María Teresa Dova reflects on an early career leap into the unknown and how it opened doors, both for her and her collaborators.

María Teresa Dova describes how an early career move to CERN as the first Latin American scientist to join Europe’s organisation for nuclear research ultimately benefited both her but also the researchers she now works with back home in Argentina.

The move to Geneva, Switzerland, where CERN is based, required Dova to pivot from condensed matter physics, the subject of her PhD at the University of La Plata, Argentina, which she gained in 1988.

But any misgivings about the move to Europe and switching to a new field were quickly banished by her excitement at working on the L3 Large Electron Positron Collider project, she tells Julie Gould.

Dova returned to Argentina two-and-a-half years later, launching the experimental high energy group at La Plata and driving other important collaborations, including the inclusion of Argentina in CERN’s ATLAS particle detector collaboration. She describes how it happened.