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Helen Reverón

From Caracas to Bordeaux

Sure she misses the sunshine, scuba diving, and gentle climate of her native country, not to mention her family… But Helen Reverón, a 32-year-old Venezuelan, has fallen in love with France and the Institute of Condensed Materials Chemistry in Bordeaux (ICMCB)1 where she came to do a post-doc. In a melodious voice that still bears a trace of an accent, she explains why she left the lecture halls of Simón Bolívar University in Caracas to come join ICMCB.

“First of all, I have a natural fondness for Europe, its culture and its history. In 1996, after a training program at the National School of Industrial Ceramics in Limoges (central France), I received a scholarship to do my post-graduate degree in 'Ceramics and surface treatment' there.” She graduated with honors, top of a class of 35. She went on to obtain a PhD from Limoges University. In 2001, Reverón returned to her native country and obtained a teaching position at Simón Bolívar University. She taught classes, managed training sessions and thesis programs, and explored a variety of subjects such as development of nanoscale powders and of materials for fuel cells. But there was no one at the University of Caracas to supervise her post-doctoral work. Furthermore, France was beckoning.

She went on the Internet to search for a lab where she could work. The young research scientist chose ICMCB. “For one thing, because it is interdisciplinary. People here do research in fields such as materials science, solid chemistry, and molecular science. Furthermore, it is amazingly well-equipped.” The university granted Reverón a leave of absence, while she secured funding from CNRS. “My arrival in Bordeaux went very well. All the administrative problems were smoothed out, and it was very easy to fit in. Doing research here is a real pleasure for me. I have access to resources, I have a lot of liberty, and I have an enormous number of contacts with European research scientists.” Her field of research? Synthesis of ferroelectric nanomaterials with possible applications for cell phones. Soon the young researcher will take CNRS and university competitive entry exams to be able to work on this side of the Atlantic. In Reverón's day-to-day existence, scuba diving and swimming in the tropics have been replaced by long walks in the forest and painting. But her real passion is research, and Bordeaux is just the place to pursue that passion.



Notes :

1. Institut de chimie de la matière condensée de Bordeaux. CNRS-only unit. View web site

Contacts :

Helen Reverón
ICMCB, Bordeaux


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