Physikerin der Woche 2024

Starting from January 2018, the German Physical Society's working group on equal opportunities (AKC) has been regularly featuring women in physics who are based in Germany or German women who are working in the field of physics abroad.

If you are a woman working in the field of physics in Germany or a German woman working in physics abroad and would like to showcase your work through the "Physikerin der Woche" initiative, then don't hesitate to get in touch with Dr. Ulrike Boehm at . This opportunity is open to women in physics at all career stages, whether they are from academia or industry. Moreover, you are also welcome to recommend suitable candidates for the initiative.

You can find an article and posters about our initiative in the April 2018 issue and 2021 / 2022 / 2023 issues of the Physik-Journal. You are welcome to print the posters and promote our initiative at your research institution. To view previous participants from past years, please refer to the following resources: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

Further interesting information on the topic of career preparation for physicists can also be found on the following DPG pages:  Berufsvorbereitendes Programm der DPG and DPG-Berufsvorbereitung online der jDPG


Dr. Claudia Merger (Trieste, Italy) - Kalenderwoche 21


Claudia recently joined the Theory of Neural Networks group at the Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati (SISSA) in Trieste, Italy, as a postdoc after obtaining her PhD degree at RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Jülich. She works on neural networks, such as modern image and text generators whose success stems from an intrinsic, condensed representation of the statistics of the data used to train them. Conventionally, this representation does not lend itself to a direct interpretation. Claudia decodes these representations by translating them into a physical language, namely interactions between the different degrees of freedom that make up new data, such as pixels, in the case of image generation. In doing so, she obtains an interpretable new interacting theory of the data and can also study if different types of neural networks are biased towards specific representations. Thus, she works at the crossroads between explainable artificial intelligence (AI) and inference - she believes that by explaining what neural networks (the central objects of modern AI) have learned, we can obtain a better understanding of the problems they solve and simultaneously improve their reliability and efficiency.


Foto-Rechte: Dr Claudia Merger

Prof. Dr. Dorothée Weber-Bruls (Frankfurt am Main) - Kalenderwoche 20

With a background in solid-state physics, Dorothée passionately explores the intricate realms of physics, fostering a community of innovation and discovery while delving into the rich history of the discipline. Through her dual roles as a German as well as European patent attorney and president of the Physikalischer Verein, she adeptly translates the complexities of physics for diverse audiences. In court, Dorothée illuminates intricate scientific concepts for judges, facilitating fair and informed decisions. Simultaneously, at the Physikalischer Verein, Dorothée engages enthusiasts and visitors, unraveling the wonders of physics and its historical significance, inspiring a deeper appreciation for the field as well as attracting and motivating young minds to pursue careers in physics, ensuring a bright and innovative future for the field.


Foto-Rechte: Prof. Dr. Dorothée Weber-Bruls

"Material Girls": Diana Ryzhak, Henriette Tetzner, Agnieszka Corley Wiciak, Elena Hardt, Maria Masood, Costanza Manganelli, and Farnaz Majnoon (Frankfurt (Oder)) - Kalenderwoche 19

They call themselves "Material Girls," but unlike Madonna, they live in another kind of material world. This team, consisting of seven accomplished women - Diana Ryzhak, Henriette Tetzner, Agnieszka Corley Wiciak, Elena Hardt, Maria Masood, Costanza Manganelli, and Farnaz Majnoon - resides in the Materials Research Department of IHP - Leibniz Institute for High-Performance Microelectronics.

Their focus spans the intricate realms of materials science, delving into photoluminescence, defect investigation in micro- and nanostructures, and the development of cutting-edge semiconductor-based devices. In domains such as optoelectronics, thermoelectrics, biosensors, and quantum applications, these dedicated scholars channel their passion for innovation and advancing technology within their field into collaborative efforts.

What sets these women apart is not just their ambition to revolutionize the size of electronic devices but also their commitment to ushering in a new era of green electronics and redefining the landscape of programming - making it faster, cheaper, and more effective. Beyond technological progress, their collective endeavors offer profound insights into the fundamental physics of materials at the nanoscale.

