Modern people are surrounded by tools and appliances that have come out as a result from somebody’s scientific research. For instance – cell phones, TV sets, cameras, video cameras… Thousands of working hours and a lot of creative energy lie behind each of these. However, Bulgarian scientists and more precisely the young ones have found it more and more difficult to develop their potential and to keep their enthusiasm alive over the past two decades. The poor state funding and low wages can barely be called a stimulus to stay in this country. However, there are still few young people that try to achieve something here. Associate Prof. Dr. Daniela Karashanova is one of those. She works at the Institute of Optical Materials and Technologies with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences /BAS/ and heads a laboratory in electron microscopy. She has received a one-year additional training in France and has attended many foreign universities and research centers. Despite the different opportunities offered at such places she has opted to stay in Bulgaria. Her team has had the chance to work with new and very modern scientific appliance for three years now. This is a transmission electron microscope that uses high voltage electron beam to create an image that has the capability to show the atomic structure of substances.
According to Daniela Karashanova microscopes are the eyes of modern researchers.
“We have all heard of atoms. Well, this Japanese technical wonder allows atoms to be seen,” the expert explains. “This microscope is used in the area of nanotechnologies, including in systems that are quite advanced and ready to be implemented in real life, for instance for the fight with cancer – the cancer cell itself can be attacked. This appliance is also used in relation with the new energy sources that are quite important for modern life. Using this device, I have the chance to be in contact with and to help many colleagues from different BAS departments and other universities. Thus I see a positive trend – more and more young people opt for the road of science. Their wish to develop is admirable. This year we have several PhDs in our institute too. They are ambitious, they have graduated university and come to receive their doctor’s degree with the idea to continue to develop in the area of science.”
Associate Prof. Karashanova recalls the time when she made her own choice to become a scientist. She shares that she loved physics in high school thanks to her teacher. “To dedicate entirely to a scientific problem, to view it from all its angles, to read, to think it over and then to solve it – that was my idea of scientific work”. She continues to see her work that way today too. There are no weekends for scientific problems, they require full devotion. At the same time a contemporary woman of science needs understanding in her family too. “I am lucky to have a wonderful husband – a physicist that has always supported me,” the expert says. Time is the only thing that scientists are always short of.
“We are always short of time. I guess that other people feel that way too, since the world becomes more and more dynamic. We have less and less time for friendly gatherings, for walks,” Daniela says. “Reading of additional scientific literature is even mandatory in our profession. However, I find it pleasurable, since I love my job. Sometimes I manage to steal some time for normal books. I like listening to music and walking, but still science is inside us and we cannot stop thinking of it even in our leisure time. At the same time these many young people that want to become good scientists need motivation via personal example. Perhaps their interest is due to university lecturers too. Students come to work with us even during their studies. Thus they can enter the team, complete smaller tasks and feel the taste of being a scientist,” Associate Prof. Daniela Karashanova says in conclusion.
English version: Zhivko Stanchev