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A lot of reading

Filip Majstorović, master of engineering in wood technology (Faculty of Forestry, University of Zagreb, Croatia), internship at InnoRenew CoE (Erasmus+); main research interests: renewable composites and wood science


  • Where were you living in childhood and where do you live now?

I was born in Croatia and have been living there for most of my life. This year, I spent six months studying abroad in the Czech Republic, after which I graduated and moved to Slovenia.

  • What have you studied and what were the motives for your decision?            

I studied wood technology at the Faculty of Forestry of the University of Zagreb. My graduate studies were done in collaboration with Mendel University in Brno, where I did research work for my master’s thesis. To be completely honest, I am still not exactly certain what led to my decision to study wood as a material as I was not even sure if I was “student material”. I think that, in the end, my impulsive nature prevailed, and I decided to give studying a go. Probably the best decision of my life.

  • How would you describe your work to someone outside your field?

I think the easiest way to explain it would be to split it into two phases, where the first phase consists of reading. And I mean a lot of reading. Gathering as much information as you possibly can and reviewing it is probably the most important factor when planning your research. One tiny deviation can, and in many cases will, affect the end result. The second phase sounds quite simple – implementing all of that hard-earned knowledge into practice. I have yet to see it go smoothly, without getting stuck at some point.

  • What does your typical working day look like?

It usually starts with me sitting down at my desk to check if I have some unanswered emails and to think about everything that needs to be done that day. Unlike most people, I have my coffee somewhere in the middle of the day, when I feel that I need a break from lab work.

  • What makes you excited about your work?

Just the thought of making day-to-day progress with my research is motivating enough. Sometimes getting stuck for a couple of days can be stressful and underwhelming. But it is important to remember that we are dealing with science, after all, and that the end result is always worth it.

  • And what is the biggest challenge at your work?

As I already mentioned, being able to stay optimistic when I feel that my research is stuck in place. I think it will get easier as time passes since my research career is still quite fresh.

  • Which scientist or scientific achievement are you fascinated by and why?

I am intrigued by all the new scientific discoveries that are happening each day, but I am most grateful for the invention of the internet, without which my work would be significantly harder. Just think about the struggle of finding scientific literature (or any literature in that manner).

  • Tell us about the work of art (books, music, movies, theatre, dance, visual arts) that has a special place in your life.

Tolkien’s work, specifically “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”, was always very special to me. I was first exposed to the movie adaptations when I was a kid, and afterwards, I got into reading books. Whenever I want to feed my nostalgia and hang out with my younger self, I go back to the books or the movies. I also play guitar, which is something I am passionate about.

  • What have you read, listened to, or watched lately?

These days, I mostly read scientific literature. Other than that, I enjoy watching nature documentaries (especially animal ones) before going to sleep. I find that there is something about nature that helps me fall asleep more easily. Sometimes, if I think about the possibility of not having as much of it in the future as we do (or did), it has an opposite effect.

  • Describe your very first impression of Slovenia.

Being pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. People usually associate Croatia with the beautiful coast and the islands but, in my opinion, even though it might not be as vast, the Slovenian coast is just as beautiful and deserves more recognition.

  • What do you like about Slovenia and what do you miss most from your homeland?

I enjoy the more casual and quiet atmosphere that comes with living in a smaller city, such as Izola. It was quite a change from the busy city life of Zagreb, but a change I gladly welcomed. The things I miss from Croatia are the same ones that I miss here, at the moment. The current lockdown, which has been going on in Slovenia (and the whole world), has made it hard for people, including myself, to enjoy the things they usually do. On the other hand, I managed to take up some new hobbies and also rediscover older ones, which have been put aside for too long.

  • Which place on the Slovene coast do you like the most?

I really enjoy Strunjan cliff, which was the first thing I checked out when I arrived here. Also, the view overseeing Izola while walking downwards from Belvedere is beautiful, to say the least.

  • What makes you enthusiastic?

Good company.

  • Characterize your life’s guidance or an important realization (or epiphany) you have experienced.

Priorities sometimes change. And that is okay.

  • What does the charm of wood mean to you?

The feeling of natural warmth and comfort it provides. And the smell … the smell is amazing.