Honored for contributions to the advancement of optical biosensors based on plasmon polaritons and for promoting connections between nanophotonics and life sciences, Giuseppe Strangi describes himself as a dreamer and free-thinker. Born, raised, and educated on Italy’s southeastern coast, the region’s rich multidisciplinary history has undoubtedly influenced his view of science as a field. His hometown hosted Pythagoras, a mathematician, musician, and philosopher, around 500 BC, and Giuseppe comments that the people from this region today “like to think that we inherited something.” Giuseppe’s own work stretches over many disciplines, including physics, chemistry, biomedicine, and material sciences, but at the center is optics. His primary focus is to design materials that can mediate light interaction with biological matter, which has applications in oncology for the detection and treatment of cancer.
Giuseppe offers a useful metaphor for how he thinks about multidisciplinary research: the spider web. At the center is the scientific question, and branching from that question are all the possible ways to answer it and all the resources needed to solve it. He encourages his students to consider who is already working on the issue worldwide, what materials are required, and what the first step should be. An essential piece of this puzzle is that there can be no border or limit to what branches from the center of the web. He comments, “We do not create borders between disciplines…there is a language barrier we do recognize, but we can overcome this by keeping the scientific question at the center of the web.”
See full story at The Optical Society | Awards and Grants