Published 16 July 2015 by Harini Barath

Five Questions to a Nobel Laureate: Martinus Veltman



How much sleep do you get and how does it affect your work?

I try to sleep never less than 8 hours a day. If I sleep less than that, I am not effective.


Are you addicted to anything? Science can’t be the answer.

Am I addicted? No. I’m not addicted to anything. Except maybe to eating. I eat every day.


What’s your idea of the perfect holiday?

Well you see my idea of a perfect holiday is something that changes from time to time. When I was thirty my idea was different from today. But I would say that the perfect holiday for me right now, well, is staying home. Well a little bit ago I think I would have liked to hang around in a beach.


Where do your best ideas come from?

Well, that is difficult to say. You will not get ideas if you’re just in the middle of nowhere. It is only when you work that you create the questions. It is a difficult process. It requires you to work and to think all the time. You have to stay busy.


What is the one advice you would give to young scientists?

Do only that what you like most. If you work on something that you don’t like, then you will not do well.

Harini Barath

Harini Barath has a background in physics. Her research work uses spectroscopic techniques, including Raman and neutron scattering, to reveal the structure and behavior of materials under extreme physical conditions. More recently, she has developed an active interest in communicating the excitement of science to a larger audience. Through science writing, she contributes to science research and education in ways that reach further than the laboratory.