While the number of women in STEM, especially in electronics and engineering, remains disproportionately low, IHP's Material Girls stand united. They support one another, contributing not only to scientific breakthroughs but also to a more inclusive environment for girls in science and research. Their collaborative spirit exemplifies a commitment to paving the way for a brighter future in this traditionally male-dominated field.


Foto-Rechte: Inesa Posypai


Dr. Larissa Boie (Villigen, Switzerland) - Kalenderwoche 18


Larissa is an experimental physicist at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen, Switzerland. She currently conducts research in the field of laser-based advanced manufacturing. With very short pulses and small laser spot sizes, they can use IR light to modify a transparent material locally via multi-photon absorption processes. This can lead to new functionalities at the surface of glasses, such as photoconducting properties. With synchrotron radiation from the Swiss Light Source, they investigate how a femtosecond laser transforms parts of a metallic glass into a crystalline phase in operando conditions to understand the role of different laser parameters. She is also planning and conducting ultrafast optical experiments in a laser lab, investigating how fast the lasers change the internal arrangement of the atoms in the glass. The work on advanced manufacturing processes combines her interest in both x-rays at large research facilities and the freedom to work on her own setup in a laser lab, building on her expertise in ultrafast dynamics from her Ph.D. research. With their results, they hope to find mechanisms that allow them to do laser-writing in three dimensions in transparent glasses, which can be useful in building novel types of chips and other miniature devices.


Foto-Rechte: Rasmus Ischebeck

Dr. Laura Olivera-Nieto (Heidelberg) - Kalenderwoche 17


Laura is a postdoc at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik in Heidelberg after recently completing my Ph.D. at the same institute. She is a gamma-ray astrophysicist, using observations of the sky in the TeV energy band to study the places in the universe that accelerate particles. Her research is currently focused on microquasars, a special type of stellar binary system hosting a black hole pulling off matter from its companion. As a result, oppositely directed beams of plasma ("jets") are produced. Similar relativistic jets are also observed emanating from the centers of active galaxies, although with much larger sizes. Using data taken with the H.E.S.S. observatory, she studies microquasars inside our Galaxy in order to characterize where and through which mechanisms are particles accelerated to energies above hundreds of TeV in these systems. 

On the more experimental side, she developed a novel method for background rejection that uses the central telescope as a "muon veto," improving the high energy sensitivity of H.E.S.S., and she contributes to the Southern Wide-field Gamma-ray Observatory (S.W.G.O.), a proposal for a new gamma-ray observatory in the Southern Hemisphere. Additionally, she is one of the lead developers of the Very-High-Energy Open Data Format. This community initiative aims to provide the field of astroparticle physics with a shared, open-source data standard that ensures the FAIR principles and facilitates data-sharing and reproducibility.

Laura received the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Dissertation Prize 2023 for her PhD thesis on "Resolving particle acceleration and transport in the jets of the microquasar SS 433 with H.E.S.S. and HAWC."


Foto-Rechte: Dr. Laura Olivera-Nieto

Dr. Andrea Toulouse (Stuttgart) - Kalenderwoche 16

Andrea Toulouse is currently a postdoc and group leader of the research group “3D-printed Microoptics and Simulation” at the Institute of Applied Optics (ITO), University of Stuttgart. Her research focuses on the development of complex microoptical systems facilitated by multiphoton 3D printing. During her PhD, she demonstrated an ultra-compact spectrometer with the diameter of a human hair. Today, she works on resolution enhancement techniques for optical fiber bundles and tries to incorporate an entire 3D printer into the sub-millimeter tip of an endoscope. She envisions her 3D printer to become an asset for future surgery to additively fabricate biological tissue in situ inside the human body. To reach this goal, she currently heads an interdisciplinary research group of engineers, physicists, and biologists funded by the Carl Zeiss Foundation “Wildcard” program. Andrea studied Physics at RWTH Aachen University. In her master’s thesis, she built a diode-pumped alexandrite laser from scratch and joined TRUMPF Lasersystems for Semiconductor Manufacturing after her graduation. She gained four years of industrial experience in the development of CO2 laser sources for EUV-based lithography before she dived into the world of 3D-printed microoptics in her PhD project at the University of Stuttgart.


