The audience enjoys the PIER PhD reception 2019. Photograph: Marion Stange/UHH
This year's PIER PhD reception took place on 11 December in the foyer of Hamburg's Center for Free-Electron Laser Science.
More than 120 PhD students, their supervisors, friends, relatives, and staff from both DESY and Universität Hamburg (UHH) attended this year's reception to welcome all new doctoral candidates and to honour the graduates of the PIER Helmholtz Graduate School.
An exciting place to do science
In his welcome address, Prof. Helmut Dosch, Chairman of the DESY Board of Directors, emphasized the importance of DESY’s research facilities both on and off campus. A wonderful example of the latter is the neutrino telescope IceCube, buried deeply within the ice of the South Pole. Physicists from the DESY location in Zeuthen are playing a major role in the construction and operation of this particle detector, which is the world's largest. Mr. Dosch also highlighted the significance of the cooperation of DESY with Hamburg University and encouraged all PhD students to make the best of everything the campus and the PIER Helmholtz Graduate School (PHGS) has to offer.
Prof. Heinrich Graener, Dean of UHH’s MIN faculty, thanked all PhD students: “Your work has contributed to the scientific success in all PIER research fields. Without you, the PhD students, this would not have been possible. Proof of the quality of the research on campus is,” Mr. Graener continued, “that two out of the four new clusters of excellence Universität Hamburg has been granted in the Excellence Strategy of the Federal and State Governments, are located on Bahrenfeld Campus.”
Prof. Robin Santra, spokesperson of the PHGS, then welcomed the 86 new PhD students of the PHGS: "You have definitely made the right choice to come here. Our campus is evolving as one of the most exciting places in the world to do science." He then highlighted the growth of the school since its foundation in 2013: "In the beginning, we only had about 30 registered members. This number has increased in only three years to over 300 registered PhD students, of which around 60 percent are international. I think this reflects both the success of the school, and the growing attractiveness of the city of Hamburg for researchers”, Mr. Santra said. “Unfortunately, the percentage of female scientists is not yet growing", he continued and pointed out the measures of the graduate school directed towards female PhD students, such as the "Women's Career Days" and "dynaMENT", the joint mentoring programme of DESY and UHH. “Our objective is to increase the number of female scientists significantly in the next years.”
Why can music be beautiful? Theory and practice
In the keynote talk, Prof. Wolfgang Hillert of the Accelerator Physics group of DESY and UHH discussed the physics of notes, sounds and harmonies. At the end of his talk Prof. Hillert, who is both a physicist and a trained church musician, put on sailor’s hat, took his accordion and asked the audience for a sing-a-long of the traditional Hamburg sailor’s song “Hamborger Veermaster”. Not an easy challenge, especially for the internationals in the audience, since the song is sung in the local dialect!
During the reception, more music was played by a group of musicians from Iran, Afghanistan and Germany, the DESY Guitar Group. The group was co-initiated by Mrs. Margot Dosch in 2015, when almost a million refugees came to Germany as a result of war and political oppression in several regions of the world.
Mrs. Tepass explained the background of the DESY Guitar Group: “With the large wave of refugees in 2015, 3,000 refugees were accommodated in various camps in the neighborhood of Campus Bahrenfeld. This has led to the launch of a musical initiative. The idea was to create an opportunity to meet regularly at the DESY premises and play music together. So there was a call for the DESY employees to donate guitars and thankfully some new guitars were purchased from DESY and were made available to the group. The size of the group has changed again and again for various reasons. In part, players left the camps and moved to other parts of the city, some of them have found training places and therefore have no time to come anymore. A core group has remained until today.”
The group played a number of Iranian love and protest songs. The audience was touched by the beautiful performance of the musicians, who had never held guitars in their hands before finding refuge in Germany.
Thanks and farewell to DOIT and the graduates
During the PIER PhD reception, the team of the "Doktoranden-Initiative" DOIT, the elected representatives of all PhD students, were honoured. "DOIT's commitment, various activities and positive attitude are an invaluable element of graduate life on campus", said lead coordinator of the PHGS, Stefanie Tepass. Prof. Daniela Pfannkuche, spokesperson of the PHGS, then congratulated the 33 graduates of 2018, seven of which were present and were individually honoured on stage.
The PIER PhD reception ended with a get-together with drinks and food in the foyer.
Some impressions from the PIER PhD Reception 2018
Photos: Marion Stange/UHH