Graduate Alumni Profile: Dr. Sergio Gaudio
Dr. Sergio Gaudio studied in the BC physics department from 2001-2006. During his PhD, Dr. Gaudio worked alongside Prof. Kevin Bedell to understand the thermodynamics of ultracold atomic gases through Fermi liquid theory. After graduation, Dr. Gaudio continued his research in superfluids at Università ‘‘La Sapienza’’ in Rome, Italy, before venturing into medical physics at UCLA. Since 2016, Dr. Gaudio has been working as part of the LIGO collaboration. With colleagues in the group of Michele Zanolin at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Dr. Gaudio models detectable signals from gravitational waves emitted by supernovae processes. In 2017, the founders of the LIGO collaboration were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the landmark discovery gravitational waves. As a popular science communicator in Italy, Dr. Gaudio has received the Excellence in Research award from the Premio Spartenze Foundation and the Gonfalon award from his hometown, Palmi.
How do you reflect on your time as a physics graduate student at BC?
When I arrived from Italy the physics building, Higgins Hall, looked very different than it does now. The physics department was going through a complete renovation. BC to me has been a family, and I still consider it as family, where you have your roots and everything stems from there.
I remember the contrast between the relationship I had with my professors in Italy and the familiar, warm experience I had with the professors at Boston College.
When I arrived I had some health issues but everybody helped me overcome the problems and perform at my best. That is why whenever I return to the BC Physics Department, I feel like I am going home.
How did your experience at BC contribute to your current career?
I can definitely say that I learned physics while I was a student at BC. The department provided a great environment to learn and exchange ideas, including with my peers. I was lucky Prof. Bedell accepted me as one of his graduate students, because I learned a great deal from him, from his intuitive approach of physics. He also gave me all the freedom to choose the subject I wanted to work on. I also benefited from the fact that MIT and Harvard are just around the corner. I took a few courses there too and often had meetings with some of the groups there in the same field I was working on, that is cold atom physics. Then, thanks to Prof. Bedell and a former BC PhD alumni, Krastan Blagoev, who moved to Los Alamos National Laboratory, I was able to go Los Alamos, where I conducted most of my research in condensed matter physics and worked with many people, in particular with Eddy Timmermans.
In retrospect, BC has been fundamental in my education, and who knows whether I would have obtained the same results without this unique experience.