«In Mexico, the scientific culture is very small and we have to educate people»

he feels proud to be a researcher; however, what he likes most about his work “is to educate. That’s the most important part.”

The specialist from the Materials Research Institute (IIM) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) said in an interview with La Jornada that the equipment in his laboratory “is for students and alumni to handle, to learn the techniques ”.

Regarding the important recognition that the Mexican government gave him in the field of Physical-Mathematical and Natural Sciences, he expressed that he feels very happy.

With the amount that they will give him for the prize, he continued, he will fix some of the devices he has and showed this newspaper his “small levitated train”: a model that integrates three rows of magnets with a very high magnetic field to which a superconducting material that, after being cooled with liquid nitrogen, remains suspended for a few seconds over the tracks.

The academic said with emotion: “I have seen this for 50 years and I never get tired of it. It is not interesting? Is beautiful! It’s nice! I show them to the kids and they love it. Me too”.

Escudero Derat was blunt: “in Mexico the scientific culture is very small and we have to educate people. We are deficient in education. I am very strict with my students”.

The researcher announced that he will never retire, “that is clear. They can’t retire me because I’m emeritus. If I do, I die. No no. Have to work. Besides, I like my job a lot.”

The doctor in physics from the Canadian University of Waterloo, reported that he has a large library at home, although he hardly reads printed books. “I read them digital. I like art, ”he added, and showed the clipping of a fresco discovered in Pompeii, called Leda and the swan that he obtained from the pages of La Jornada. Also, he said, he has that painting in his house.

At the end of his degree and after passing several exams at Petróleos Mexicanos very well, he recalled that they did not want to give him a job because he was a physicist, “and the ones they hired were engineers”; finally they did and gave him a scholarship from the Mexican Institute of Petroleum. He worked at the parastatal for five years and then began working at UNAM, in areas such as holography and later in “low temperatures.” In 1980 he did his PhD in Canada, in superconductivity.

In a tour of the laboratories, the academic, convinced of the value of improving access to Mexican students, showed some of the devices that he has been collecting for decades.

Among them is a magnetometer (used to quantify in strength or direction some magnetic signal). It was the first to arrive in Latin America, Escudero said. The capacity of its superconducting coil is 5.5 tesla, that is, about 110,000 times the Earth’s magnetic field.

The 2022 National Science Award reiterated: “I do basic science because I like to educate students. I bring them to come, do experiments, and if they don’t do them well, I scold them.”