Interviews with SBPMat’s former presidents: Fernando Lázaro Freire Junior (2006-2007 and 2008-2009).

An active participant of the creation process of SBPMat and member of its founding board, Fernando Lázaro Freire Junior was elected the president of our society for two consecutive terms, chairing SBPMat’s board from 2006 to 2007, and from 2008 to 2009. During the whole time, Professor Fernando Lázaro counted with Professor Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Júnior as managing director. The financial office was held by Glória Dulce de Almeira Soares in the first tenure, then by Sérgio de Souza Camargo Júnior in the second one. Aldo Felix Craievich and Paulo Fernando Papaleo Fichtner were the scientific directors for both terms, being joined in the latter by Antonio Eduardo Martinelli and Margareth Spangler Andrade.

It can be said that Professor Fernando Lázaro is a physicist from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio), as it was there that he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Physics, in 1978, his Master’s in 1981 and Doctorate in 1985. In 1979, he started teaching in the same university and, in 2012, became a Full Professor. He was the Director of PUC-Rio’s Physics Department from 2003 to 2008. In Europhysics Letters (a journal from the European Physical Society), Professor Lázaro worked as coeditor between 2006 and 2010, and advisory editor from 2010 to 2013. In the Research Foundation of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ), he was the coordinator of the Physics and Astronomy field, from 2008 to 2012, and currently is a member of the Higher Board.

Since 2011, Professor Fernando Lázaro is the director of the Brazilian Center for Research in Physics (CBPF). In December 2013 he was elected full member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences (ABC). Author of over 170 scientific articles, with more than 2.500 citations, he is a Level 1A researcher in the Brazilian National Research Foundation, CNPq.

Which follows is an interview with this SBPMat’s former president on his two terms:

 1.  List the main actions performed during your terms as SBPMat’s president.

 In addition to organizing the annual meetings, which had an ever increasing audience in that time, we held the International Conference on Advanced Materials (ICAM) in Rio de Janeiro, structured the SBPMat office, as well as established the cooperation with the sister institutions MRS and E-MRS, the American and European Materials societies, but also with the International Union of Materials Research Society (IUMRS), when SBPMat attended the Second World Materials Summit on Advanced Materials in Energy Applications and Sustainable Society Development, in Lisbon. From a financial perspective, the coffer of the society had funds when we leave. By the way, such practice started in the administration of Professor Longo, leaving the presidency free of financial or labor problems for the next one, and it has still been followed in the administrations that succeed mine.

2. List the main difficulties faced during your terms as SBPMat’s president.

Initially, there was the lack of an administrative structure in the society, which, up to that point, depended entirely on the work of its directors and of the researchers organizing the annual meetings. I had more luck than the previous administration, and with the funds available, we could hire a secretary and interns to run the society. Later, we hired a second secretary and the management became more professional. Another issue was organizing the ICAM. An events agency was hired, but it could not deliver, which caused a great stress, due to the hardship to organize an international meeting with more than 1600 researchers.

3. What could have been done, but was still pending?

Take the Society closer to its members. This was very poorly attempted with SBPMAt’s electronic panel, which used to spread news of the interest of its associates. Nowadays, our newsletter is orders of magnitude better. Such process requires time; we can’t compare a society like ours, with little more than 10 years, to others, holding over 40, 50 years of existence. It was still lacking a major interaction with the productive sector, which is still far from occurring in a level that truly represents the importance held by the Materials research in several fields of our economy.

4. What would you highlight about the SBPMat meetings that were organized and held in your administration?

First, there was the increasing participation of students and researchers, proving that the SBPMat’s Annual Meeting came to fill a gap in the Brazilian scenario. In addition to that, there is the itinerant nature of the meeting. In those four years, we held meetings in Natal and Florianópolis, as well as Rio de Janeiro and Guarujá. As the meeting counts with the substantial attendance of foreign researchers, this aspect is important as it brings the possibility of gaining access to scientific events to new students in all regions of the country. Another important point is the good scientific level of the contributions which have been presented and the interdisciplinary nature of the symposia, making the SBPMat Annual Meeting the most important event in the field of Materials, in Brazil.

5. Would you like to leave a message to our readers, concerning the election process of our SBPMat?

The participation rate is still very low, and I think the effective involvement of its associates is crucial to strengthen SBPMat. The current board and its council represent an important renewal when compared to previous ones, and that is good, it is good for the younger people to take part in the society, its decisions and management.