Fiorella Terenzi is an astrophysicist, author, and recording artist. She is popularly known for taking recordings of radio waves from far-away galaxies and turning them into music. Terenzi is a member of the dean’s advisory board and professor of Astronomy and Physics at Florida International University, where she teaches Astronomy, College Physics, General Physics with calculus for engineers. She combines performance art, music, design, storytelling with science education.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I grew up in Milan, a metropolitan city based on finance, food, Ferrari, and fashion (4F). All those elements helped shape my childhood along with a passion for the stars and music. The story that shaped my adult life was the long walk night in the summertime in the countryside outside Milan with my grandmother looking up to the sky creating our own stories and fables. My imagination got ignited and never left my work using reason and computational methods in astronomy.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

That I should have taken those dance, piano, and guitar lessons!

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

That you can’t be both. An artist and scientist, model or biologist, musician, and engineer. I believe we can do both, creatively unite reason and imagination.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

I have dark moments regularly in my life, I think they unleash new perspectives in life. You can use faith or rational logic, to come out or shed more light, or a friend or professional help. I personally like being alone under the night sky and meditate on it all, it does place things in perspective, right?

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?


What is your morning routine? 

Espresso and stretching.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

Regular light exercises like yoga and dance and breath in and out. Take the time to stop and listen to your breathing. It will tell you the level of stress inside so you can act on that.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

Making a lot of “reasonable’ mistakes gives me clarity and focus, when you seek, when you start the journey, the road becomes clear. I speed up this process with technology from computer to app and software to better organize the big picture.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

The violent universe of radio astronomy by Margherita Hack and Siddartha by Hesse. The first was written by a women innovator genius in astronomy and I was in need of a role model. The second for my own inner universe research and discovery.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

The one of Carl Jung: Thinking is difficult that’s why most people judge.