On your wavelength

Interactions: Federico Levi

Federico Levi is a Senior Editor at Nature Physics.

What made you want to be a physicist? 

I was a rather curious kid — the annoying kind that asks a lot of ‘why’ questions. But I never found my interests to be limited to the natural world. The adolescent me somehow decided that good learning opportunities would come from a degree in physics or history or English literature. While I like to think that some natural inclination towards analytical thinking nudged me in the direction of physics, the reality is that my parents were pretty persuasive in their case against a career in the humanities. But once I started learning physics for real, I was hooked. When I got to quantum mechanics, I was totally sold.

If you weren’t a physicist, what would you like to be (and why)?

I would like to write novels, I think. Too bad I’m not very good at it.

Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with — and why?

Thomas Kuhn, to thank him for having written a great book.

What is the development that you would really like to see in the next 10 years?

Understanding so much better the foundations of quantum mechanics, cosmology or the interplay between quantum physics and general relativity to realize that what we all assumed was clearly right is actually rather wrong.

What would be your (physics) superpower?

Skipping stones for hundreds of meters.

What Sci-Fi gadget / technology would you most like to have / see come true (and why)?

A time machine to undo stupid mistakes. Could probably have other uses too.


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