Barbara Ercolano: Is the protoplanetary disk of TW Hydrae on the verge of dispersal?

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Why did you choose Germany as a research destination?

What attracted me to Germany and in particular Munich as a research destination, was the opportunity of working in a stimulating research environment, with the possibility and freedom to expand in many directions supported by a strong infrastructure.

What was your first impression of Germany, the German culture and its people?

Coming from England, the first thing that struck me was how good the weather is! But I guess everything is relative. The outdoor culture in Munich which drives people close to nature, with respect and attention to the environment also made a very strong positive impression on me.

Did you encounter any difficulties while settling in in Germany?

German bureaucracy can be daunting, particularly for non-german speakers, but I found that people at the University were ready and happy to help, so this was never a real problem. Learning the language is a plus, and while it took a little effort at the start, it has really payed off, helping me to integrate and build a social network.

Do you have tips for other international researchers who are thinking about coming to Germany?

Do not be afraid to ask for help when stuck. I found that most people are happy to help, but also are afraid to interfere or be too upfront, so they might not offer until they are asked.

Short and crisp: What is your favourite...

  • Word: Veröffentlichungen.
  • Dish: Erbsensuppe.
  • Piece of German culture: Directness.

Find out more about Barbara Ercolano and her research project on the Latest Thinking website: www.lt.org