Born in Frascati, a beautiful town near Rome, Riccardo Quaranta is the adjunct professor for the Environmental Science and Explorations in Physics classes. A relative newcomer, Professor Quaranta has been with AUR since 2019.
Riccardo graduated in Environmental Engineering from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, where he is currently a research fellow. His main field of research is the protection of human health and the environment against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear events.
While studying, he spent a semester at the Tampere University of Technology in Finland and has traveled extensively since then gaining international experience through several years working in Australia and Thailand, where he first began his teaching career. On returning to Italy, Professor Quaranta continued his teaching and research activities full time.
Q. When were you happiest?
I’m really happy every time I am on my way to explore a new place. However, I was really happy when I was living in Thailand as it felt like every day was a new discovery for me.
Q. What is your computer and/or phone wallpaper?
It used to be an image of my beloved city of Bangkok, but it is now a tropical beach as I’m looking forward to my next trip to some exotic destination.
On my phone, I always keep the original picture. Maybe it’s time for an update!
Q. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I have changed plans so many times in my life. I started by wanting to follow in my father’s footsteps and become a firefighter, but I realized I wasn’t brave enough. Later on, I decided that I would be an archaeologist but after a while, I decided better a paleontologist (as I grew more and more obsessed with dinosaurs). Eventually, I also gave up that idea and went for applied science and finally engineering, which lead me to research and teaching.
Q. What is the worst job you've ever done?
At the beginning of my adventure in Melbourne, Australia, I was a landscaper for some time. It was a very hard job and, together with the brutal heat of the Australian summer and the crazy ideas of my boss, I didn’t last very long.
Q. If you weren’t a researcher and a professor, what would you be?
I would have probably ended up being a boring engineer.
Q. Which word or phrase do you most overuse?
“No, try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.”, while imitating Yoda’s voice.
Q. What is the most important lesson that life has taught you?
Do not live under a bell. Go out, explore, the world and its people are beautiful, and they have a lot to teach if you are willing to learn..
Q. How do you relax?
When I can, I travel. I read, I watch movies and yes, being a nerd, I also play videogames. Anyway, I am never more relaxed than when I am breathing bottled pressurized air through a sophisticated device while immersed several feet under a huge mass of cold water. In short, when I scuba dive.
Q. What trait do you most dislike in yourself?
Impatience. When I want to do something, I really can’t wait for it even when I know it would be better to wait.
Q. What trait do you most dislike in others?
Being close-minded. There is so much to learn outside your backyard.
Q. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Durian, the tropical fruit that tastes like heaven and smells like dirty socks. I can’t resist a (lot more than) a bite when I get my hands on it.
Q. Tell us a secret
I count the UNESCO World Heritage sites that I visit in my travels and I even have a blog about it. But I don’t consider myself a good writer and I don’t update it often, so I keep it secret!