My answers to the ScienceLives 10 questions:

What inspired you to choose this field of study?

I found superconductivity and vortex matter mysterious and beautiful.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

“When you no longer care about a factor of 2, you should retire.”

What was your first scientific experiment as a child?

Throwing a used tire off a balcony from the fifth floor.

What is your favorite thing about being a researcher?

I have the unique chance to reveal, understand and explain something no one else ever has before.

What is the most important characteristic a researcher must demonstrate in order to be an effective researcher?

In my field, unique mathematical talent has to be combined with an outstanding ability to understand, interpret experimental data and to interact effectively with experimentalists.

What are the societal benefits of your research?

Quantum dots are used as biomarkers in cancer research, virology and cell biology.

Who has had the most influence on your thinking as a researcher?

My postdoc advisors and collaborators, Nobel Laureates Alex Abrikosov, Rudy Marcus, Tony Leggett, and my Ph.D. advisor Vinay Ambegokar.

What about your field or being a researcher do you think would surprise people the most?

That we are able to see SINGLE molecules blink like stars on a clear night sky AND able to explain the phenomenon.

If you could only rescue one thing from your burning office or lab, what would it be?

What music do you play most often in your lab or car?

Authentic Roma (gypsy) music.