Logo der Universität Hamburg und DESY

PIER PhD Reception 2022

29 June 2022, DESY Auditorium

19 of this year's graduates on the terrace of the canteen. Photograph: Kevin Winkler

This year's PIER PhD reception took place on 29 June in DESY's auditorium and canteen. More than 150 PhD students, their supervisors, friends, relatives, and staff from both DESY and Universität Hamburg attended the event to welcome all new doctoral candidates and to honour the graduates of the PIER Helmholtz Graduate School (PHGS).

In her welcome address, Prof. Beate Heinemann, DESY Director Particle Physics, highlighted a significant trend in the compostion of doctoral researchers in the graduate school: "I am very pleased to see that the number of female doctoral students is slowly but steadily increasing. In this year, 37% of all first year PhD students are women. Eight years ago, in 2014, the proportion of female doctoral students was only 24 percent. This is a wonderful development."

Prof. Robin Santra, DESY spokesperson of the PHGS, added: "We would like to increase the number of female scientists even more, not only among PhD students. Many PhD students dream of an academic career, but no one really knows how to reach that goal. The rocky path of a scientific career is particularly difficult for women. I would therefore very much like to recommend our joint female mentoring programme of DESY and Hamburg university called 'dynaMENT'. This programme is a wonderful opportunity for female early career researchers to learn from other successful female scientists, to build a personal network and to enjoy a highly professional career training."

Prof. Ingenuin Gasser, Vice Dean of the MIN Faculty highlighted the importance of good supervision for PhD students: "In my days as a graduate student, supervision looked like this: You were assigend to a professor, and three years later you were expected to submit your thesis. There were no panels, no graduate schools, no structures whatsoever. We have moved on since then, but there is still room for improvement. I would very much like to encourage all new PhD students to use all the opportunities and services both DESY and the university have to offer in this respect", Prof. Gasser concluded.

In a final welcome address, Philipp Amstutz, the speaker of DOIT ("Doktoranden-Initiative"), the elected representatives of all PhD students on campus, greeted the graduates and thanked them for their committment: "Being a third year PhD student myself, I think I can honestly say that I know how feel today - congratulations to all of you. I also wanted to say thank you - quite a few of you who are present today have contributed to DOIT and our various activities over past few years. In 2021, we were finally able to achieve one of our biggest goals in recent years, the increase in contracts for doctoral students to 66%. This was only possible because so many of you helped out."

How large is the proton? A modern puzzle

In the keynote lecture, Prof. Randolf Pohl of Johannes Gutenberg Universität talked about a modern puzzle in physics, the size of a proton: Protons and neutrons, the building blocks of atomic nuclei, are not elementary particles, but composed of quarks and gluons. The size of the proton, i.e. how large this "fuzzy ball of charge" is exactly, is relevant for a variety offields in physics. Elastic electron proton scattering was the first to measure the proton size in the 1950s, and since the 1990s, precision spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen (one proton, orbited by one electron) has also been able to determine the proton size. The values seemed to agree until 2010. A very different result was obtained in Prof. Pohl's experiments using the exotic "muonic" hydrogen atom, where the electron is replaced by a much heavier muon. This modern puzzle may now slowly reach its resolution, Prof. Pohl showed.

The reception ended with the graduation ceremony, in which the two spokespersons of the PHGS, Prof. Daniela Pfannkuche and Prof. Robin Santra introduced this year´s alumni to the audience and personally congratulated 20 graduates to their doctorate.

The evening was accompanied by beautiful songs of The All Pass Band, a group of music enthusiasts at DESY, who played their own interpretation of classic tunes such as "Summertime" and "Hit the Road Jack".

The PIER PhD reception ended with a lively get-together with delicious drinks and food in and in front of DESY's canteen.

Impressions from the PIER PhD Reception 2022

Photographs: Kevin Winkler

Jennifer Popp
Particle and Astroparticle Physics
Leonardo Ranasinghe
Linda Vanessa Thesing
Photon Science
Ángel Ferran Pousa
Event Calendar
19 Jul. 2022 to 26 Aug. 2022
Speaker: Achim Geiser (CMS (CMS Fachgruppe QCD)) ; Robin Santra (DESY & UHH) et al.
Location: DESY Hamburg
Room: main Auditorium
19 Jul. 2022 to 08 Sep. 2022
Chaired by: Andreas Przystawik (FS-PS (FS-PS Fachgruppe FCP)) ; Friederike Januschek (DESY) et al.
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