MEET GIULIANO MAGGI
R&D engineer at NERF
As our R&D engineer and IT security ambassador, not a week goes by without an email from Giuliano Maggi in our inbox--from updating us on the latest reboot or upgrade of our servers to sharing best practices or fixing our issues. Giuliano has been at NERF for only two years, but is one of those people where you wonder how we ever got by without him. About time we asked him about his experience as part of the NERF community.
Giuliano, what is your background and how did you arrive at NERF?
I am an experimental particle physicist and obtained my PhD in 2017 at VUB (Brussels). Afterward, I went to Marseille for my postdoc. During my PhD I worked in the IceCube experiment and during my postdoc in the KM3Net experiment. Both experiments aim to detect high-energy neutrinos emitted from astrophysical sources.
Working as a particle physicist, I gained essential data analysis skills and experience developing and maintaining extensive software.
After my postdoc in Marseille, I decided to come back to Belgium and applied for a job at NERF. I quickly realized this would be a challenging job with many opportunities for professional growth--the perfect fit. The skills I acquired during my time as a physicist definitely helped me a lot in my new role at NERF.
What does your average day look like?
The job comes with a combination of tasks, so there's never a dull day.
I work on projects that arise from reflections on how we can optimize the way we handle our data here at NERF. I'd say those are my R&D tasks, which I discuss with my supervisors before pursuing them. I also work on pre-defined objectives to cover the ICT necessities that NERF has prioritized each year.
I further administrate our central servers, both storage servers and computation servers, and last but not least, I support users of NERF's ICT resources. This means I regularly receive requests and, of course, do my best to address them promptly.
What do you like most about your job?
I've now been in this role for two years, and I can say without a doubt: I made the right decision to join NERF. What I like most is the variety the job offers. My tasks are not focused on only one specific topic, but a mix of hardware, software, liaising with third parties, research, and reporting.
How do you feel about being a part of the NERF community?
NERF is a great place to work; a real multicultural environment. I am used to working with colleagues from all kinds of different backgrounds, and it is nice to find this same diversity here at NERF.
The interaction with different scientists has always been fruitful, which for me means that the work is collaborative. For example, when a colleague needs a specific tool, I install or develop it, and they in turn provide me with feedback. This dialogue is really important to me and creates a truly collaborative and fair work environment.
When a colleague needs a specific tool, I install or develop it, and they in turn provide me with feedback. This dialogue is really important to me and creates a truly collaborative and fair work environment.
What should people at NERF know about you?
I love to travel and explore. With the recent lockdowns, this was often limited to walking around Ghent, the city where I live, but there is plenty to enjoy even close to home. Now that the measures have become more relaxed, these outings include culinary explorations as well. (I am a big fan of dark Belgian beers.)
Under normal circumstances, I travel each winter to Chile--where it's summertime--to visit my family. Or we travel to Greece, where family members of my partner live. In both cases, there are beautiful beaches, pristine nature and of course fabulous food.
On our last visits, my partner was very impressed with Chilean cakes. I, on the other hand, was pleasantly surprised by some of the Greek music on our trip. Well, I should say, the melodies, because I don't understand the lyrics. (laughs)