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When they were kids, science books were read to them so they could take a nap

When they were kids, science books were read to them so they could take a nap

On Engineer’s Day, the story of two brothers who work at CNEA


They are brothers.

One is thirty-three years old.

The other, thirty-one.

But Emmanuel and Nicholas share a lot more than the nickname (who, in all of this, is Jimenez).

Both were received in the same race, which, in and of itself, appears to be another piece of information.

Now, when you factor in that this profession is the work of a nuclear engineer, things change a lot.

It is not uncommon to have a nuclear engineer in a family, for example, the small amount received annually at the Balseiro Institute. Therefore, having two is a fact that evaded the statistic.

Next week it will be ten years since Emmanuel received his diploma.


Remember it was “on June 24, 2011, shortly after the volcano erupted.”

“I won’t forget anymore,” he says.

At the time, volcanic ash destroyed much of the festivities, with relatives and authorities unable to reach the city.

But the issue here, more so than the Puyehu eruption – which is clearly a problem, but not to deal with this time – is the serendipitousness of the race selection.

“We have always loved science,” says Emmanuel, the older brother, and states that the critical factor is maternal influence.

Now, the reason why a mother matters is not what you can imagine.

Emmanuel and Nicholas were born in Cipolite.

When they were young, the family moved to Santiago del Estero, due to the father’s work problems.

In that place, where the heat leads to obligatory naps, the brothers did not want to know anything about sleeping in the afternoon.

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There the mother used her ingenuity.

He was thinking of reading something to them, but obviously the story at that time would not bring sleep, but could instead awaken and wake the children’s attention, so he chose other kinds of books.

An aunt, who was a teacher, gave them encyclopedias called Tecnirama, to use when they had to do their homework.

Evidently, browsing through science manuals aloud to them, the boys fell asleep. The goal was achieved.

What the mother could not have imagined was that as much as the children did not understand much of these readings, they retained something.

“This is how our approach to science began,” Emmanuel points out.

“For example, talk to us about inertia (which is the property of the bodies to maintain a state of rest or motion if it is not by force), and we joke about that and we read them again,” he says.

“At school, we had a great facility for the exact sciences, like math, so since we were young, we knew we were going that way,” he adds.

He reveals that the mother also had to do choosing Balseiro as a place to continue learning, as she was telling them about this institute when the subject of the profession arose.

“I really liked the nuclear engineering file, because it is not only related to applied sciences, but also has a very important technological role,” Emmanuel details.


Meanwhile, Nicholas laughingly recalls that in his case, something had happened in high school that made him view nuclear energy positively: “They told us that through nuclear reactions you can turn mercury into gold.” Comments.

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“The old dream of the alchemist,” Emmanuel said to him, to which Nicholas adds: “At that moment, I thought: ‘I want to be one of these men.

“The physical process they described to us was great for sparking the boy’s imagination,” he says.

“That was when I decided on nuclear power,” says Nicholas, who hasn’t finally turned mercury into gold, since his research moved him elsewhere, though he met several engineers who did.

In so far as they agreed on the choice of profession, they were not resolved together, but came to the same conclusion, but each analyzed it for his part.

At one point they wrote an email to Balseiro, without thinking that they would answer it, but the answer came, with a clear explanation about the jobs they could pursue for two years, and then take the rigorous entry course you have to go through to be in the entity, Hence the study of the remaining three years.

At that time, they had long returned to Cipolletti, and in the local library they found a book called The Student Guide.

They saw the study plans for all occupations, and among those who could later continue their studies at Bariloche, leaned toward mechanical engineering, because they noted it was “more mathematics and physics”, it is reported.

So they attended Comaho University in Neuquen for two years, and then first Emmanuel, and later Nicholas, arrived at Balesero to become nuclear engineers.

Both currently work for the National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA), and are part of the Carem 25 project, the first nuclear power reactor designed and built entirely in Argentina.

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