One Student's Research Experience in Germany

Hello everybody. Guten Tag! Mein Name ist Smriti Gupta und ich bin ein WISE Scholar 2011. Working Internships in Science and Engineering is a study scholarship given by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to B.Tech students in their third year, for experiencing research at universities in Germany.

I spent 70 days at the Technische Universit?t M?nchen (TUM), under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Johannes A. Lercher, at the department of Technical Chemistry II. It was an amazing research experience with the state-of-art facilities, fully equipped laboratories and the gentle, kind and humble attitude of the faculty and research staff at my institute.

I worked in the field of heterogeneous catalysis under the topic 'Catalytic technology for carbon dioxide reforming of methane to synthesis gas.' This project was being carried out by a Ph.D. candidate, Linus Schulz, and my work comprised of carrying out synthesis of catalysts and testing them on the experimental setup. I had access to most of the instruments in the lab as and when required.

TU Munich follows the Central Institution Facility, wherein every department has access to all the laboratories and the instruments in the campus premises. The labs are under the control of the central administration and time slots are allotted for every individual who wants to avail the facilities. There is a shop in the basement of the chemistry department which provides easy purchase of chemicals. Each Ph.D. has a shopping card which can be used for the same. There are many other basic amenities on the campus itself that promote a lively and scientific attitude amongst the students of the university.

The freedom given to pursue research in your own area of interest makes work more interesting and enjoyable. I had to present my work every Monday and report my guide of the progress in the project. I worked on the BET surface area analyzer and the XRD for characterization of the catalysts. I also got acquainted with the data processing software for GCMS (Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometer). I made a couple of friends in the laboratory who helped me at every stage of my experiments and readily attended to my doubts. At the end of my internship I was asked to submit a report of the project work.

TUM has industrial collaborations with many renowned companies like Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline and others. All the partner industries carry out their research with the help of the students pursuing their Ph.D. in the institute. I also characterized some of the samples for an industry and that came out quite well.

Some of the many qualities I found in Germans are punctuality, easy-going life (happy-go-lucky) and an innovative work culture. They are very sincere and devoted, trying to accomplish their tasks set for the entire week. They are highly organized with proper planning and execution strategies. Weekends are filled with fun, frolic and enjoyment, with people unleashing their desires to explore a new plans to go skiing in the Alps or just a long ride through the city. All the age groups right from the young to the old go out with their family to spend quality time and relax.

On the whole, this was one of my best experiences to date, and DAAD di a great job providing this precious opportunity of experiencing life and work in Germany. Germany is truly 'A land of ideas'!

Photos: Smriti Gupta; Munich scene, Flickr/


Jose Edivaldo Junior's picture

Hi, that description of your research in Germany was amazing. I spect to go there as you do, but in my Phd. I give you raspect to you career path. I would like to share intercultural experience. Keep in touch.