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Buon compleanno, Professore!*)

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Prof B.Scrosati (pic is taken from dl/interface/spr/spr04/IF3-04-Pages18-21.pdf)

Do you use a mobile phone or a laptop? If yes, please check what kind of battery that you use. I believe most of them use lithium ion battery as a power supply. Then may be you are interested in one of the man behind this technology. He is one of my favorite professors during my master period.  He is Professor Bruno Scrosati. And this is my experience being one of his students in a very short period.  

I was one of the lucky guys who was accepted as a master student titled Materials for Energy Storage and Conversion. The master courses were taught by many professors from some universities in Europe who have close colaboration under European Research Network of Excellence known as ALISTORE. Prof. Scrosati is one of the professors (totally 6 profeessors from 6 universities in 4 european countries) who accepted my application.

As it is implied in its name, the master course is focused on the researches in the field of energy related materials, more specifically lithium ion battery, fuel cell, supercapacitor and sollar cell. However out of these three subjects, lithium ion battery even getting more portion than others. Thanks to this master program, I had opportunities to feel, to see, to experience, to breathe the culture of France, Italy and Poland. Of course, I could not forget the Spanish atmosphere that 3 Spanish professors brought to Poland to give us lectures in some issues.

I met Prof. Scrosati for the first time in the fall season 2005 at Toulouse. At that time there was a seminar on energy related issue or whatsoever that I didn’t remember exactly the name of the occasion. I was too shy to speak with him and to be honest, at that time I didn’t realize that he is one of the main man in the lithium (Li) ion battery research. Later on I knew that he has patent on this issue.  His patent was followed by the first comercialization of Li ion battery by Sony Corporation at early 90’s. As far as I remembered, it was him who started conversation

 Hey, I remember you from the application you sent for this master

I was so happy that he remembered me, the girl from the country which was more known for the tsunamies or bomb explossions.

Our second meeting took place at his office at Department of  Chemistry Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza” . It was 1st February 2006. We (I and 5 other students) just arrived at Termini Train Station after overnight journey from Marseille then we went directly to his office (it is about 20 minutes walking). We were really tired and no time to take a bath before meeting with him. While waiting until he came, we went to the university’s cafetaria for nice breakfast of cappucino and croissant.

I don’t remember what was exactly the meeting about. I just remembered that he took responsibility of the flat for 8 students in Rome. Yes, as accomodation in Rome was terribly expensive and difficult to find, we (8 non italian students) would stay  in 3 rooms apartment with one kitchen and one bathroom.  He tooks us to our new appartment which only 5 minutes walk to Vatican.

In the way to the appartment, he carried my biggest luggage. I thought he was sorry that I as a smallest student in the class carried so many things. Our first conversation at Rome was: “Are you from Malaysia?” I replied politely, “No professor, I am from Indonesia.”

I like him since first sight in Toulouse. He somehow fulfilled my imagination about father figure (My father died when I was almost 8 years old). I like him so much that I had no brave to start conversation with him. During the period I was in Rome (1st Feb to 31st May 2006), I just wanted to run away from him every time we met by accident because I didn’t know how to communicate with him.

I have feeling that he has some affection to me more than to other students.  He really liked to make fun about me, about Indonesia (in a positive and friendship atmosphere). Sometimes, he started the lecture by greeting me , “Susanna (in Italian style, ‘susana, my real name  with one ‘n’’ is pronounced with double ‘n’), Indonesia is sinking (remember, many tsunamies, earth quake in Indonesia).” Or in another time, he said “Susanna, you responsible for extinction of Sumatra tigers. As a response, usually I was only smile to his comments. When he said this to me, “Susana, your country is responsible for tropical deforestation”; I replied him, “Yes, professor but don’t forget that some of the wood goes to European market”. 🙂 Sorry for my answer professor! I know in any case deforestation is not a good thing, it destroys the natural balance.

air dan bensin 2

Caricature about fuel cell

He taught the  first and secondary lithium ion battery as well as  fuel cell. Usually, the lectures was 2 housr per day for several weeks before laboratory work, report and discussions. Thanks to Piotr, one of my class mates, all of us (the master students) have the recording of his lectures so that we can always hear his English-Italian voice anytime we want. It was really usefull to repeat the lectures by listening his lectures one more time using headphone connected to  our laptop before monthly examination (it was the typical situation at the end of the month in our apartment). 

 Besides is one of  his slide during the fuel cell lectures. He took it from somewhere else. I don’t remember well, but seems he took it from Italian newspaper. Free translation of this caricature is as follows : One day the machine will be run by water. And the water price will be much more expensive than the price of gasoline.  Well… water is one of the source to produce hidrogen as a fuel in the fuel cell.  I could say, the Rome period was one of the most enjoyable master period. Moreover, since I like writing so much, I got good mark on the report. Twice, my reports got the highest marks. 🙂

In Italy, to receive the scholarship, I had to have codice fiscale, Italian tax number. As I am Indonesian, I need Italian visa to apply for codice fiscale. And no..I had no Italian visa before entering this lovely country. I supposed that my one year French stay permit would be enough to live in Italy as a part of Schengen countries. At the end, after visiting 3 different tax offices in Rome, visiting a police office two times, getting 3 months Italian stay permit and some phone call from Prof. Scrosati, I managed to get codice fiscale. In this period, I felt that life was not fair for me. Why did I have so much problems with administrative stuffs meanwhile my other friends not? In this difficult time to get Italian visa in Rome, Prof. Scrosati made a joke, “Susanna, you will be deported then”. Hopelessly, I replied, “Well, I will be happy to come back to my country, professor”. Silently I said to my self, “Well, if Europe doesn’t like me, I will not insist myself to be accepted.”

I left Italy at 31st May 2006. At that time, everything seemed to be O.K. I got quite good marks in Rome. But I heard that Prof. Scrosati was disappointed that some students (including me) could not attend farewell pizza party at 1st June 2006 without prior notice. I am sorry professor!

Another problem came to the surface regarding the apartment for 8 students (except students from Rome) after we left Rome. He, as a favor to his students, gave some amount of money to the owner as deposit using his own money. The landlord claimed that the students made such a mess in the apartment and just took the deposit to repair the apartment without any room for discussion with the students.

I have no intention to make more detail or write down the discussion between the students about the problem because I think it is not necessary anymore. Now, when I recall that memory, I personally can only comments, “No matter what happened between the land lord and the students as tenants, no matter we did not agree with land lord’s claims, it was not in its place that Prof. Scrosati took responsibility of it.”

At that graduation dinner, Professor, you said this to me, “Susanna, it is over. Let’s move forward”. Yes, you said that to me….!!! But professor, I can not forget unspoken language in your eyes. In your eyes that night, professor, I saw how disappointed you were. How hurt you were. Your eyes spoke deeper than your speech. I am so sorry about what happened until now. Wish I could recall the time….

I don’t know what to do to repair the relationship  but allow me, to wish you Happy Birthday. Buon compleanno, Professore!  

Karlsruhe, 25 August 2009

*) On his birthday at 5th August 2009.


Written by darmadewi

August 25, 2009 at 7:44 pm