Foto-Rechte: Dr. Andrea Toulouse

M.Sc. Radostina Zidarova (Darmstadt) - Kalenderwoche 15


Radostina is a Ph.D. student conducting fundamental research in nuclear physics at TU Darmstadt. She aims to explore the properties of exotic radioactive atomic nuclei, which are produced through impinging accelerated ion beams on a target. After identifying the ions based on their behaviors, gamma-spectroscopy is performed to measure the radiation emitted during proton and neutron decay from the nucleus's excited states. Radostina's current research is focused on unstable Sc and Ti isotopes with a greater number of neutrons than protons, which were produced and analyzed at Japan's RIKEN Nishina Center. Investigating nuclei far from stability provides insight into the strong nuclear interaction and its behavior, which would not be possible by exploring only stable nuclei.


Foto-Rechte: Klaus Mai/ TU Darmstadt

Dr. Angela De Rose (Freiburg im Breisgau) - Kalenderwoche 14

Angela works as a scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg. She studied physics at RWTH Aachen University with a focus on experimental work in nanooptics. In her current research in photovoltaics, she investigates the connection of solar cells to strings for building photovoltaic modules. In her research group at Fraunhofer ISE, she improves joints on the solar cell’s electrodes to build high-efficiency solar modules. Besides testing new materials and optimizing the soldering process, she focuses on the characterization of the joints by, for example, electron microscopy (as seen in the photo).
As a woman in science in a male-dominated technical working environment, she tries to get young women interested in research, e.g., through talks at schools or careers fairs, science communication, supervision of PhDs, or hands-on activities, such as GirlsDay.


Foto-Rechte: Angela De Rose


Dr. Franziska Treffert (Livermore, CA, USA) - Kalenderwoche 13


Franziska is an experimental postdoctoral researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California (USA), where she works on High Energy Density (HED) science experiments at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) and other facilities in the US and abroad. Her research focuses on the generation of secondary particle sources (x-rays/ions/neutrons) for material science, fusion science, and medical applications, primarily using high-power, high repetition-rate short-pulse lasers. This includes developing high repetition-rate compatible targetry and detectors as well as leveraging machine-learning models for active feedback loops from diagnostics outputs to laser control inputs to stabilize and optimize particle beam generation. Additionally, she is working on utilizing such particle beams to study HED states of matter, including measuring the equation-of-state of materials under extreme conditions and studying novel approaches for Inertial Fusion Energy (IFE), motivated by recent breakthroughs regarding ignition at the NIF. Her research builds on work from her Ph.D. project, which was conducted in collaboration between TU Darmstadt and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (USA), for which she was awarded the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes) doctoral scholarship.

Foto-Rechte: Prof. Dr. Jorge Rocca

Dr. Aisha Aqeel (Munich) - Kalenderwoche 12

Aisha has served as a Junior Group Leader since 2022 under the Excellence Initiative of the Munich Centre for Quantum Science and Technology (MCQST), funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) at the Technical University of Munich, Germany. This year, she will transition to the University of Augsburg to establish her research group, "Spintronics with Helimagnetic Insulators (SpinLEGO)," supported by the Emmy-Noether grant from DFG. Her research focuses on investigating novel magnetic insulators for potential energy-efficient spintronic applications.
Employing crystal growth techniques, Aisha cultivates magnetic materials and subsequently subjects them to characterization through various methods such as magnetometry, x-ray scattering, and magnetic resonance techniques. These materials are then utilized to comprehend fundamental device concepts by harnessing their spin properties. Aisha finds it particularly intriguing to unravel a material's true potential after its growth.
In her previous work, she focused on single-crystal growth and in-depth analysis of spin transport and magnetic resonance properties in chiral magnetic insulators like Cu2OSeO3. In the context of the SpinLEGO project, her goal is to investigate a varied selection of noncollinear magnetic materials, emphasizing achieving ultralow magnetic damping and establishing strong coupling to microwave photons.
In their recent publication, they present the initial experimental investigation employing these novel magnets for applications in artificial intelligence, particularly reservoir computing.

