Alexandra Georganti (ESR5)

As we begin the new academic year, this blog story isn’t focused on my individual experience but on celebrating new beginnings.

I would like to first draw our attention to the beginnings women made when they first entered the space of sciences and academia, which were back then dominated by men. For many years, access to education and academic knowledge overall was either entirely or partially inaccessible to women. However, during this past century, there have been important and bold beginnings made by women in these spaces that are worth noting.

Elena Cornaro Piscopia has been one of my personal inspirations, as she became the first woman at age 32 to be awarded a Ph.D. in Philosophy, after she was previously denied the title for her earlier studies on the sole basis of her gender.

The academic journey of another fascinating woman, Polish Marie Salomea Skłodowska–Curie, has also always been of particular interest to me. She was the first woman who was awarded a Nobel Prize in Science in 1903 and in Chemistry in 1911. She became the first to ever receive two Nobel Prizes and still holds today the title of only person who has been awarded a Nobel Prize in different fields of science.

Human curiosity knows no limits. It is what has inspired humanity to explore the mysteries of the universe that encompass us, and is the main driver of our relentless search for answers. Curiosity is what has led great scientists and inventors to the discoveries that changed the course of history in the name of progress.

A Ph.D. title is not just another degree: it is a new environment, maybe a new country, new friends and definitely new challenges. It is a place where radical new ideas and ways of thinking are harbored, new research capabilities are developed and new goals are set. It is a new beginning for those who do not give up on their curiosity about the world that surrounds them. If you too feel an irresistible force that motivates you to move deeper into the realms of wonder and learning, then you will probably love the act of researching within a Ph.D. environment.

For all of you beginning your Ph.D. studies this term and for all of you who are bravely considering it: congratulations and a happy new beginning!

Alexandra Georganti

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