"Though surrounded by strong female role models, I may have been one of the first women to leave my community who was not married, went abroad, and pursued a PhD in physics. I had no role model in that sense and I had to face that challenge on my own."
Her motto: “A life driven by imagination and curiosity is the one that is alive,” Dr. Starry Musgrave
Dr. Anna Chrobry similarly to her compatriot, Prof. Skłodowska-Curie, has become an experimental physicist. She followed her childhood passion for space and she is now employed in the German Space City (Bremen). She currently works as a project manager and has worked in the past with major space project the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), while employed at Airbus. She defies gravity, as an aerial artist and flying a glider.
If I hadn't become a physicist ...
If I didn’t pursue my passion for physics, I probably would have become a gardener and a piano repair person. My family has a strong tradition in farming and in order to protect the climate, we need to take responsibility of the sustainable food supply chain. With this in mind, my balcony is like Jumangi with my own fruit plants and many herbs.
My high school test of competences showed clearly that I shall specialize in nuclear physics or repairing pianos. On my way to the Open Day of my University, I became lost in a new city and I coincidentally found a piano and repair shop that just happened to be training interns. I then had the dilemma to continue to look for my University or stay and ask for an internship. In the end, I did happen to follow this alternate destiny and I am currently learning to play piano.
Which offer of the DPG do I appreciate most?
“I believe that you can’t be what you can’t see,” Sally Ride.
I feel that it is important to empower younger generations and I take the role of mentor for master students and junior employer extremely serious. I am supporting them via their projects to a successful graduation and fixed employment. I find that the DPG Mentoring und Leading for Tomorrow is a very valuable resource for mentoring.
The "Physikerin der Woche", Lise Meitner und 'ihre Töchter': Physikerinnen stellen sich vor was extremely inspirational to me, that this program helped me create a similar program to reveal 100 inspiring female physicists in Poland.
What task do you see for physics in the society of tomorrow?
We need more knowledge in physics, chemistry, and other STEM fields in order to cope with these global challenges that affect our life, such as hunger, contamination of water, pollution, and poverty. We need more young people to select science as their career with the aim of striving towards different standards of success, which are currently viewed as money and fame.
“Young people shouldn’t look only to become the next Bill Gates,” Jane Goodall.
What topic(s) does your thesis deal with?
We are living in Anthropocene age and my masters and PhD were dedicated to understand the impact of humans on the atmosphere. In 2007, when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, I started my PhD with a supervisor who was head of the scientific team of the climate watchdog in Space (SCIAMACHY on ENVISAT).
What are you working on today?
I enjoying navigating between various technical fields. In 2018, I joint the third Large System Integrator (LSI) of Europe (OHB), where I concentrate on different aspects for telecommunication for future use. Telecommunications is a critical infrastructure similar to access to water or electricity. The recent pandemic has demonstrated that this is a critical infrastructure to stay connected, for home schooling, home office, telemedicine, (soon IoT) and it all worked thanks to modern telecommunication solutions. The pandemic has showed that we are all connected and down on Earth we could also experience some sort of overview effect.
In parallel to my work, one of my personal focus areas is volunteer engagements and functions created around the STEM curriculum. I am the current STEM ambassador for the Kosmos dla dziewczynek, Galaktyka Women and Yuri’s Night Bremen. As with the Latin expression “spiritus movens” within these functions, I support the organizations committed to provide access to resources for high quality education for underprivileged children, to inspire girls possibly pursuing STEM careers, and to raise public awareness of climate protection.
What would you like to give to the young scientists?
I am regularly mentoring graduates, young professionals and I always tailor advice to the specific individual. There is one thing that I always say, “BE BRAVE, the sky is not even the limit.”
I would like to encourage other to surround yourself with inspiring people that have the characteristics that you want in yourself to grow. In the end, you can choose the 5 most influential people to become the amazing product of your life.
What you always wanted to tell...
"You can always tell ambitious women by the shape of our heads: They're flat on top for being patted patronizingly. And we have larger feet to stand away from the kitchen sink." Dame Stephanie Shirley
Though surrounded by strong female role models, I may have been one of the first women to leave my community who was not married, went abroad, and pursued a PhD in physics. I had no role model in that sense and I had to face that challenge on my own.
Germany - where I decided to be (Erich Fromm “To have or to be”).
I was lured to the land of the great physicists Lise Meitner and Einstein, the composer Beethoven, the writer Goethe, the renowned electro music djs and where Dr. A. Merkel, the leader, is a female physicist who puts emphasis on a multicultural society, parity and welcomes refugees. Thus, a genocide survivor, Nadia Murad, has settled here safely and I too have chosen Germany as my new homeland.
Bild: © STEM Event Galaxy Girls