Cornell 2017: Hoffmann, Ashcroft, Mermin

During my days in Ithaca (Cornell University), I had the great opportunity to show part of my research work. I decided to present the research I had just finished at that time about the possibility to induce a metallic state in ice under pressure and upon doping; thinking that I could attract more attention and get more input for my research.

Lucky me, that week Prof. Hemley was visiting Cornell and could attend my talk. Expert in high-pressure research. The talk was in a very informal and illustrative way, conveying, I believe the main message successfully. Next day, I received an email from Prof. Hoffmann, suggesting that “would be good to meet”. After some email exchanges, we agreed on a date.

Next day, nervous and with shaking hands, I reach his office punctual within a second precision. After briefly introduce myself, soon I realized that he knew everything and every single point from my project, he was inquiring questions, precise points that at the time weren’t clear to me. He is a very sharp person that have distilled knowledge over the years that simply with hand-gestures can explain complex concepts, in this case, bonding and high-pressure chemistry at the current state of the art.

I do not know really to whom I should thank, maybe destiny or the serendipity path (a complex set of taken decisions) that put me there, that day in that office. I had a great and unique chance to meet a Nobel Laureate. I received first-hand criticism of my work and suggestions to improve, more ideas and the motivation to keep what I am doing. More than 60 minutes of scientific discussion and interchange of ideas. In the end, the discussion started to slightly shift towards a more general topic, Science, times to be scientific, old times, and at the very last elegantly he asked me from where it comes to my accent. He has been several times in Mexico. Indeed I could verify that: beautiful pieces of art (distinguishable for the colours) hangs in his office (perhaps the biggest office I know to date). I would like to share the picture of this nice event that definitive scratch a mark in my scientific path.


This text was written as a post-analysis when cruising from Labadee to Puerto Rico, SMEC conference 2017.