CEFOP’s director is awarded with the City Hall Science Award 2010

During his stay in Peru, CEFOP´s scientific director, PhD. Carlos Saavedra, was awarded with the City Hall Science Award 2010 for his contribution to the development of research in the area of Optics and Photonics in Chile, the training of new scientists and manage their ongoing outreach. He says that this award is the result of teamwork and the unconditional support of his family.

What does it mean for you to receive this award?
I was very happy indeed. This joy is because this recognition is more than personal, as it entails a recognition of the great family support that requires the dedication to science and also the teamwork involved in the sustained development of a research area, in this case and Optics Photonics. Without doubt, this task is not individual and I understand and assume it as a support to the collective challenge of consolidating our discipline.

Does this kind of recognition help to consolidate Optics and Photonics in Chile?
I think the awards for group work are always good, but consolidation is usually given through the approval of projects for research and proposing new challenges. However, I believe that awards may be useful to show younger generations the way for the development of new lines of research and the results of the teamwork.

How was the road to this point in your career, in the direction of the only Optics and Photonics Center of the country?
Research developments are not linear, it is difficult to determine a sequence of events that define how I reached this point in my career.
With Luis Roa, arrived at the University of Concepción in 1994 and as recently as 2003, Aldo Delgado joined the group followed by José Aguirre in 2005. But since 2004, with the approval of the Millennium Project “Center for Optics and Quantum Information”, and in 2009 with the start of CEFOP, everything has been dizzying, and with Rolando Hernández, we have assumed a great responsibility in the direction of this new initiative. The truth is that the adoption of a group development over the individual issues is clearly generating an unexpected dynamic.
I believe that the incorporation of new and talented people, as Wallon Nogueira, Gustavo Lima, Leonardo Neves, has been decisive, and the post doctorates to be integrated in the coming months will further improve these conditions.

What have been your main achievements as a researcher for the past years?
Together with researchers and students from the University of Concepción, and in collaboration with foreign colleagues, we have installed a number of unique research laboratories in the country, where it has been possible to address and resolve issues of fundamental importance in Quantum Theory and Quantum Information.
However, scientific activity has two fundamental aspects: training of new researchers and community relations. In terms of training I’ve had the opportunity to participate in the formation of a number of talented students and dedication to physics, they are always a motivation to create better conditions for their entry into scientific work, in academia or new ventures.
In outreach we have done many activities, only in our region we have involved more than 45,000 and we will continue with the opening of the “Universe of Light” in the city of Los Angeles.

Which aspects make you winner of this award?
I really do not know, maybe it was because I’ve done many things during my scientific career. On one hand, I have contributed to the development of specific research topics of quantum optics, quantum information and quantum theory. In this regard, together with a large number of national and foreign researchers, I’ve published 57 ISI articles. And on the other hand, I feel I’ve contributed to the formation of a significant contingent of students and the generation of new facilities for scientific work, and also by my motivation to participate and generate outreach activities.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I would like us to be a consolidated center. Personally, I don’t know in which role, but I hope that management roles to be dynamic to foster new generations, and be able to assume new challenges.

Where is the emphasis in your research career?
My main reason for running is quantum theory in terms of applications in optical tweezers and instrumentation development environment.

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