Personal conversations, pitches and lots of fun

December 02, 2022

Networking, working together and hiking are only a few words that describe this year's Autumn School. After the Spring School could already take place in person again, we were even happier when we the Autumn School could take place in person, too. During the five days at the Fraunhofer IIS Waischenfeld research campus, not only our new PhD students were able to get to know each other, but also the Fellows and all PhD students were able to exchange ideas and share their passion for science.


On the day of arrival, the first program item was already on the agenda. MPSP speaker Gerd Leuchs welcomed us at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Erlangen and gave us an insight into his work. Afterwards we got a guided tour through the different laboratories in the institute. Furthermore, it was already possible for the PhD students to get in contact with some of the fellows. The evening program, which traditionally consisted of the MPSP Pub-Quiz, was spent together with all the doctoral students in Waischenfeld.

Day 1 & 2: Workshops and group work

The next two days were dominated by different workshops. The choices were: the writing workshop, 3D design, speech training, "How to manage your supervisor" and many others. Besides the workshops, the PhD students worked together in teams. In these teams, they had to prepare a three-minute elevator pitch on a product or topic of their choice.  They had to present it to the auditorium on Friday. It was important to promote collaboration and cultural and intellectual exchange.

Evenings full of interesting topics and people

The panel discussion with our guests Jan Sperrhake, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Claus Roll, Optica, and Johannes Girstmair, MPI-CBG, on the topic of Open Science was one of the highlights of the evenings and was actively followed by the PhD students. During the career evening, our PhD students were able to ask questions and talk about possible future perspectives with our guests Dr. Kim Lammers, MPSP Alumni, Jens Ulrich Thomas from Schott, and Verena Mackowiak from Thorlabs.

Day 3 & 4: Socializing, presentations and anticipation

Of course, the Autumn School did not miss our outdoor socializing program. Before the poster session on Thursday afternoon, we hiked together to Rabenstein Castle and enjoyed the view over Franconian Switzerland from there. At the farewell dinner we regained our strength in order to overwhelm the jury at the upcoming Elevator Pitches in the next morning.


The PhD candidates working on their Pitches.


3D-Design Workshop


Panel discussion with Jan Sperrhake, Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Claus Roll, Optica, and Johannes Girstmair, MPI-CBG.


Alumni Dr. Kim Lammers talks with students during the career night.


During the poster session, discussions were held on...


...Research topics are explained and...


...more in-depth questions answered.

Friday afternoon we left Waischenfeld with a crying and a laughing eye and are already looking forward to next year's Spring School! 

(c) Pictures: Christian Kuttke

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