ISSP UL’s Katrīna Laganovska shares her research journey and winning the prestigious L’Oréal-UNESCO “For Women in Science” young talent award

Ph.D Katrīna Laganovska, a researcher from ISSP UL’s Laboratory of Optical Materials, was featured on the Latvian National Radio Channel 2 program "Future Stop" (Nākotnes pietura) on April 11.

A few years back, Latvia received uplifting news: it boasts the highest number of female inventors in Europe. The European Patent Office announced this revelation, highlighting Latvia’s 30.6% proportion of female inventors compared to Europe’s 13.2% average from 2010 to 2021.

In support of women in scientific research, the L’Oréal and UNESCO program "For Women in Science" has been operating for 25 years. Dr. Katrina Laganovska was one of last year’s prestigious young talent award winners. The award facilitated her project on studying optical properties and defects in ferroelectric metal oxides, enabling further exploration of materials for the next generation of computers. Her doctoral dissertation primarily focused on hafnium dioxide, a promising electronic material known for its high dielectric constant, wide band gap, chemical stability, and compatibility with silicon dioxide components. Despite its potential, hafnium dioxide’s usage is hindered by its intrinsic defects.

Within her research team, Dr. Laganovska contributed to the development of a novel method for creating a phosphorescent strontium aluminate coating on aluminum. This innovation holds practical applications in producing durable and energy-efficient emergency signs, road signs, advertisements, and more. Recognized as a scientific breakthrough, this study was among the most significant achievements in Latvian science in 2018.

Dr. Laganovska’s passion for precision dates back to her childhood. During her tenure at the Faculty of Physics, Mathematics, and Optometry of the University of Latvia, she was an integral part of the esteemed "physmats" community (referred to as "fizmati" in Latvian, a term denoting students of the faculty mentioned above). She actively contributed to organizing "physmat" days, a comprehensive series of events encompassing various activities. These events ranged from scholarly pursuits such as scientific conferences and Science Cafes to recreational activities like Sports Day and Games Night. Additionally, traditional festivities such as processions and sing-alongs, steeped in years of tradition, were also part of the agenda. Other engaging activities included participation in cleanup initiatives, personality evenings, and movie nights, which culminated in a serene rowboat trip on a river.

"Future Stop" (Nākotnes pietura) showcases radio profiles of scientists engaging in discussions about their work, research subjects, objectives, and accomplishments. Additionally, the program delves into Latvia’s current state of affairs and the role of science or its affiliated fields. Moreover, researchers share insights into their lives beyond work, including other professions, hobbies, and personal fulfillment.

The full recording of the program in Latvian

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ISSP UL young researcher receives prestigious L`Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science award