Irina Kirchberger, doctoral candidate, probably has one of the most beautiful workplaces at FAU – right in the grounds of Erlangen Schloss. This is where the GeoZentrum Nordbayern is located. Having studied geosciences – where 50% of graduates were female – she is now conducting research into various types of cement within the Mineralogy Research Group. This is important for construction materials and buildings. Whether she will work in the construction industry some day or else stay in academia is a decision she’s leaving until after her doctoral degree. But one thing is already certain: research is close to her heart.

On a hill high above the old town of Bamberg is the FAU Observatory, named after Dr. Karl Remeis, a jurist and an amateur astronomer. The observatory was established in 1889 as a private institution using funds from his estate, and was transferred to FAU in 1962. Today, it is home to the Astronomical Institute, affiliated to the Department of Physics. This is where the professor for multiwavelength astronomy, Prof. Dr. Manami Sasaki, carries out research into how galaxies develop: ‘I observe astronomical objects that are created when stars die, known as supernova remnants, but also nebulous structures in various galaxies.’

From Erlangen to Harvard and back: Doctoral candidate Stefanie Klostermeier completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in materials science and engineering at FAU. After training in materials science and engineering, she wrote her Master’s thesis at Harvard Medical School. She is now completing a doctoral degree in neural mechanics at the Max Planck Center for Physics and Medicine in Erlangen. She is also involved in setting up an international collaboration with Harvard Medical School and ETH Zürich.