Presenter Michael Büker opening the reception
A Graduate Education Program at DESY in Cooperation with Universität Hamburg
23 February 2021
On 23 February 2021, the pandemic-delayed PIER PhD Reception 2020 took place, and for the first time online.
More than 180 PhD students and alumni of the PIER Helmholtz Graduate School (PHGS), supervisors, relatives, and staff from both DESY and Universität Hamburg (UHH) attended this year's reception in front of their laptops, PCs, smartphones or tablets to welcome the 62 new doctoral candidates, to honour the 55 graduates of 2020 and to be entertained by the physicist and scientific communicator Michael Büker.
Thinking outside the (scientific) box & the importance of good scientific practice
In his welcome address, Prof. Edgar Weckert, DESY Director in charge of Photon Science, highlighted the importance for all doctoral students to think outside the box during their doctorate and to take advantage of the unique opportunities offered by the Bahrenfeld Campus. Mr Weckert also encouraged all PHGS members to take advantage of the extracurricular activities offered by PIER "to become even better researchers".
In the second welcome address of the evening, Prof. Ingenuin Gasser, Vice Dean of Hamburg University’s MIN faculty, stressed the importance of the topic of Good Scientific Practice for all scientists. Mr Gasser named and explained different forms of misconduct to the audience and mentioned important issues in this context, e.g. authorship rules, data handling and data responsibility. He expressed the wish that all doctoral students should be systematically trained and informed in this area to prevent misconduct. He concluded: “Knowledge of and adherence to Good Scientific Practice is important for the integrity of science.”
Prof Robin Santra encourages all PHGS members to take advantage of the extensive PHGS Programme
Prof Robin Santra, one of the two spokespersons of PHGS, then reported that the PHGS programme continued to run in 2020 despite the pandemic. He encouraged all members to continue attending the events which are now offered online.
Mr Santra highlighted the importance of specific programmes such as dynaMENT, which aims to attract more young women into the physical sciences and retain them in science after they have completed their PhD. Events in the field of innovation are also important, he stressed. There doctoral students learn, among other things, "how to transfer ideas into products".
He also emphasized how important it is for all international doctoral students who want to pursue a professional career in Germany to learn German and take advantage of the German courses offered by PIER. "In German companies, the most important language is still German," said Mr Santra.
Mr Santra reported that, partly because of the existing travel restrictions, fewer new PHGS members from outside Germany started their doctorates in the year 2020 than in previous years. He warmly welcomed all 62 new members and captured the feelings of all present by saying: “We are missing our extended family. And our colleagues are our extended family.” Finally, Mr Santra thanked all members for their patience, perseverance and confidence during these difficult times.
Farewell to the graduates 2020
The two elected speakers of the “Doktoranden-Initiative" DOIT, Philipp Amstutz and Marius Hoffmann, congratulated the 55 alumni of 2020, welcomed the new doctoral researchers and reminded the graduates of their responsibility as the future generation of leading scientists to make academia a better place and use the possibilities they are offered to not only become good scientists but also good leaders.
Finally, all alumni of the year 2020 were briefly introduced to the audience in an animated playback. Presenter Michael Büker once again emphasized the difficult conditions under which these 55 young academics had to complete their disputation and graduation. This was also highlighted by the two alumni, Linda Thesing and Angel Ferran Pousa, in their interview with Michael Büker. Both successfully completed their doctorates in 2020 and agreed that the PHGS offers helped them to achieve that goal and to prepare for their post-doctoral careers. Linda Thesing particularly stressed that "soft skills courses are useful for any job in or outside academia."
Do you know how a refrigerator works?
And can you explain it in clear terms? Presenter Michael Büker was able to do this and, using the refrigerator and a few other examples, vividly demonstrated how science can be explained in an amusing and comprehensible way to a non-specialist audience. Stefanie Tepass, the Lead Coordinator of the PHGS, rightly thanked Michael Büker at the end for his charming and witty moderation and thanked the audience, which was still large in numbers at the end, with the words: "And, of course, I would like to thank all of you who were present today and who make the PIER Helmholtz Graduate School what it is, a lively community for exchange, learning and research."
Some impressions from the PIER PhD Reception 2020/2021
Photographs: Stefanie Tepass, Michael Büker, Marcus Creutzburg, Ingenuin Gasser and Jaroslav Gevorkov