iSGTW Profile - Paola Celio: contagious enthusiasm

Profile - Paola Celio: ARGO, ATLAS and growing the grid

Some of the places Paola Celio has been are quite remote, as in the site of the Argo-YBJ gamma-ray detection experiment, located in Tibet, 90 km north of Lhasa.
Image courtesy of Paola Celio

Paola Celio, like many "grid people," got her start in particle physics.

Now a technical engineer at the Department of Physics at the Roma Tre University, and associated with the Italian National Nuclear Physics Institute, Celio has moved from physics to grid hardware and software, attracted by the tremendous potential of the field.

"I started working with grids because I was interested in using something that involves many people, and because it is a field that is evolving very quickly," Celio explains.

"Grids are still in their infancy, but with them we can create a very different future. If we are successful, ultimately the whole scientific community will be able to use grids as just one more tool."

Celio is very keen to pass on her knowledge of grids.

"In addition to developing applications, I help other people put their applications on to grids-mainly for physics, but also for other fields such as biology or archaeology," she says.

"Particle physicists are very experienced with computer codes, so we hand on our experience and the components we develop to support other groups. Grids are not only for physicists."

The first Grid Application School of Eumedgrid Project , April 2007, Cairo.
Image courtesy of Paola Celio

Bringing people together

In addition to the physics experiments ARGO-YBJ -which analyzes cosmic rays-and ATLAS-one of the LHC experiments-Paola is also involved in several other grid projects, in particular EUChinaGRID and EUMedGRID .

"Collaboration in these projects is an exciting experience," she says. "We work with many new communities in the Mediterranean area, and there is just so much enthusiasm in these new groups. They are keen to work with this new field. Seeing this enthusiasm from others also motivates me for my own work."

Celio says that grids bring people together from many different cultures, crossing boundaries and spanning continents.

"Recently I spent 15 days in Cairo, Egypt, for a school on applications," she says. "This kind of work really is more than science-it is a unique social experience, which makes it very satisfying."

Celio was also astonished by the number of women she met at this and other events.

"Countries such as Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia have more women in this field than in Italy! In this way they are more advanced than some of the so-called 'developed' countries."

- Hannelore Hämmerle, EGEE