Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 677 - Function by Switching
Integrated Research Training Group

Retrospect 2014

2014 was an eventful year for the Integrated Research Training Group (IGK) of the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 677 “Function by Switching”. Here you can find articles about some of the events.

Insights into the industry: Graduate School dropped by at Bayer’s

Seeing beyond daily university lab routine was possible for the graduate students of the CRC 677 on July 1. This year’s Graduate School excursion led them to the Bayer Brunsbüttel Industrial Park.

The young scientists were particularly curious about the production of the precursors TDI (toluol-diisocyanate) and MDI (diphenylmethane-diisocyanate), which are used for polyurethane foam (PU). In 1973 the Bayer corporation took up residence at Brunsbüttel and is now one of the biggest chemical companies in the region.

Gesa Martens from the visitors’ service received the guests from Kiel and presented the Bayer AG as well as the Industry Park. Deeper insights into the PU production provided deputy operations manager Dr Florian Paulat with a presentation and a tour across the premises. He got his PhD at Kiel University, where he had worked in Professor Felix Tuczek’s group. Paulat told the graduate students about his daily job and how he started his working life after graduating.

The excursion’s participants especially learned much about the differences and challenges production on industrial scale faces compared to university lab work. To close the event and to give everyone room for further interdisciplinary exchange, the Graduate School’s representatives had organized a barbecue for all members of staff of the CRC.

Soft skills and hard science: Around 50 take part in SFB summer school 2014

This year’s summer school of the SFB 677 from August 5 to 6 offered a varied programme to around 50 doctoral students. Against a summerly scenery at the hotel Schwanenhof at the Schulsee in Mölln, they could develop their communication and conflict management skills. The young scientists also exchanged ideas about their projects and got to know new scientific methods.

How do I cope with conflicts at the workplace? How do I present my research topic precisely and attractively? Together the summer school students worked out these questions theoretically and practically. For instance, they elaborated a 90-second opening to a presentation. The problem here was not only the content, but also the format, articulation, body language, posture and much more.

The doctoral students presented their own topics in a poster session. While doing so, they discovered common problems and debated solutions.

Scientific talks made up the second half of the school’s programme. New doctoral students introduced themselves and their topics. Dr Katharina Röttger, chemist from Professor Friedrich Temps’ working group, talked about femtosecond spectroscopy. Mass spectroscopy was the subject of Dr Tassilo Muskat’s (Grotemeyer working group) talk. The summer school’s participants also got to know “X-ray spectroscopic investigations of adsorbed switchable molecules” (Professor Wolfgang Kuch, FU Berlin) and “Computational (Quantum) Chemistry” (Professor Tobias Schwabe, Hamburg University). Dr Tilo Peter, who got his doctoral degree at the Faculty of Engineering and today works at X-Fab, a semiconductor company, and Dr Christiane Dethlefs, alumna of Professor Ulrich Lüning’s working group and now employee at Roche in Basel, Switzerland, gave insights into their work and how they managed the start into their working life.

Finally, the doctoral students elected a new team of spokespersons: Hannah Brandenburg, Nicolai Krekiehn, Matthias Lipfert, Viktor Schneider, Julian Müller und Julian Rudnik gathered all votes in their favor. Feedback for the event turned out to be very good.

First winter meeting of SFB graduate school

On Wednesday, December 17, the winter meeting of SFB 677 graduate school premiered. Its aim: Promoting cooperation among the doctoral students with their various subjects. The first meeting took place in the chemical section with around 50 young scientists.

Physics, chemistry, material sciences, biology: research fields in the SFB 677 are manifold and have “languages” and methods of their own. To get to know each other, several talks were held by doctoral students and a postdoc. Research objectives, results and ground breaking findings were presented in a way everybody could understand. New doctoral students introduced themselves.

A poster session gave the opportunity to exchange results and ideas. Following up was a tour through several chemical laboratories. Staff presented syntheses under Schlenk-conditions und methods like NMR and Mößbauer spectroscopy. The graduate school plans to make the winter meeting a fixed date for all doctoral students of the SFB.

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