Elena Belsole is the Chief Editor of Communications Physics. An astrophysicist by training, Elena was the executive editor of New Journal of Physics, before joining Nature Research.
What made you want to be a physicist?
Since the age of 8 I wanted to be a medical doctor. I have always been a very inquisitive person and I would have pursued any direction that was giving me as many answers as possible on what the world is all about. But the truly determining factor was meeting my physics teacher in high school. He was so inspirational and made things look so fascinating; he even introduced the Schrödinger equation to the class. I could not leave it at that. I had to learn more.
If you weren’t a physicist, what would you like to be (and why)?
An herbalist I think. I love how you can forage and use herbs for medicinal use and being able to find a remedy for any minor ailments. I also considered theatre acting for a short time.
Which historical figure would you most like to have dinner with — and why?
Since I started University I had Richard Feynman lecture notes on my bedside table and always found the simplicity of his explanations fascinating, but I would probably not want to go for dinner with him. If I have to choose one person to take out for dinner I would go for `the queen of carbon’, Millie Dresselhaus. She has guided and inspired so many people and she was a great physicist in an environment that was (and to some extent still is) quite adverse to women, while also having a family. I would like to know how she did it all.
Which is the development that you would really like to see in the next 10 years?
I would like to see physical methods effectively used for controlling and stopping cancer and other diseases in a way that is not intrusive and not damaging for the patient.
What would be your (physics) superpower?
Definitely teleportation. I cannot even imagine how many places on Earth and beyond I could visit if that was true.
What’s your favourite particle?
The neutrino. It is such a versatile particle. Perhaps it is because of my fascination with cosmic rays from astrophysical objects, perhaps because it can be used to probe the Standard Model, or maybe just because thousands of them cross our body every second and are impossible to see and difficult to detect. Regardless, they are fascinating and may be a key to solve the mysteries of the Universe.