8 Questions with Professor Furio Cora

9 November 2017

This week, meet Professor Furio Cora who joined the department in 2005 as an inorganic chemist. Furio tells us his top three things to do in London…

1. How old were you when you first realised you were interested in chemistry?

As I child I wanted to become a dentist. During the years at high school I realised that a career in science would have been much more rewarding (though not financially) than treating people's teeth. The choice of Degree has been a close call among Maths, Chemistry and Physics, so having become a computational chemist is a good compromise.

2. What made you take up a career in chemistry?

It is rigorous and intellectually stimulating, still with a practical side

3. Who inspired you to take up chemistry?

Nobody. My role model scientists as a teenager were all physicists, but chemistry felt more suitable as a career.

4. What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?

Having contributed to make computer modelling a mainstream technique in materials science. I remember one of the first questions I was asked after giving a seminar on my computational chemistry research - back in the dinosaur era - was whether I would fly on a plane designed on a computer but not tested in the lab. Now we would likely not fly a plane without computer assistance.

5. What is your favourite album, film and novel?

U2's "The Joshua Tree"; The Blues Brothers; "How to be an alien" by George Mikes - a lighthearted view at Britishness from continental eyes, a Brexit reversal.

6. Who would be your dream dinner guests?

Family first; then some present or past Juventus players: Gigi Buffon, Alex Del Piero or maybe Antonio Conte; Julius Caesar; Annie Lennox and Katherine Jenkins as sound-track; Jamie Oliver in the kitchen please.

7. What would it surprise people to know about you?

That is a secret for others to discover.

8. What are your top three things to do/see/go to in London?

Opera in the Covent Garden; some of the art galleries in Mayfair; walking in the parks in a sunny day - Greenwich during chestnut picking season is a firm favourite.