“I think the common motive for all engineering applications is to make people’s lives easier, and to secure a better and safer future for all of us here on Earth.”
Pioneer scholar Christos, from Athens, Greece, spent his young childhood with his head in the stars, wanting to be an astronaut and explore the universe. Now that he is studying engineering at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, Christos has his feet firmly planted on the ground. “There are so many things to do here on earth that would be very interesting, very helpful,” he says. His Pioneer Research Program in a sense joined his interests in the heavens and the earth. As his research topic for his research concentration in Time Series, Christos correlated solar radiation with weather patterns on earth.
“My main interest is the intersection of the natural sciences,” says Christos, who began to develop this interest when he was about eight years old. His older siblings were “in the final classes of high school,” so “I had this exposure to what it means to be a student and what it means to study a certain field.” He started his endeavor to learn more by reading children’s encyclopedias. When he reached high school, “I was sure about my expanded interest in the natural sciences.” By the time he found Pioneer online and applied for his Pioneer Research Program, Christos knew that he was interested in the intersection of math, physics and engineering. He likes the way that all sciences are based on math, and that it’s possible to “use only mathematical ideas to describe the world.”
Christos says that living in Greece, the country where Western knowledge had its origin, “is definitely a source of inspiration.” It’s particularly inspirational, he says, that “Aristotle, Plato and all of these other philosophers and great scientists used the same words that we use today.” Studying in a Greek university whose architecture reflects ancient Greek buildings “is a reminder that there is a continuity in our scientific evolution.”
Christos found his Pioneer experience greatly expanded his understanding of research. “Pioneer makes you love research,” he says. He enjoyed the collaborative effort of working with his cohort of peers and his professor. He talks about how interesting it is that a project begins with only an idea, but no sense of how it will end, and how fulfilling it is to go through the process of creating, analyzing, and then reporting on the data.
Christos says his goal as an engineering student is “to create more practical, more applicable, more economically and more environmentally friendly solutions and that can be applied to many applications of modern technology.” He is also exploring possibilities in biomedical engineering. “You can use electrical engineering to create, for example, equipment that can be very helpful to people who experience a certain health issue.
When his Pioneer program was completed, Christos had a “nostalgic feeling” about its ending, but quickly learned that Pioneer could still be part of his life. He appreciates the many Pioneer alumni activities, and hopes to help the organization become better known in Greece.