When Griffith University’s Professor Paulo de Souza stares into space, he has a different perspective than most people.
While completing his PhD, Professor de Souza contributed to the design, production, deployment and operation of a sensor that was used by NASA aboard two of its Mars rovers.
“I helped in the development and deployment of a small instrument that was selected by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) for their 2003 missions to Mars,” Professor de Souza, the new Head of Griffith’s School of Information and Communication Technology, said.
“ESA’s lander (Beagle 2) crashed on the surface at Christmas 2003. In January 2004, we landed two large rovers (Spirit and Opportunity) on Mars.
“Way beyond its warranty of three months, Spirit worked for six years and Opportunity until January 2019. The data we collected has helped us transform our understanding of the evolution of the Solar System and determined Mars was once habitable.
Professor de Souza joined Griffith in late 2019, having previously been the CSIRO’s Chief Executive Science Leader and Chief Research Scientist.
“The future of ICT is promising and challenging. This is the era of digital transformation and students of ICT will be in a position to shape this future and even create new industries.
“There is absolutely no area of knowledge that Information and Communications Technology cannot contribute to — from business, law, medicine, sport, engineering and environmental sciences to associated industries such as defence, space, logistics, mining, agriculture and the arts, professor de Souza said.
“My focus will be to work with academics, professionals and stakeholders to provide our students with an extraordinary learning experience, innovative teaching and to enable more interdisciplinary and industrial research to emerge.”
Growing up in Brazil, Professor de Souza received his PhD in Natural Sciences from Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, and has Bachelor and Master degrees in science from Brazil’s Federal University Espirito Santol.