Meet Ingrid Barcelos, winner of the “For Women in Science” award

- 27/10/2021

Despite the contributions to the scientific development of society, women still do not have the due recognition for historical and essential discoveries for the world today. The best known works are still by male scientists. Within this context, it can be considered that being a scientist and a woman is a double job. In addition to the search for knowledge and innovation, there is also an effort to enhance value and space.

The path has its drawbacks, but today there are initiatives with the objective of promoting gender equity in the scientific environment. This is the case of “For Women in Science”, a program by L’oreal Brasil in partnership with UNESCO in Brazil and the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (ABC), which recognizes and encourages female participation in Brazilian science.

Born and raised in Belo Horizonte (MG), 35-year-old Ingrid Barcelos is one of the notable women awarded in the program. At the National Center for Research in Energy and Materials (CNPEM), located in Campinas (SP), the researcher won recognition in the Physical Sciences category for her research on the potential of soapstone.

Ingrid's research is centered on nanophotonics, which studies how light behaves inside materials with very small structure. One of the possible applications of the research is the search for new devices capable of interacting with light radiation and matter - light and electricity - on a nanometric scale. This knowledge opens up possibilities for the development of new technologies in order to improve the efficiency of devices such as computers and cell phones. “The idea is that this light chip will increase speed and reduce electricity consumption”, explains the physicist.

The discovery of the use of soapstone reduces the costs of carrying out the studies, since one of the difficulties in carrying out research in nanophotonics is the price of the materials. “The work with soapstone started at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG). Several groups decided to explore the properties of this new material according to their areas of research, including me. Soapstone has already demonstrated properties with the potential to be used as a very low cost insulator when compared to other materials intended for similar applications”, she says.

About winning the award, Ingrid highlights that this is a watershed in her career. “This recognition will help to open doors and increase visibility. It is a support for participation in events, professional training and dissemination of science. I hope that this award can inspire other young researchers to continue fighting for their dreams, with dedication and work”, she says.

She also emphasizes that gender inequality is a weighty issue in the careers of women scientists, but she is optimistic about participating in initiatives such as “For Women in Science”. “The situation of women in academia is still a complex issue. Conquering space in the academic world is not easy, as it makes up a daily struggle to be heard and valued. An award like this is very important to give visibility to the professional trajectory of young researchers”, she concludes