Foto-Rechte: Dr. Aisha Aqeel

Prof. Dr. Nahid Talebi (Kiel) - Kalenderwoche 11


Nahid is an Iranian/German physicist who focuses her research on nanooptics, exploring the intricate dynamics of light-material interactions at the nanoscale. She leads the Nanooptics research group at the Christian-Albrecht University of Kiel. Her work primarily revolves around elucidating the interplay between light and material excitations, with a particular emphasis on probing these phenomena using electron beams.
Her expertise encompasses theoretical and experimental explorations of the interactions between light, electron beams, and matter. She leverages electron microscopes as a toolbox to better explore quantum dynamics, with a focus on sub-femtosecond dynamics and nanometer spatial resolutions.
Central to Nahid's contributions is the development of a numerical Maxwell-Schrödinger toolbox, enabling her to explore dynamic processes beyond adiabatic and nonrecoil approximations. Additionally, she has pioneered a novel method for investigating the decoherence dynamics of material excitations, such as exciton-polaritons and electron-phonon interactions in two-dimensional materials.
In 2018, she was awarded an ERC Starting Grant to further her investigations, followed by an ERC Proof-of-Concept Grant in 2024 to advance her innovative prototypes toward commercialization.

Foto-Rechte: Julia Siekmann

M.Sc. Sahar Forouzan (Deggendorf) - Kalenderwoche 10


Sahar is a Ph.D. student at the Technische Hochschule Deggendorf and the FAU Erlangen. In her dissertation, she researches the treatment of ceramics using microwave technology. The application of microwaves offers an opportunity to save a substantial amount of energy in the ceramic industry and significantly reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. The aspiration is to manufacture ceramics in an environmentally friendly manner. This project was a collaboration between the Deggendorf Institute of Technology and Schlagman Poroton Company.

Foto-Rechte: M.Sc. Sahar Forouzan

M.Sc. Serena Giardino (Potsdam) - Kalenderwoche 9

Serena is a final-year PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics and the University of Heidelberg, in the group of Prof. Lavinia Heisenberg. Her research focuses on understanding the true nature of gravity. She explores modified theories of gravity that might explain the accelerated expansion of the universe without resorting to the mysterious dark energy and works on figuring out what the cosmological implications of going beyond Einstein's General Relativity are for both the early and the late universe. Specifically, she works on a novel description unifying different gravity theories based on thermodynamics and on constructing alternatives to the Big Bang model, such as cosmological bounces, that solve some of the puzzles of standard cosmology.
She enjoys bringing science to the public in several languages and is active in her institute's Equal Opportunity Office.

Foto-Rechte: M.Sc. Serena Giardino

M.Sc. Chloé Gaudu (Wuppertal) - Kalenderwoche 8


Chloé is a Ph.D. student in the Astroparticle physics group at the University of Wuppertal, working with hadronic interaction models to solve the “Muon Puzzle.”

Established state-of-the-art models, including EPOS-LHC, Sibyll 2.3d, and QGSJet-II.04, are utilized by astroparticle physicists to describe the hadronic interactions within extensive air showers (EAS) resulting from cosmic ray interactions with Earth's atmosphere. Though developed by separate teams with differing initial assumptions, these models converge on the following consensus: air shower simulations exhibit a muon deficit compared to experimental measurements of the Pierre Auger Observatory — referred to as the “Muon Puzzle.” To solve this puzzle, Chloé works with the Angantyr model of Pythia 8, yet another hadronic interaction model tailored for Large Hadron Collider experiments. Angantyr introduced new features aimed at enhancing descriptions of hadron-nucleus interactions, thus motivating its potential application in air shower studies. The evaluation and validation of this model are done using the analysis framework Rivet, which requires specific plug-ins, of which Chloé has written several for each experimental dataset chosen as a reference. The next steps for her work would be to create a tuned version of Pythia 8 by adjusting parameter values, shifting the physics of Pythia to better describe hadron productions in pion-proton and pion-carbon interactions while keeping intact the knowledge they have gathered so far from proton-proton interactions. This tuned Pythia 8 would be used in codes, like Corsika 8 or MCEq, to probe astroparticle observables, allowing comparison with experimental datasets and previous simulations with the aim of a more accurate description of muon production in EAS.

