16/05/2018

A conversation with Alessandra Mazzai.

An unbridled passion for music, chaos on his desk and a strong emotional bond with his home town. An interview with Alessio Bellucci, the Neapolitan oceanographer from CMCC Bologna.

What’s your job at the CMCC Foundation?
I am an oceanographer and I work with climate models. My work aims at advancing our understanding of the role of oceans in the global climate system. Decadal predictions are among my main research activities, an innovative research line in the climate sciences.

Which road led you to CMCC?
I studied Oceanography in Naples – my home town – at the University Parthenope. Thanks to a Marie Curie grant, I had the chance to move to Southampton, England, where I earned my PhD in the same discipline. I came back to Italy applying for a job offer at CMCC, in Antonio Navarra’s research group.

Is your current job the one you had dreamed of when you were a child?
Yes! On the one hand, as a child I dreamed of a job that would take care of the planet. On the other hand, I have always been fascinated by the sea, as I was born and raised in a seaside town. When I was teenager, I dreamed of studying astrophysics to deal with other planets, but I soon came back to Earth, where I applied my passion for the ocean in rational terms: oceanography was the key.

Could you tell us the most beautiful moment in your life as CMCC researcher?
The greatest satisfaction is that of having contributed to the process of the latest IPCC Assessment Report with the CMCC simulations. But there are many beautiful moments: every time the quality of our work is recognized and utilized by a wider and international community that is facing crucial issues for the planet.

What’s on your workstation?
Chaos. I try to contain it, but it’s stronger than me! Papers, paperwork, notes… I’m messy, and I envy tidy people. If there was something interesting on my desk, it would be hidden among the papers.

How do you travel to work?
I drive to work (my car runs on natural gas!), as I live 20 km outside Bologna’s city center. It is a relaxing and pleasant journey through country roads, during which I catch up on the day’s news by listening to the radio.

What do you do in your spare time?
I have a devouring passion for music. More than a passion, it is a pathological mania! I can play several instruments: piano, electric bass, double bass… And my house is a repository of instruments. Rock, jazz, classical music…There are no limits to the musical genres I love to listen to, and I have always loved playing in bands.

Cinema or literature: give us a title and explain your choice
My other overwhelming passion is literature. I am a voracious reader of novels, frustrated by not having enough time to read! I love the Neapolitan writer Elena Ferrante, and her quartet “My brilliant friend”, where she tells about my city and about the conflictual relationship that characterizes every Neapolitan, even when they live far.