Lou Mendonca-Santos (Brazil)
Address: Rua Jardim Botanico, 1024, 22.460-000
Rio de Janeiro, RJ,Brazil
Position: Senior Soil Researcher at EMBRAPA Solos
Brazilian Agricultural ResearchCorporation,
National center of SoilResearch, since March 1990
1. When did you decide to study soil science?
In the Agronomy Graduate School I was touched by childhood's memories, when I used to spend my school vacations in a farm and had the opportunity to see how the land was prepared for crops and pastures and how important it was for survival. All that memories came out and rose again as soon as I started the first semester, and the books and classes I liked best were just the soil science text books.
2. Who has been your most influential teacher?
Professor Doracy Pessoa Ramos in the Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro when I was doing my Master Degree. Soil Genesis and Morphology including soil description and classification, as well as Land Use Planning where disciplines he teaches with lots of passion. As part of the final exam, the soil excursion was a classic! Eight days in a bus, stopping at different soil profiles, where each one of us was selected to describe and write down the morphological soil characteristics just like the soil surveyors and classifiers do in real soil survey field work. No one could say anything during the examination. Lots of pressure each day, but lots of fun at night in the small towns around Rio de Janeiro.
3. What do you find most exciting about soil science?
The soil nature and the soil landscape relationships. I am always impressed with how much we can 'read' from a soil profile!
4. How would you stimulate teenagers and young graduates to study soil science?
Taking them out in the field, showing how soils may be different from place to place, why they change and the role the soils have to food production and life survival.
5. How do you see the future of soil science?
New knowledge produced from the integration of all branches of soil science and correlate disciplines, available for all around the world: soil and environment as a tool for better integration among people around the world.