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A brave Spanish talent who stays with us
30 March 2016 @ 11:53

      Last Monday, I listened, on the radio, an interview with Diego Gutierrez, a young Spanish researcher, from Zaragoza, who has decided to stay in Spain, to bring his knowledge to the Spanish Science. Spain is ranked 83, of 109 countries, that retain their talents.

Diego Gutiérrez

       Diego is a world expert in virtual reality.

      Diego explains why he has decided to stay in Spain. He says there are two reasons: one is personal, "the things that make me happy are here (my friends, my family .....), I appreciate that very much, beyond a promotion, only professional. But above all, there is an interest in putting Zaragoza and Spain on the map, trying to get what we can get, in my group, through the investigation, revert directly in Spain, which, in the end, is the country where I was born and which has educated me".

      Diego has received offers from the Max Planck Institute (Germany), the Factory Disney, even the NASA has been interested in one of his projects ......; and nothing ..., nobody convince him .....

      He laughs and says: "Someone makes me vacillate more than another ... But ... in the end, the decision has always been to stay here and ... I have never regretted. Recently, I have had another of these offers, which makes you to consider it; but, in the end, talking to the University of Zaragoza, I have seen very good predisposition to do things right, to improve and .... I stay”.

      Diego says one of the biggest problems for researchers, in Spain, is funding. He says "they need plenty of time to seek funding, and when it comes, it is usually relatively small, usually have many ties, it is difficult to work freely with it. After, when you go to work elsewhere, abroad, and see the level moving, the type of funding they receive and is really playing in another league, we play at a disadvantage, it is a price to be paid, of course, and it is true that sometimes you consider it. I have the good luck, because we work with computers, which in bad, if a year there is no funding, for equipment, my machine will go a little slower, but not lost crops, for example, as can lose people, who are working in biomedicine or other branch of Science".

      Diego explains what about his job and he says his team makes "Computer Graphics", which is more generic than virtual Reality. People think that it consists to create video games and movie special effects; but, if we stop to think about images made by computer, that we know today, we will see that they are present in almost all productive aspects of modern society (medical imaging, architecture, engineering, prototyping of new products ...) increasingly, there is a part of the process, which has an image generated by computer; thus, all the research, that is done in images, generated by computer, will revert, directly or indirectly, in society.

      Diego says that, two years ago, they developed a project, along with scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, consisting of a camera, which captures light to a billion frames per second. The NASA has found an application, for this project, that Diego and his team could never foresee, for remote inspection of the surface of planets and satellites.”And that is the beauty of science: you do something and you have your idea of what it can serve for; but the most exciting thing is what you can not foresee. A few years later, someone sees that you can use your technology for something else; that is the most beautiful; in this case, we are fortunate that NASA has involved us, in this investigation”.

       Diego also said that the Department of Defense of the United States has a huge budget for R & D civil. R & D, which has no military application, because, otherwise, he should not participate. Then, Diego explains that they are developing this project for rescue situations, because ”it is a camera that can see through the corners, with which you can imagine in an earthquake or fire; it would be very useful to see in places, that are hidden by a ruined house or whatever and to decide, on the fly, whether to go or have to go to another house, because there is none in the previous one”.

      Recently, the European Research Council awarded to Diego, a grant valued in one million seven hundred thousand Euros. Diego says that money will cover expenses for 5 years --because he has to hire a team (about 8 people, but not everyone will be hired 5 years of the project), trips to congresses, technical equipment, etc--.

      Well. I am proud to be compatriot of Diego and I wish him to have good luck, in this project and others, that he may have in the future. And, of course, I congratulate him on his work.

      Until my next post, kind regards,

Luis.

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