"I like the friendly international environment"

Sara Boscolo Bibi is from Venice, Italy. She is in her second year of her PhD studies at the Chemical Physics division at the Department of Physics.

Sara Boscolo Bibi
Sara Boscolo Bibi - Foto Serena Nobili/Stockholms universitet

"Science has always been my passion, mostly materials and their compositions. That’s why I decided to study chemistry for my Bachelor’s degree. For my Master’s degree I focused more on nanosystems for bio- and green systems. For both degrees I studied in Ca’ Foscari University of Venice." 

Why did you choose Stockholm and the Department of Physics for your PhD studies?

"I’ve always wanted to study abroad to meet international researchers and improve my communication skills. I could do that for the first time during my Master’s with an Erasmus scholarship to Luleå. After my positive experience there, I decided I wanted to continue my stay in Sweden but this time in a bigger city with a less extreme weather. Stockholm is a very nice city for its architecture, good public transport, and good job opportunities."

"I found the Department of Physics interesting when I saw an open PhD position about catalytic processes investigated using a technique that I had never heard of before. I got quite excited to work in this field from a different perspective. In addition, I could join the project at the very beginning so I could learn how to organize a big project which lasts several years. An interesting aspect is that in Sweden the PhD can last between 4 and 5 years in case of teaching duties; this is very helpful for me because I have more time to run experiments in order to have a more complete research/final thesis."

What is your field of research?

"The field is catalysis, which is the way to increase the rate of a reaction by using a substance that isn’t consumed during the process. This can allow quicker and/or more efficient use of materials to make a desired product. Nowadays this field is quite important in the energy and industrial sectors. I’m an experimentalist which means I spend most of my time in the laboratory running experiments. This is in contrast with the theoretician’s job which is to run simulations on computers in order to create models to predict/better understand experimental results."

What is the aim of your research project?

"The aim of the project is to understand the fundamental processes behind the CO2 reduction to hydrocarbons in presence of a metal catalyst. With lasers we can investigate the pathways of this reaction. In the future this understanding will be useful to remove CO2 from the environment and to store energy into suitable chemical compounds for industry."

What do you like about studying at the Department of Physics at Stockholm University?

What I like the most is the friendly international environment with the opportunity to go to prestigious research facilities both in Sweden (like the Max IV laboratory) and abroad (summer schools). It’s also nice that my colleagues and I do some activities after work (e.g. bowling, dinners…), which really helps bonding.

How would you summarize your experience so far?

Stockholm is a very dynamic city with different social activities for all seasons! There is always something to do and a new restaurant to try. About my PhD studies, I could help to design some tools and to organize their manufacturing which was fun! We also started running the first experiments and are very excited about the preliminary results.

Search among our courses and programmes