Maria Baias

Maria Baias

Maria in Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
Exploring Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Hi!! Welcome to my virtual home and the home of Wonders of Heritage! I’m Maria Baias, and my friends call me Neta. I’m a scientist and a science fiction author. I love our planet, and our cultural heritage left to us by previous generations. Through my novels, my blog, and my YouTube channel, I want to share with you details about our world heritage – tangible and intangible – and how we can contribute to the successful preservation of our history.

My background is in Physics, with a Ph.D. in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), and I am currently an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at New York University Abu Dhabi. Here, part of my research is focused on using scientific methods to analyze precious objects of cultural heritage to help with their future preservation. Related to this topic, I teach a course called “Conserving Our Global Heritage through Science” and I hope that through the stories I’ll share with you in this blog, you too will gain an appreciation for the conservation of our World Heritage.

How did I get here? It was a very long and fun journey through many different countries. Originally from Romania, I did my undergrad there, studying Medical Physics, followed by a Master in Biophysics and Medical Physics. I did my Ph.D. in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance at the Institute of Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry at RWTH-Aachen University in Germany. That’s where I first got acquainted with the field of Cultural Heritage, thanks to my Ph.D. advisor, Prof. Bernhard Bluemich. There, one of my projects was in this area of cultural heritage research, and more specifically, to investigate ancient mummies and bones to assess their state of conservation.

Following my Ph.D., I went on to do three postdocs: the first one in computational crystal structure prediction at University College London, the second one in developing NMR crystallography at ENS Lyon in France, and the third one in protein NMR at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, where I was researching the huntingtin protein, which is responsible for the Huntington’s disease.

After my postdoc in Israel, I moved to NYU Abu Dhabi, where my research has two main directions: NMR in high magnetic fields (NMR crystallography) and NMR in low magnetic fields (NMR for cultural heritage).

My background is not only in NMR but also in non-verbal communication, having obtained my certificate from Science of People. As a certified body language trainer, I’m specialized in decoding body language and teaching various aspects of non-verbal communication. I offer workshops and training into different aspects of body language, such as body language for improving presentation skills, for successful job interviews, negotiations, networking, and how to read the non-verbal cues of others.

My bio wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention my love for books. I love books, they are my most precious possession. I love to read, and more recently, I discovered I also love to write, and I’m currently writing a novel, a few minutes a day when I’m not doing science or teaching. Imagining new worlds is a great way to relax after a day of too much of the real world.

In my blog and in my YouTube channel, I share stories about various aspects of heritage – about sites and objects of cultural heritage and how scientists investigate them to help preserve our world heritage, but also about intangible heritage and our legacy for future generations. Most importantly, I will share my love for books – both reading and writing. I hope you enjoy the subjects and let me know which other related topics you would like to read about.

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