February 28, 2021

Canarian talent on the mathematical cusp

Tenerife mathematics Jezabel Curbelo.

Tenerife mathematics Jezabel Curbelo.

The Tenerife researcher Jezabel Curbelo has been distinguished with the L’Oréal-Unesco For Women In Science award. Thanks to this distinction, the study of this mathematics, originally from Los Realejos, has received a financial award of 15,000 euros.

Jezabel curbelo she wanted to be a teacher, as her grandmother and parents had been. But from a very young age the numbers crossed in her life and they have never abandoned her. This Tenerife mathematician has just been recognized with one of the five awards of the L’Oréal-Unesco For Women in Science Program in Spain, which have for objective to make women visible in science and promote scientific vocations among the youngest. On the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which was celebrated on the 11th, the motto of For Women in Science Common crawl en The world needs science, science needs women, a slogan that cannot be more in line with the attitude of Curbelo, who has been recognized by an investigation that tries to “explain the physical phenomena of the planet”. The contribution from Tenerife aims to offer a “better understanding of the movement of fluids through the equations that model them and the geometric structures in them.”

The A young woman from Tenerife has a degree in Mathematics by University of La Laguna (ULL) and a master’s and doctorate in Mathematics at the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM). Her doctoral thesis on instabilities in geophysical flows in convection was awarded internationally with the Donald L. Turcotte Award from the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and is, so far, the only Spanish recognized with this award. Since last July he has been working at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) with a Ramón y Cajal contract.

In this way, Curbelo’s career is characterized by constant training because, as he assures, “in research you have to study all the time” and he sums up that “one of the good things about this profession is that you get paid to learn ”. Thus, when he was in his last year of his degree, he began to be interested in this sector and took an introductory scholarship to research spending a summer in Madrid, where he met who would later become the director of his thesis.

The research that focuses his work at the UPC is precisely the one that has earned him recognition from the L’Oréal-Unesco Program and with which he He has earned 15,000 euros which will now allow him to continue his work. The study of the movement of fluids arose from the doctoral thesis that Curbelo carried out under the direction of Ana Mancho at ICMAT. “We started working on a convection problem that could be applied to the earth’s mantle and that tries to explain how fluids move, a very important aspect in the interior of the earth”, relates the Tenerife mathematician who, based on that aspect, has continued investigating through different collaborations. Little by little it has moved away from the more theoretical part and has moved towards the applications of the elements investigated. “We are developing the mathematical tools behind this topic so there will always be something new to study,” explains the Canarian, who does not see an end close to this work that she is so passionate about.

The arrival of the L’Oréal-Unesco prize not only recognizes the work of Curbelo but also the work of the UPC. The young woman therefore emphasizes that it is not an individual award since she has many collaborators from other disciplines, such as physicists, oceanographers or geophysicists. “Collaborative work is very important in science,” says the woman from Tenerife who explains that she has always found the approach of these awards very interesting, so in this last edition she asked the university where she works to present her research in this call. where the motto was so special to her. “I very much agree with the way of thinking of this program, which defends the importance of making the role of women visible in science,” explains Curbelo. It is precisely this recognition that now encourages her to continue working with even more enthusiasm. The Canarian scientist also highlights the importance of the cash prize, which will allow her to buy new materials, attend conferences and invite professionals to participate in her research and continue training.

New generations

Jezabel Curbelo takes advantage of the possibility of receiving this award to encourage girls to dedicate themselves to science. “When many of them opt for other branches when starting to study at the university we are losing many opportunities ”, reflects the Tenerife mathematics who insists on “encouraging girls since they are in school.”

Curbelo thus highlights the work carried out by the four fellow scientists who have also received their award this year. “Unfortunately, with the current situation we live in, I have only been able to contact them through the internet”, but he adds that they have already developed a relationship between them that perhaps, in the future, will lead to a joint investigation. “It is a shame that we cannot meet physically, but we are in contact and it is important to have partners in different fields,” he says.

The Tenerife company also defends the quality of the Canarian public universities and highlights the importance of the Islands having the Canary Islands Institute of Astrophysics and the Canary Islands Oceanographic Center of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography, two reference spaces for science. “In the Canary Islands, quality research is done, I am proud to have studied Mathematics at the University of La Laguna” says Jezabel Curbelo.


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