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Department of Physics welcomes three new Emeriti

The Department of Physics at Técnico welcomed three new Emeriti.

The Department of Physics at Técnico welcomed three new Emeriti. The ceremony took place this Tuesday, at the Congress Centre of Instituto Superior Técnico.

“I am a little bit emotional to see this Congress Centre almost full for this honouring ceremony”, said the president of Técnico, professor Rogério Colaço, who also stressed that the three honourees graduated in Electrical Engineering at Técnico and then obtained a PhD in Physics.

The Head of the Department of Physics, professor Vítor Cardoso, said “it is an honour to be here”. The Técnico professor thanked the honourees for their collaboration with the Department of Physics. “A good scientist forces us to look at situations with a critical eye”, he stressed. “The nations that embrace knowledge are always the richest”.

Professor João Paulo Silva presented the first honouree: “Professor Gustavo Castelo-Branco represents the ideal of an Emeritus professor”, and then highlighted the important role of professor Gustavo Castelo-Branco as Head of the Department, in Portugal’s admission to CERN and in the field of Particle Physics.

“Telling the story of my life in 15m is almost impossible, but I will try”, said professor Gustavo Castelo-Branco. And that’s what happened. The Técnico professor stressed the importance of doing a PhD at City College, in New York, and how it boosted his career, as well as the experience of living in New York city. He then pursued a postdoc at the University of Bonn, in Germany, and went to Carnegie Mellon University. In 1981, he returned to Portugal and started teaching at Técnico.

Professor João Seixas presented the second honouree – the researcher Dr. Emílio Ribeiro – as one of the persons responsible for drawing up the statutes of Técnico and Universidade Técnica de Lisboa. Dr. Emílio Ribeiro was President of the Evaluation Group of Universidade de Lisboa. He co-designed and promoted, with architect Nuno Leónidas, the new building of the Institute of Physics and Mathematics, which is currently located in the Interdisciplinary Building.

At the academic level, João Seixas referred to Emilio Ribeiro’s PhD at the University of Oxford and his research area – Hadronic Physics.

Dr. Emílio Ribeiro recalled his student days: “Técnico was a very conservative school, we lived in a dictatorship, but some professors were ok. Professor Brotas (António) was a breath of fresh air”.

The researcher talked about his academic journey, the construction of the second building of the Institute of Physics and Mathematics and his inputs to Universidade de Lisboa.

Professor Mário Pimenta presented the third honouree – Professor Jorge Romão – and divided his speech into 3 parts. The first one focused on the main areas of professor Jorge Romão’s scientific study, namely quantum gravity, neutrino physics and supersymmetry. In the second part, professor Mário Pimenta described the honouree as a professor who was always ready to help his students, “his office door was always open for his students”, he said. The third and final part highlighted professor Jorge Romão’s role as a “key promoter for the integration of people and communities”. In this regard, Mário Pimenta spoke about Jorge Romão’s key role in Physics, particularly in Portugal and Técnico, also referring his important role in Portugal’s admission to CERN.

Jorge Romão talked about his childhood in Alcanena, how he got into Técnico and how professor António Brotas influenced his student journey. He also talked about his PhD at the University of Chicago, and how he became a professor at Técnico, in 1981. “The best thing about being a professor is that students are always the same age, they never get older”, he said.

At the end of the ceremony, the Rector of Universidade de Lisboa, professor Luís Ferreira, referred to Universidade de Lisboa and its ten years of existence, and the important role played by the three honourees. “They are examples of dedication and work”.

The programme of the ceremony and the biographies of the honourees are available here.