MPSP Autumn School 2023
Workshops, lab tours and a treasure hunt
Summer is over and the winter semester is just around the corner. The best time for our Autumn School! We started and ended this year at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Light in Erlangen. During the week we were in Nuremberg and our PhD candidates had the chance to expand their knowledge and gain new insights in workshops and lectures. The programme was rounded off by social activities such as the culture food exchange evening or a treasure hunt.
Day 1: Arrival & cultural exchange
On Monday, we started the Autumn School in Erlangen at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Light. There, our PhD candidates were welcomed by our Fellow Peter Hommelhoff and were given insights into his research in laser physics. Afterwards, our students were spoilt for choice: Which laboratory would they like to visit? They could choose between the labs of our Fellows Peter Hommelhoff, Bernhard Schmauß and Hanieh Fattahi, as well as the Bavarian Laser Centre. After the lab visits, we went together to Nuremberg, where we stayed until Friday. The Welcome Evening was organised and hosted by our Student Reps. In a culture quiz, we could compete against each other in teams and cheer for the winning team at the end. The final event was the culture food exchange, where you could try various traditional dishes from the countries of origin of our PhD candidates.
Day 2: Workshops, workshops and workshops
During the Autumn School, as every year, the focus is on the qualification of our PhD candidates, who can choose from a wide range of workshops. On Tuesday, the first workshop day, the PhD candidates had the choice between workshops on Academic Writing, Supervision and Grant Management. The new PhD candidates took part in an Intercultural Training Workshop. The PhD candidates used the evening to explore Nuremberg on their own.
Day 3: Treasure hunt and workshops again
Our third day in Nuremberg started again with different workshops for the students. They could choose between the topics “Starting your PhD”, Presentation Training and Bias awareness. After the two long workshop days, the PhD candidates could prove their spiritual and physical fitness in the afternoon during our treasure hunt. Seven teams competed against each other for our fantastic trophy. Before our evening programme, the winning team was crowned, who not only received the trophy, but also a packed surprise bag. In the evening, we were given insights into the broad topic of patents and patent law. The lecture was organised and moderated by Claus Roll, Director OPTICA Europe. We were pleased to welcome Simon Borger, patent attorney, as expert and speaker. Even after the lecture, our students still had many questions, so that the evening ended in a lively discussion.
Day 4: Barcamp and poster session
This year, a barcamp took place for the first time. There our PhD candidates were able to exchange ideas in different groups about specific topics that were on their minds. There were groups on the topics: MPSP program, education and responisbilities, funding, aims and quality of research. In addition to the PhD candidates, the coordination team was also able to contribute to the discussions. Also, our Alumni Laura Padberg, group leader at the University Paderborn, joined us and took part in the barcamp. After this stimulating round of talks and a short lunch break, the poster session, which takes place at every Spring and Autumn School, took place. 30 PhD candidates presented their research in the poster session. Afterwards, all those present were able to vote for the best poster. The winner of the Autumn School poster session were Ankita with her poster on the topic "Alternative approaches to practical Quantum Pulse Gates" and Silia, whose poster on the topic “Loss characterisation of thin-film lithium niobate waveguides with racetrack resonators" also aroused great interest among our PhD candidates. Afterwards, the PhD meeting took place.
Day 5: Back to Erlangen
On the last day of the Autumn School, we returned to Erlangen to the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Light. We were welcomed with a lecture by our Fellow Birgit Stiller on the topic of quantum optoacoustics. Afterwards, the PhD candidates had again the opportunity to visit different labs of our fellows. It was possible to visit the labs of Peter Hommelhoff, Birgit Stiller or Maria Chekhova. After the successful lab visits, this year's Autumn School came to an end. After a last group photo, everyone went home with many good conversations, new contacts and a lot of scientific input in their luggage.
Some of our PhD candidates did not want to say goodbye yet and organized a small basketball tournament on the grounds of the Max Planck Institute.
We are already looking forward to seeing all our MPSP PhD candidates again in March 2024 for the Spring School in Aachen.