Johanna K. Jochum
Instrument scientist, FRM II
In many STEM subjects it is essential to have diverse groups working together, because different backgrounds, mean different ways of thinking.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I am responsible for the resonant neutron spin echo spectrometer RESEDA, which is an instrument operated by the Technical University of Munich. My job is very versatile. As instrument scientist I am first and foremost responsible that RESEDA is operational. This means I need to fix things, when something break or order replacement parts. Additionally, I get to improve the measurement technique and work on further developing it.
At the FRM II researchers from all over the world can apply for beamtime, to come and measure with us at one of our instruments. When researchers come to RESEDA, it is my job to make sure that everything works, and to help the visiting researcher set up their experiment. Additionally, I help them with data reduction and analysis. I can of course also perform my own experiments at RESEDA, publish the data and present my results at conferences.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?
During my PhD, which I did in Belgium, I had the opportunity to join for some measurements at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France. It was extremely exciting, preparing for the measurements, and then traveling to France, and having the opportunity to do science at a world leading facility. During those weeks we were totally committed to the science we were doing, and so it was also a time of intense learning.
The atmosphere there was so motivating, productive and I have rarely felt as much as a "proper scientist" as during a night shift at the ESRF.
It was then that I decided that this was the environment I wanted to work in, surrounded by unique experimental setups and passionate scientists.
WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"
WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?
I love that a big part of my job is learning about new phenomena, and just being curious, trying to figure things out, and understand how the world works.
I do really enjoy meeting and working with researchers from all over the world, and seeing how we can cross geographical and cultural borders by doing science together.
BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?
STEM subjects are so exciting, and just because many of us have been raised under the premise that "girls aren't good in math or science" doesn't mean that this is the case. It's a lame prejudice and in many STEM subjects it is essential to have diverse groups working together, because different backgrounds, mean different ways of thinking and the more different ways of thinking you can bring together the better are the chances of coming up with an innovative experiment/product/idea.
INSPO / FUN FACT
Je suis de ceux qui pensent que la science est d'une grande beauté. Un scientifique dans son laboratoire est non seulement un technicien : il est aussi un enfant placé devant des phénomènes naturels qui l'impressionnent comme des contes de fées. Marie Curie (I am among those who think that science has great beauty. A scientist in his laboratory is not a mere technician: he is also a child confronting natural phenomena that impress him as though they were fairy tales.)