Alessandra De Lorenzi
Physical Chemistry

What do you teach at Ca’ Foscari? What are your main research interests?
I currently teach the second module of "Physical Chemistry 1 and Laboratory" in the Bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Chemistry and Technologies. Previously, I taught several courses in General Physical Chemistry and in Basic and Applied Spectroscopy. My research initially focused on high-resolution infrared spectra of atmospherically relevant gaseous species and then extended to the characterisation of materials, especially those relevant to cultural heritage, using spectroscopic techniques also combined with chemometric analysis.

What are you most passionate about in your research?
What I appreciate most is something that should apply to all areas of research: the ability to combine creativity and rigour.

Have you always known that this was going to be your path?
I have always loved teaching, ever since I tutored in high school, but it was only during my long dissertation internship, when I could observe my supervisor's work closely, that I realised that this could open up the chance to combine teaching and research, which in the meantime was becoming increasingly interesting and engaging. And so I would say yes, this has always been a goal and has guided my professional choices.

The issue of gender inequality in STEM disciplines in Italy is still very topical. What would you tell girls who want to approach these disciplines?
I would recommend girls who want to approach these subjects and make them a future profession to acknowledge the undeniable delay in implementing gender equality. And therefore to try not to suffer inequality, but to use it as a spur rather than a limitation. I can tell you that my experience both in a research centre of a major corporation, above all, but also in the university could be summarised in terms of prejudice/postjudice: as a woman you are perceived first as such and then as a researcher, and therefore you must constantly prove your expertise; for a man, on the other hand, this is taken for granted and what is eventually acknowledged is his inadequacy for the position.

What is the connection between your research and the city of Venice?
Part of my research focuses on building materials used by ancient Romans in the X Regio Augustea, which included the current Veneto region, as well as parts of Lombardy, Trentino, Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Istrian peninsula. I specifically investigated the possible supply sources of the materials used to make mortars and plasters, investigating with various techniques (DRIFTS, IBIL, MVA) both their aggregate component and the sands coming from the watercourses near the archaeological sites. Another ‘regionally’ relevant study was the study of the Berici soft stone (Vi) and the ongoing study of the Roman pigment called "terra viridis", of which an important historical deposit is located at Monte Baldo (Vr).

Last update: 22/06/2022