Orsola De Marco

Brief History

I was born in Verona, Italy on the 24th of October 1971. I lived the first 5 years of my life in Padova with my mother (a law student), my father a well affirmed barrister, 17 years her senior, my grandma and a long string of nannies.
At the age of 5 I moved to Bologna with my mother following the separation of my parents. There, we started living with Giancarlo, my mum's new boyfriend, in a small flat. During the 10 years that followed, my mum managed to finish her degree, completed a second one (in fine arts) and started a third (in philosophy, which remains near completion to this day); she then became an arts critic for a magazine, a fashion designer and an antique dealer (in this order).
Giancarlo, with his degree in Physics, worked as a computer programmer in a company he ran with a university friend, until he decided to take up the antique dealer's career with my mother. My relationship with him grew deeper to the point that even my dad became very fond of him.
We changed an uncountable number of houses (I must admit it, always for the better), and I changed an equally uncountable number of schools. At the age of 14, when all Italian kids go to 'high school' I chose the most scientific of the options and went to the 'Liceo Scientifico' Augusto Righi in Bologna, the most rigorous and traditional school in town.
For 3 long years I spent my time working under my potential, taught by teacher who had no trust in my skills (all but the maths teacher, who always believed in me, even when I did very badly in my tests, thanks Proffessoressa Serotti!), until at the apex of crisis (in an attempt to escape) I applied to go to the United World College of the Adriatic, an international School based exclusively on scholarships. To the amazement of my class I passed both regional and national selections at the end of August 1988 (at the age of 16) I went to the place where I would spend the best (or near best) 2 years of my life.
In 1990 I graduated (I sat the International Baccalaureate in Physics, Philosophy, Maths, Biology, Italian and English) and left the College. I then started Astronomy at the University of Bologna, but, once again, was defeated by arrogance and burocracy. I therefore opted for the anglo-saxon way of knowledge once and for all and in September 1991 (after 3 months spent as a sailing instructor in Scotland) I started my degree in Astrophysics at University College London, London, UK.
I graduated from it in 1994 and in the same year I stated my PhD, under the supervision of Mike Barlow and Pete Storey. I finished my PhD in 1997 and, tired of London, I moved to Zuerich with my husband Nic, whom I had a-religiously married in 1995.
After a brief return to London, a new escape. This time to New York City, a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful nest of 8 million neurotic people, where I worked at the American Museum of Natural History, still meddeling in stellar affairs.
Ten years and 2 kids later, in a very unexpected turn of events, we moved to Sydney, Australia, where I got a position at Macquarie University's Department of Physics and Astronomy, in early 2009. Almost two years later we are settled and happy in this southern paradise.

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Last Update: 14 October 2010