Don’t Take No for an Ans­wer: Zon­ta Club Pa­der­born hands over Award at PACE An­nu­al Ce­le­bra­ti­on

“Don’t take no for an answer.” This was the advice Prof. Dr. Peter Gritzmann gave to the more than 90 PhD students from over 20 countries attending the annual celebration of PACE, the institute that runs four of Paderborn University’s international doctoral programs. Gritzmann, who is PACE Advisory Board member (Paderborn Institute for Advanced Studies in Computer Science and Engineering) and vice president of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich, talked in his keynote lecture about the solutions that mathematics can bring to practical problems.

He described the mathematical approach that contributed to an energy reduction in commercial laptops. Laptops normally convert over 50% of the electricity they consume into heat waste instead of into computing power. In this context he explained to the attending professors, doctoral students, and representatives from industry and society, the various problems encountered and the pathways towards solutions. He demonstrated in exemplary fashion how rigorous use of the scientific method (including the systematical simplification of problems) can lead towards a solution. Multiple times, according to Gritzmann, his group encountered “horrible problems“, but the final research result was an approach that enabled a 3-5% reduction of energy consumption in computer chips through the optimization of wire distances.

At the start of the event, Prof. Dr. Erik Woldt, PACE Advisory Board Chair, had already appealed to the students to deal constructively with the inherent risks of life. Although one would generally not be able to control these risks as a ship’s captain cannot control the wind, one could always use the wind to one’s advantage by adjusting the sails. This was an appeal that Dr. Anna Grodecka had apparently already taken to heart before the event. The fresh winner of the Zonta Club Award (1.000 Euro) had already demonstrated tenacity and scientific curiosity as a physicist during her PhD studies in nanotechnology in Wroclaw, Berlin and Paderborn. She was honored by Prof. Dr. Heinz Kitzerow for her superior scientific achievements.

Scientific excellence was also the theme of another award that honored the best presentations held during the yearly doctoral research seminars. Winners of the “PACE Best Presentation Awards” in their respective doctoral programs were Simon Altemeier, Stefanie Naewe, Marina Panfilova and Stefan Wolf. As overall winner of all four programs the mathematician Stefan Wolf received an extra award.

That the excellent quality of PACE doctoral students is also evident in practical research was proven yet again by the active sponsoring of various PhD projects by industry partners. At the end of the event, Michael Beck from initplan GmbH in Karlsruhe assigned Boris Amberg the first position as research fellow in his company. And Thomas Sommer-Dittrich from the Daimler AG research group in Ulm, welcomed the three young doctoral students Marcel Helmdach, Thomas Siebers and Kostja Siefen aboard for a new round of sailing on his research “ship”.