Evangelia Balatsou sitting at a desk with a computer showing a brain with different portions lit up. Photo provided by Evangelia Balatsou
Evangelia Balatsou sitting at a desk with a computer showing a brain with different portions lit up. Photo provided by Evangelia Balatsou

Evangelia Balatsou is a Cognitive Neuroscientist and a PhD Candidate at Bangor University, UK. She investigates how the human brain prepares for speech and she has recently transitioned into industry, working in speech technologies. https://sites.google.com/view/evangeliabalatsou

1 Are you an early bird or night owl?

Early bird

2 Are you pro- or anti-pun?

Pro pun

3 Do you have any pets?

No

4 Do you have any science-themed home decor?

a painting of a neuron on my living room wall

5 Do you prefer cooking or baking?

Cooking

6 Do you prefer sweet or savory?

Savory

7 Do you speak any other languages?

Greek is my mother tongue, but I casually speak German and some conversational Italian and Russian

8 If you could switch professions, what would you do?

I’d like to think that I would be an artist.

9 If you could switch science fields, what field would you want to work in?

I’ve actually switched science fields already: moving from Linguistics to Cognitive Neuroscience to study the human language with an interdisciplinary approach.

10 If you got a plane ticket right now, where would it go?

off to Bora Bora!

11 If you had one superpower, what would it be?

I’d feed the children

12 Is there anything you strongly recommend we watch and/or read and/or listen to?

watch: Lost in Translation by Sofia Coppola
read: The Art of War by Sun Tzu
listen to: Something On High by Sivu

13 It’s your day off. What do you want to do?

Can I travel?

14 What are three things you can’t live without?

My family, my friends and my food

15 What beverage gives you life?

Campari & Soda

16 What book did you read in school that positively shaped you?

Steven Pinker’s Language Instinct

17 What did you want to be when you grew up?

Everyone who knows me will agree: English Teacher

18 What drives you and keeps you going?

Every time something new is discovered in science, we push the limits of knowledge and human capacity. And when we use science to do good, the world can become a better place.

19 What got you excited in science?

The way science relies on logic and at the same time defies it

20 What excites you about science now?

The interdisciplinary, accessibility and diversity of the scientific community

21 What is a guilty pleasure of yours?

RuPaul’s Drag Race (and I’m not even guilty!)

22 What is a secret talent of yours?

I’m gonna have to take an online quiz for that

23 What is your favorite game?

The Cardigans song

24 What is the last book you read?

I re-read Allen Ginsberg’s Howl

25 What is one of the best pieces of advice you’ve received?

Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from being you.

26 What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do?

I think I’ll give skydiving a shot!

27 What is the best advice for your 18 year old self?

girl, don’t stress, you got a whole life ahead of you!

28 What is the best way to de-stress?

listening to vinyl records

29 What is the last thing you watched?

Little Women

30 What is the weirdest thing you’ve had in your bag?

some EEG gel in a used syringe from the lab

31 What is your favorite animal?

I’m a cat person

32 What is your favorite book?

Trilogia by Sotiros Pastakas is becoming my all-time favourite poetry book

33 What is your favorite comfort food?

sheep ribs from my village

34 What is your favorite day of the year?

probably a random and reckless day in summer

35 What is your favorite plant?

I like all kinds of roses

36 What is your favorite science fact?

Each time we blink (even for milliseconds), our eyeballs roll back in their sockets and this produces massive electrophysiological activity on our brains. Those who do research with Electroencephalography (EEG) know how painful it can be to remove eyeblinks from the data 😛

37 What is your favorite season?

Spring

38 What is your favorite smell?

a freshly baked loaf of bread and the smell of rain in the countryside (not combined)

39 What is your favorite sound?

Leonard Cohen’s voice

40 What is your favorite thing about yourself?

I’m really passionate about the things I love

41 What is your favorite word (in any language)?

ambiguity

42 What is your proudest moment?

Getting my PhD position made me feel that all the commitment and romanticism I have towards science and language paid off.

43 What kind of tree would you be?

Plane tree

44 What’s the best thing about where you live?

Greece has amazing weather

45 Tell us something we probably don’t know.

We all have our own unique idiolects (i.e. individual linguistic worlds) which we adjust, tune and align each time we talk to someone else.

46 Who would you like to see 46 Questions interview next?

@anitatobarh