siaa_logo_blue  Elisabete M. de Gouveia Dal  Pino

Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences of the University of Sao Paulo (IAG-USP)

Sao Paulo, Brasil

Job Title: Head of the Post-Doctoral Program of IAG-USP 


I obtained my PhD in Astronomy at the University of São Paulo, Brazil in 1989, did a post-doctoral research at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA – University of Harvard, 1990-1992), was a visiting scholar at the Astronomy Department of the University of California – Berkeley (1998-1999) and was awarded an associate researcher position at the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy (1994-2001). I have been an Associate Professor at the Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences of the University of Sao Paulo (IAG-USP), Brazil, since 1987. I also made short term visits to the Universities of Princeton (USA), Wisconsin (USA), Universidad Autónoma de México, University of Pisa (Italy), Observatories of  Nice (France), Arcetri (Italy), and Bologna (Italy).  I am presently the head of the Post-Doctoral Program of IAG-USP and member of the Interstellar Matter Division Committee of the International Astronomical Union (IAU). I am also a member of the Brazilian and American Astronomical Societies. I work on theoretical and numerical astrophysics doing research related to astrophysical jets and outflows from galaxies and their interaction with the environment; structure formation in the interstellar medium and intergalactic medium, and cosmic magnetic fields origin. I have published so far over 60 refereed papers, edited four books, and have been awarded several fellowships and research grants.

I was born the 5th child of a family of nine children. My parents were both Portuguese immigrants in Brazil and they did a great job raising their children and providing the best education they could for them.  I decided to be an astronomer the very day I saw on TV the first man (Neil Armstrong) stepping on the Moon. I was just a young child and actually did not know the real meaning of being an astronomer, but since then I did not stop looking into the sky. 

However, to be an astronomer, and nowadays I know that for sure, is much more than a childhood dream or the perception that you were born for that. It means continuous and deep dedication, hard study, discipline, focus, and some leadership, as most of the scientific research fields do require.  Being a woman astronomer, in particular, means also that you have to be prepared to conciliate family, home tasks, and more important, motherhood with your career. How can you do that? Well, somehow you do, because you believe it is worthwhile doing it. When my daughter (Juliana) was born, my husband and I were both still graduate students and it was not easy in the beginning to balance motherhood with my PhD thesis, but actually, one of the advantages of our profession is the flexibility towards the work hours at the University, consequently I could spend most of the time during her first seven months at home taking care of her (breast-feeding her for a whole year as well) and developing my work thesis. Nowadays, with the Internet this is even easier to be accomplished if one has discipline and focus.  I was even luckier because I had a lot of help from a very supporting family, specially my mother and mother-in-law. Brazilian families are usually like that. 


As time goes by and you get a permanent job as a Professor, you realize that you have to do more and more, you accumulate more and more responsibilities that range from your won research, students’ theses supervision, teaching, administrative tasks, writing papers, books, reports and proposals for new scientific projects and collaborations, etc. You have to be prepared to work sometimes 15 hours a day, but it is worthwhile doing it (at least sometimes!). It is also very important not to loose the focus and know how to share the responsibilities with the people you work with, i.e., your students and collaborators. Sometimes, your work will require some sacrifice from your family as well, but they will also share the best of your career experiences with you. For instance, my daughter lived in and also visited several countries with me. This gave her the chance to be in contact with a wealth of different cultures all her life. This incredible life experience has presently helped her a lot in the choice of her own career.