EPEC Profiles – Victor Amir Cardoso Dorneles
In this series from the EPEC Communication Working Group, we meet members of the Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) community and find out more about their experiences and aspirations.
Victor is a PhD candidate in Astrobiology at the University of Bologna, IT.
I am currently finishing the second year of my PhD at the University of Bologna (IT), with a period abroad at the Natural History Museum of London (UK). My focus is to study the preservation of biosignatures in carbonate rocks from extreme modern terrestrial environments as analogues to lacustrine paleoenvironments of the Jezero crater on Mars. I am also a member of the Astrobiology and Geobiology Research Group at Unibo, and early this year I became part of the EPEC communications working group.
Over the years I have been pursuing what became a dream in my childhood. From the age of 7 to 17 I used to be a boy scout, so I grow up in touch with nature through camping, trekking, and hiking. Looking at the bright sky at night in the mountains was something that always fascinated me, and that is why I thought to be an astronomer first, to discover the wonders of the universe. Only after reading the book “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by French author Jules Verne, I realized that I needed to understand the planet where I live before exploring other worlds. In the outdoor activities as a boy scout, I used to look at the landscapes, mountains, and waterfalls and wonder how it all came about. Then, my journey in Geology started in 2014, when I was admitted to the faculty of Geology at the Federal University of Parana, in Brazil.
Coincidentally, my first contact with Astrobiology happened in the first week of my undergraduate classes when I attended a lecture on Geomicrobiology by who would become my future advisor. In that presentation, I discovered what stromatolites were and how they could be used to study ancient life on Earth, as well as their importance to the search for extraterrestrial life. That beat me in a way that was completely fascinating! It seems rash and naive to say that at that moment I was sure of my destiny, but I knew that was it. So, I survived the five years of my undergraduate degree plus two and a half years of Master’s in Geology, in which I had the opportunity to build a strong background in scientific research, learn different analytical techniques, gain experience in the laboratory, and participate in several scientific events. Finally, in my PhD I could confirm what I was sure about in 2014 in that first week of Geology undergrad, that I was going to work with Astrobiology.
Now as an adult man and geoscientist, I always try to bring the doubts of that little boy scout into my works as fuel for deciphering the Earth, and how life has evolved here, possibly on Mars and beyond!
The Europlanet Science Congress 2022 was my first contact with EPEC and it was fundamental for me to open my mind and be sure of the work I want to develop. I left the event extremely excited and energized after meeting a lot of people in my field and seeing a lot of great work in Planetary Sciences being done around the world.
VICTOR AMIR CARDOSO DORNELES
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