Interview with Nikhef alumna Serena Oggero

The search for beauty goes on

As an innovator at TNO, Serena Oggero continues the search for “beauty in data” that started at Nikhef when she prepared her dissertation entitled Beauty in the Crowd. With its publication in 2013, Serena presented first-time evidence of the disintegration of a Bs particle into two muons, something which was hailed as a very convenient way to probe New Physics models. Serena describes herself as a physicist with a drive for science, visual communication and a strong interest in diverse cultures.  “While I was completing my thesis on data from the LHCb experiment”, she says, “I found that my interests had become much broader than just particle physics, and that I also wanted to explore other fields in science. My time at Nikhef definitely helped me discover who I am and what I wanted to do: communicating scientific research to lead to a better society.”

“I then learned about TNO’s two-year trainee programme aimed at newly graduated Master’s and PhD students,” Serena continues, “and I decided to apply. This programme gave me the opportunity to span a number of TNO’s departments and explore career options in the field of business development, strategy, consultancy and the valorization of innovations. And this made me aware that it’s perfectly okay not to be exclusively focused on pure research, but that I could also produce highly valuable work when I concentrated on tasks involving communication and strategic thinking. To give you some examples, I worked in the Nano Instrumentation Department, where I contributed to B2B projects on contamination (nanoparticles) control for the semiconductor market. I also participated in the Climate, Air and Sustainability Group, where I worked on European projects on sustainable cities. My contribution involved data modelling activities for resource flow analysis and stakeholders management. Finally, I joined the Intelligent Imaging Group, where I focused on the development of applications in the field of visual pattern recognition and behaviour detection.”

“All these beautiful new paths have led me to where I am today, in the Data Science department, collaborating with machine learning and computer vision experts to valorize their research in applications for society. I absolutely love working in multidisciplinary projects and discussing innovations with clients. My days at CERN and Nikhef, where an open environment and strong team work facilitated the exchange of perspectives from a wide range of cultures, have certainly prepared me for my current interdisciplinary tasks.”