“Elon Musk wanted to hire me, I said no.” Dante refuses Mr. Tesla: “I dream of Italy”


San Francisco, 1 June 2020 – By now his ‘no’ to Mr. Tesla, the histrionic Elon Musk, has become almost a legend: “Thanks, Elon, I prefer to do research in biotech and change the life of those who suffer”. But Dante Gabriel Muratore, a 30-year-old Italian-Argentine electronic engineer who graduated between Turin and Pavia, then flew (with his wife) to Stanford in Silicon Valley, minimizes and prefers to concentrate on his dream: “Return to Italy to do research. In the meantime, in the autumn, if the Coronavirus emergency has improved, I get closer: I will go to the Netherlands for a chair ”.

All brains flee from Italy and would you like to return?

I received extraordinary training: I would like to work on it for the affections and the way of life. But at the moment there are no conditions: finding research funds in Italy to make biotech is more difficult than elsewhere. If the policies don’t change, I should discover a shortcut to make my job easy in Italy: maybe I will be forced to become famous (laughs, ed). But one way or another I will make it. Maybe for retirement. “

Let’s go back to the moment Musk called her.

“In his company of implantable neural interfaces, Neuralink, they were looking for people who did my job. And one day my phone rings: ‘Hello, I’m Elon’. My lackluster answer was: I am Dante. We had a very pleasant, interesting conversation, he covers everything from the organizational aspect to the staff psychology. I told him the truth: I didn’t want to work in a company “.

And what did he answer?

“I understand you, but think about it, do this, maybe you can choose a part-time. I accepted: okay, I’ll think about it and let you know. For seven days I asked anyone for advice, I hardly slept. On the balance prevailed the greater freedom that the academy grants you, compared to business. Even at the team level, between Neuralink and Stanford, I preferred my team. ”

How much money would he offer her?

“A lot would have changed economically, but in order not to fall into temptation I refused before knowing the salary. It was at least a duplicate of the current research fellowship. The minimum of a post doc is about 63 thousand dollars: I’m lucky and I earn a little more. But life here is very expensive: a two-room apartment comes $ 4,000 a month to give an example. ”

She is like Totti who said ‘no’ to Real Madrid to remain the king of Rome.

“Hopefully it will go equally well. I have no regrets, now I can say it. ”

Now it has just released the super microchip for the artificial retina.

“It all started three years ago when I came to Stanford to do research by drawing chips. Initially creating a microchip for the eye seemed like an impossible mission, then came the idea of ​​a turning point ”.


Being able to transmit a flow of data from the cells to the chip and, then, out of the eye, comparable to watching 100 HD movies simultaneously on Netflix. The chip will be back in May, we have to check with electrical tests that it has not made any mistakes. Before it can be implanted in a human eye, 5 to 10 years will pass and a hundred million funds will be needed“.

How is the Coronavirus emergency experienced in the USA?

Each state is a little different, being a federation. Here in California we are following many of the Italian directives. Every day my American friends ask me about Italy and our loved ones at home. In general, there is a climate of strong adaptation to a totally new situation. However, we are hopeful that if everyone does their part, we will come out stronger than before“.

How does Silicon Valley make you feel nostalgic for the beautiful country?

We mainly don’t like the health system: being completely private, you never know how much it will cost you and which part will be covered by the insurance. Then there is the lifestyle: I love what I do, but here it is difficult to unplug when you leave the office because we are all absorbed in our work. Silicon Valley is a bubble, more or less then we all know each other. One thing I miss a lot is the concept of meeting with friends at the bar for an aperitif on the fly“.

What effect does it make you see that elon Musk manages to get into space and will probably bring tourists around planets?

“It’s always fascinating when technological advances become such that they can be made available to everyone. A certain democratization of science.”

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