2017 National Award for Exact Sciences, representing the area of physics; his work is mainly based on fundamental theories that govern the behavior of matter.

It is worth mentioning that during his outstanding career, Dr. Schmidt has obtained countless acknowledgements, such as the 1996 Valparaíso’s Municipal Award for Science and Technology and the 1997 Presidential Science Chair, the first time ever for a researcher from the Valparaíso Region to obtain such an important distinction. Dr. Schmidt together with the American physicist Stanley Brodsky, developed the basic theoretical principles for the production of antimatter atoms, one of the most noteworthy discoveries of the century. Based on the method proposed by the researchers, in 1997, Swiss scientists produced the first antimatter atoms recorded in scientific history.

In regards to what Chile needs to reinforce the area of Science to level off with developed countries, Schmidt is clear. “The main shortcoming relates to the lack of job opportunities for scientists since the only job opportunities to be found are in universities or research centers funded by the State. Companies do not hire scientists. If their periodic evaluations merit it, Centers of Excellence funded by Conicyt should have the assurance of increased, long-term financing.  All developed countries count with this continuity and adequate resources. Finally, it is clear that state investment in science and technology is not sufficient. There are many projects evaluated as good or excellent that have been rejected by Fondecyt due to a lack of resources”, he indicates.

Nevertheless, the academic emphasizes that there has been improvements made in Chile regarding the study of science compared to 30 years ago. “There has been a noteworthy progress, particularly in the number of scientists. Additionally, very good Excellence Centers have been created, albeit the low resources. 30 years ago, students did not even think about the possibility of following a scientific career. Furthermore, only the Universidad de Chile counted with a Physics program”.

Regarding the present options for studying physics and for young people pretending to follow this path, Schmidt ensures a good future. “I have never met anyone who regretted studying physics. It is, as Feynman said, a major part of the true culture of modern times. And you (the students) can be part of this “Adventure in Thought” (Einstein). 

Escrito por Super User 30 · Aug · 2017

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