Raffaella Mulas, who successfully finished her PhD studies at our institute recently, has been honored in her home of Sardinia with a special award. In 2020 she was declared “Donna di Scienza giovani”. Raffaella dedicates this award to her PhD supervisor Prof. Jürgen Jost and to her Master's thesis supervisor Prof. Ngoc Mai Tran who are “the best guides and sources of inspiration I could wish for during my studies.”
The prize has been presented virtually during the science festival FestivalScienza in Cagliari, Sardinia. It honors her scientific achievements and her career that have contributed to give Sardinia prestige and advancement in the scientific field.
Raffaella Mulas obtained her PhD at our institute with a thesis on spectral theory of graphs and hypergraphs. She is now working as a postdoctoral research fellow between the Alan Turing Institute of London and the group of Ben MacArthur at the University of Southampton.
Her research focuses on the mathematical study of networks, which is carried out with the motivation to offer valid models and tools for the study of real networks. While for her Master's thesis at the University of Bonn she worked on neural networks, during her PhD she focused her research on the study of the normalized Laplace operator. Her contribution in this area was on the one hand to discover new properties of the Laplacian for graphs, and on the other hand to generalize this powerful tool to the case of hypergraphs and, even more generally, to the case of chemical hypergraphs: hypergraphs with an additional structure that allows to distinguish also inputs, outputs and catalysts within a chemical reaction. She published many maths and physics papers on this topic.
The Sardinian “Associazione ScienzaSocietàScienza” (ScienceSocietyScience Association) promotes activities aimed at spreading scientific culture and considers the relationship between women and science one of the important issues to be pursued. They point to the fact that “gender equality, despite the goals achieved in recent years at local, national and international level, even within the scientific community, remains strongly conditioned by stereotypes and women continue to be marginalized in research, scientific publications, and various other fields.” In this context, the Association announced for the year 2020 the second edition of the “Donna di Scienza” (Women of Science) Award in Sardinia.