• What is your name and what do you do?
I am Professor in Analysis at University of Rome (Sapienza). At the moment I coordinate the PhD program in Mathematics in my Department, and my research field is Applied Mathematics (applied for the Italian standards, but quite theoretical anyway).
• Why do you do mathematics? (Motivation, a personal view)
Difficult to say. The easiest answer is that my mother was a Professor in Mathematics (which means that this world was not completely unfamiliar for me), but the real answer is that I have decided at the very last moment between mathematics and arts. I always enjoyed solving problems in mathematics and math at school was easy.
Now what I like most in mathematics is the sharpness of logical arguments, as well as clarity of understanding, especially in contact with other sciences.
Let me say that also teaching is quite exciting.
• What is a typical work day like for you? Please describe your usual activities.
Unfortunately now my days are quite busy with many things that are not related with research. Getting old one gets more responsibilities and moments for research activities (thinking about problems and discussing with students and colleagues) become rare. They represent more a pleasure or a privilege, rather than a duty.
• What keeps you in research? Have you had to overcome any barriers or problems?
I think that traveling is very important and also to become independent and develop your one point of view. Being ’too independent’ might be sometime a small obstacle in your career, but I still believe that it is fundamental.
• Do you have any advice for others who are starting a mathematical career?
I know that now the trend is to publish, publish publish. But I hope that this will change. I think that the average of mathematicians now publish too much (I don’t know who has the time to read all these things), and honestly very few mathematicians publish things that are destined to be remembered.
I would rather suggest to develop your own taste for problems and publish papers that you honestly consider interesting.