Alberto Pimpinelli is Executive Director of the Smalley-Curl Institute and Faculty Fellow in the Materials Science and Nanoengineering Department at Rice University, Houston, full Professor in the Physics Department at the Universite Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand, France, and Visiting Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. From 2008 to 2012, he was one of the Attaches for Science and Technology of the French Embassy in the US. Trained as a theoretical physicist, Pimpinelli obtained his PhD from the University of Parma, Italy, with a thesis dealing with statistical physics models of magnetism in insulating systems. His interests shifted towards crystal surfaces and crystal growth when, after receiving fellowships from the Accademia dei Lincei and the European Union, he left Italy for the Centre d'Etudes Nucleaires and the Laue Langevin Institute in Grenoble (1991-7). In 1997, he was appointed Professor at the Universite Blaise Pascal in Clermont-Ferrand, where he taught statistical and solid state physics, as well as introductory courses in nanosciences. In 2004, he was invited to the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center at the University of Maryland, where he was appointed Visiting Professor the following year. He has acted as a reviewer for many institutions and scientific agencies, such as the MNEST, the ANR, the NSF, the EU, the EC, and the Romanian Government. He has authored or co-authored more than 150 scientific papers and book chapters, and has been invited to talk at many international conferences.