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Staying afloat

In the midst of financial turmoil in Greece, Cristina Gallardo speaks with the country's science minister, Costas Fotakis, about the events that led to the upcoming referendum and the state of scientific research.

Talking with Fotakis, his unexpected capacity to maintain his sense of humour despite the tense financial situation of Greece is striking. “Visitors from other countries have asked me why I’m still in such a good mood," he says. “But this is just a way of facing our problems. There is obviously concern, but there is a lot of work going on and we are still in good spirits.”

Fotakis says the events of recent days—during which negotiations between the Greek government and its international creditors have been in turmoil, and the Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras has announced a national referendum, to be held on 5 July—have kept him very busy. Fotakis, a physicist and experienced research administrator who was appointed science minister at the end of January, is campaigning for a No vote in the referendum on the latest international bailout deal—despite not being affiliated to either party in the coalition government, the left-wing Syriza and the centre-right Independent Greeks.

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