What was your academic career?
I graduated in Statistics at the University of Padua where I also obtained my PhD. After some research fellowships between Padua and Udine, I joined Ca' Foscari as a researcher and was then promoted to associate professor and eventually to full professor.
What were your greatest professional satisfactions?
My greatest satisfaction is linked to a review article on the statistical method that I started studying during my PhD. The article was commissioned to Nancy Reid, a Canadian statistician and winner of the COPSS Award, the so-called Nobel Prize in Statistics. Nancy asked David Firth, an award-winning British statistician, and me to write the article together. It was a great honour to work with two such accomplished colleagues: I really learned a lot. The article was so well received by the statistical community that after ten years it is still considered the reference on the subject.
What is the aspect of your research you are most passionate about?
I really like the fact that statistics is a useful tool in almost any discipline: this gave me the chance to work on interesting projects with doctors, biologists, chemists and engineers. However, the most exciting part of my research is the study of statistical methods. I am really glad that basic research continues to amuse me, and also make me angry when results don't come!
Have you always known that this was going to be your path?
I think I realised that the academic career would be my direction after a lecture by the professor who later supervised my undergraduate and PhD theses. In that lecture, data from the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger explosion were analysed. The way my future supervisor described that famous case study impressed me so much that I repeat that lecture to my students every year!
What do teaching and researching mean to you?
I teach a subject that is usually considered very difficult by students, so managing to intrigue and involve them is a success for me. For me, teaching well means making students curious, and researching means making yourself curious.
Can you offer any advice to researchers in the early stages of their career?
Be curious and stubborn. Very stubborn, because you need patience to get results.