“Girls can also be scientists,” physicist Maud Guezo insists

On the occasion of Science Festival, Maud Guezo, physicist and teacher-researcher at Insa Rennes, is on France Bleu Armorique. She is the ambassador of the event in Brittany.

France Bleu Armorique: You work on matter on a very young scale, like Alain Aspect who has just received the Nobel Prize in Physics. There is pride when France wins a Nobel, which is more in your field ….

Maud Guezo: It is true that for quantum physics we are lucky enough to have a specialist, which has allowed us to obtain a French Nobel Prize in physics. It is a physics that applies to the scale of the very small.

Can you tell us more?

I work on a very small scale. On matter and its absorption and emission properties of light. Light will create positive and negative charges in matter. And then we will examine the duration of these accusations.

And does your research apply to our daily life?

Yes, generally it is what we have in our LEDs, in the lasers also that are at the origin of the Internet data transmission all over the world, in the optical fibers. So here are the LEDs, the lasers. And today it is true that LEDs still have a great ecological and economic impact for everyone.

A word about your journey to become a physicist?

Even as a child I read Sciences et Vie Junior. So this piqued my curiosity. And then I got a Baccalaureate S, so I was even more oriented towards math or medicine. In fact, it is rather in physics that I have fallen behind a bit.

What ignited your passion?

Only my high school grade. I thought I wasn’t strong enough in physics. I thought it would be too difficult for me and in the end my ticket reassured me. I was able to enter the University of Rennes from the first year after attending the Emile Zola high school in Rennes and then the University of Rennes in mathematics, physics, chemistry. I really enjoyed meeting two research teachers who were there and who pass on their knowledge, their passion. Because I think that our profession above all, ultimately, is fascinating.

And it is your turn to share your passion with children, sometimes very young. What are their questions?

They ask us “what do you do for the work in the laboratory?” because they often think about chemistry and its experiments. We explain to them that in physics we will not have vials and chemical solutions. Rather, we will have a laser, mirrors, small pieces of matter that we will observe using these lasers. And we show them the lights, the colors, the diffraction of light.

So is it ultimately through experience that we can best understand science?

Yes it is that. Do a very simple little experiment where they can add colors and they manage to have it by adding blue, red and green, they manage to have white, for example. And they control such a model, very simple. This helps to understand physics better. I think science has to be a little more concrete, more demonstrative, even if it’s small experiments. Making the connection between experiments and theory, this is science. It is always the confrontation between experience and theory. So doing theory alone is a bit boring.

Your message is also that anyone can become a scientist … is he a scientist or a scientist?

Yes even young girls. When they hear the word engineer or researcher, they get the impression that he is very masculine. And in the end, they say they can’t be strong like a boy. I am amazed that in 2022 I still hear about middle school girls coming to visit our campus in Insa, for example. So I think there are still biases ingrained in society or education. Girls need to know that they have as many chances as boys to become scientists.


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