Every year, in the beginning of January, a wonderful conference takes place in Germany. For the past 24 years the Separation Science Working Group (part of the German Chemical Society) is the host for a completely student organized seminar conference. One university group has the duty to organize the event each year. The intention of this conference is to give young PhD students the chance to present their latest research. Since some of these students are apprentices, they may be presenting their work for the first time in front of a big audience, using modern presentation techniques. The audience includes approximately 100 PhD students, around 10 professors from various university groups related to separation science, and a number of industrial scientists. For the last group, it can be a good opportunity to recruit new employees.
The situation for the speakers can be a bit uncomfortable, and watching their presentations I find myself back in the times when I had to do my first serious presentations in front of a critical group. I am always impressed by how these young people withstand their nervousness and by the quality of their presentations. In addition, I am always impressed by the organization power of the organizing committee, founded by PhD students. I am sure that these skills will help them as they transition into professional employment. This year we heard 19 student lectures dedicated to the following topics: Chromatography, Sample Preparation, Environmental Analytics, Method development, Hyphenated Methods and Electrophoresis. In addition to these student lectures, two established Scientists talked about their work environments, giving the students an inside view of their companies.
During the two included evenings, since the Seminar Hotel is located in a region with limited distractions, everybody has the chance of network building. This is one of the most important activities for the PhD students, and, to be honest, one of the most important parts of my work. Since Restek is an employee owned company, our interest is in forming a long term relationships with Scientists. We therefore are highly interested in supporting Young Scientists Education. This is the reason why we grant an award for the best three student presentations, as determined by the complete audience. It is always an honor for us to present the awards to the young scientists.
The picture shows (from left to right) the award winners
Johannes Spenner, WG Prof. Andersson, University of Münster (3rd price)
Christian Benz, WG Prof. Belder, University of Leipzig (1st price)
Marvin Birka, WG Prof. Karst, University of Münster (2nd price)
framed by Mr. Bischoff, chairman of the Separation Science Working Group (left) and myself (right).
More photos and more information about this event can be found at: http://www.uni-leipzig.de/~belder/doksem/