Jeroen J. Stolwijk: PhD at the TU Berlin
My name is Jeroen J. Stolwijk, 25 years old and from the Netherlands. Since January 2014, I am a PhD Student at the TU Berlin in the research group of Volker Mehrmann, which consists of approximately twenty researchers. Here I would like to share my experiences at the TU Berlin with you.
Our research group is really tight and cooperative, where people take sufficient time for each other in case of questions. We are also very active, both academically, with weekly seminars, workshops, and writing papers together, and for pleasure, with excursions and joint coffee breaks. We organize a yearly group trip, a yearly excursion, a summer party, and a Christmas party. The group trip went to Lychen this year, a small village north from Berlin. We spent a long weekend in the middle of a forest, with presentations in the mornings and long walks in the afternoons. For the excursion we went paddling in a small river, a one-hour drive north from Berlin. In groups of two we went down the river, where cooperation was more than necessary. Afterwards, a BBQ was organized until late in the evening. These activities really create a strong bond between all colleagues.
With more than eight thousand employees and thirty thousand students, the TU Berlin is very large and one sometimes feels anonymous. However, this size also brings advantages such as a large library that is ideal for studying. Also, the large buildings create much office space for every employee. For example, I share a relatively large room with only two colleagues, such that we also have enough space for book shelves and plants. I really consider this as a luxury, because in many companies office space is tight and people have to sit close to each other. This nice and cozy workplace increases the quality of every workday.
My work consists of three quarters research and one quarter teaching. This creates a nice variation, as I really like to teach and to have contact with students. It also keeps my knowledge up-to-date. For my research, I am involved in a large project which is funded by the German Research Foundation DFG. It is a cooperation with the universities in Erlangen, Darmstadt, and Duisburg. This connects me with researchers from all over Germany and is a good opportunity to enlarge my professional network. The research itself is about the modeling, simulation, and optimization of gas flow through a pipeline network. The mathematical fields of Control Theory, Optimization, and Numerical Analysis come together, which makes it really interdisciplinary and exciting. This all creates a working atmosphere in which I feel myself well.
To conclude, I am really happy with my PhD position at the TU Berlin and its nice working atmosphere. The research quality is high and my research group is very friendly. I do not regret taking this position and I can recommend the TU Berlin to everyone who considers to obtain his or her PhD in Berlin.
Jeroen J. Stolwijk