These are some of the things that occupy my mind when idle (or not so idle)...
One of my greatest hobbies is Star Trek. I love the TV shows and the movies. I even created my own program to calculate stardates (download).
Of all the Star Trek characters, I relate more to Captain Picard. I like Earl Gray tea, and whenever someone knocks my door, I feel compelled to shout "Come!". And, of course, I'd often say "Make it so".
I have a bike, proudly named USS Beaver NCC-1720.
I'll add some of my "Captain's Logs" soon...
Visual Basic programming
I love VB. For those who haven't heard of it, it's a programming language that allows you to quickly develop programs for Windows. It takes some time to learn, and it can be quite confusing at the beginning, but it's got a lot of potential.
I started programming with VB version 3, around 1996, in a school project named "Doctor PVT" (together with my friend Emerson). This program was a database for calculation of thermodynamic and transport properties of pure substances and mixtures. Unfortunately, my hard drive died and the source code is lost. We only have a compiled executable.
After that I did a little of this and a little of that with VB. I used it for the simulation program in my MS research.
One of my ongoing projects is a visualization tool for 3D fluidized bed simulation data. The name of the program is Bolitas, and it's now in version 2 (alpha testing).
Astronomy and Astrophysics
If I had known that I'd have the opportunity to travel abroad for graduate studies, I would probably have pursued my childhood interest, astrophysics. I think I was 5 when I first saw Carl Sagan's television series Cosmos. I loved it then and I still do. I think that is the most important stone in the foundations of what my life has become. I wondered about the stars out there, and I wanted to be an astrophysicist. As I grew older, my passion for the subject had to be pushed aside for a more realistic choice of career. So I became a Chemical Engineer. Don't get me wrong, I love my field, but I still long for the vastness of space.
I am a member of the Planetary Society, the largest nonprofit organization supporting space exploration. I am also an active member of SETI@home, the collective power of millions of computers all around the world, analyzing data from the radiotelescope of Arecibo, looking for signals of intelligent origin from other star systems.