From toys to natural sciences, we should educate girls and boys in the same way: Meet Annette Bussmann-Holder

Prof. Dr. Annette Bussmann-Holder, Max-Planck-Institute for Solid State Research, is taking part in Soapbox Science Munich on 1st June 2019 with the talk: Why are superconductors super?“ 





Soapbox Science Munich: Did you choose a scientific career or did the scientific career choose you?

Prof. Dr. Annette Bussmann-Holder: Originally I wanted to become an architect. At that time I was, however, advised to consider another profession, since in order to become an architect, a training on a building block was required. For a young woman this meant some challenge since almost exclusively men used to work there. My alternative choice was thus mathematics and physics and ended up in physics only.


SSM: What was the key event that brought you to the place where you are now?

ABH: During my PhD time I participated in a conference at the Max-Planck-Institute in Stuttgart, where I met Prof. Dr. Heinz Bilz, a very intelligent and warm person with a lot of inspiration. He offered me a position as post-doc at the institute which I accepted.


SSM: What’s your favourite daily scientific superhero power?

ABH: Each day means a scientific challenge since I learn something new and routine does not exist. I always hope to have another breakthrough idea which leads to novel inventions with practical applications.


SSM: What is the most exciting aspect of your research?

ABH: The most exciting aspects of my research in theoretical solid state physics are to offer explanations to novel phenomena discovered experimentally and to predict new material properties which are of fundamental interest with respect to research and applications.


SSM: If you are stranded on a desert island: what scientific equipment would you bring?

ABH: In such a situation I could live with paper and a pencil and books.


SSM: What challenges do you encounter in science?

ABH: Interdisciplinary work between, e.g., medicine and physics, chemistry is really rare, but heavily needed. This could lead to novel diagnostic tools, but also inspire physicists and chemists to perform targeted research in supporting medicine.


SSM: What motivates you to give a talk in Soapbox science?

ABH: I love to explain complicated phenomena in a simple way such that even a child can grasp the essential ideas and ask questions. Also, it is a lot of fun to talk to people on the street about for them unknown material aspects and how these could change each days life. The essential experience is to see people understanding and getting interested.


SSM: Do you have a few words to inspire other female scientists?

ABH: Every girl and woman should know that they are able to deal with whatever was believed to be a man’s domain.


SSM: What can we do to attract more women to STEM fields?

ABH: We should educate girls and boys in the same way. This commences with toys and ends with natural sciences. It starts with a construction kit and match cars for girls and reading Karl May and adventure books and continues by mediating the STEM fields as fun disciplines.


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