One should keep in mind that this tuning endeavor is a multi-dimensional task demanding various expertise in the fields of astroparticle and particle physics, from the experimental datasets, model parameters, and observable weight selection for meaningful interpretation, needing a close collaboration between working groups.

Foto-Rechte: Pavlo Plotko

Dr. Esra Bulbul (Garching/Munich) - Kalenderwoche 7

Esra is a Turkish-American astrophysicist who currently leads the Cluster and Cosmology Working Group within the eROSITA Collaboration. She also works as a research group leader in the Department for Highenergy-Astrophysics at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany. Esra is an expert in the application of multi-wavelength surveys of galaxy clusters in cosmological research, as well as the studies of large-scale structure and astrophysics. In 2020, she was awarded an ERC Consolidator grant, which played a pivotal role in the realization of the eROSITA catalog and cosmology papers. Esra assembled a talented team of students and postdocs with the grant, with whom she enjoys collaborating and spending time outside of work. She received her Ph.D. in astrophysics at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and has worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and MIT. Her work on the evolution of clusters over cosmic times has provided valuable insights into the growth of structures in general and the cosmological parameters governing the universe. Recently, the Cluster and Cosmology consortium published their results of the first eROSITA All Sky Survey, which delivered the most accurate cosmology constraints ever known.

Foto-Rechte: Dr. Esra Bulbul

M.Sc. Verena Johanna Brehm (Trondheim, Norway) - Kalenderwoche 6


Verena is a Ph.D. student in the Center for Quantum Spintronics, which is part of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. After studying general physics in the Bachelor and Masters in Konstanz, Germany, she specialized in theoretical solid-state physics. Using large-scale numerical methods, she simulates the behavior of magnetic waves for magnonic devices and neuromorphic spintronics. By using the spin- instead of charge property of electrons as information carriers, novel magnetic devices promise to improve both computational speed and energy efficiency.

Foto-Rechte: M.Sc. Verena Johanna Brehm


Prof Dr. Francesca Calegari (Hamburg) - Kalenderwoche 5


Francesca leads the Attosecond Science group at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science at DESY in Hamburg and is a full professor of physics at Hamburg University. She is also the head of the scientific board of PIER, the strategic partnership between DESY and Hamburg University, and one of the speakers of the Cluster of Excellence “Advanced Imaging of Matter.” Amongst other distinctions, she is an ERC StG laureate, received the ICO prize and the Ernst Abbe medal from the International Commission of Optics, and is an Optica Fellow.

The main focus of her research is to track and ideally control in real time the electron dynamics occurring in systems with increasing complexity, from simple molecules to molecules of biological interest and nanostructured materials. To this purpose, her group develops state-of-the-art table-top light sources providing extreme time resolution (from a few femtoseconds down to attoseconds) and spanning from the infrared to the ultraviolet and then further down in wavelengths to the soft-x ray spectral range. In her group, attosecond technology is used to understand the role of electron dynamics in the photo-induced chemical changes that occur in our own biomolecules (e.g., DNA and proteins) in a bottom-up approach. Her research aims to control molecules' chemical reactivity at the electron time scale (attochemistry) to achieve efficient light harvesting. Her approach is fully synergetic, with the possibility to resolve structural changes in molecules through femtosecond time-resolved X-ray diffraction using XUV/X-ray Free Electron Lasers (FELs).

Francesca is active in promoting diversity in science. She has been the Equal Opportunity director for the cluster of excellence AIM and is mentoring female scientists via the DynaMENT mentoring program in Hamburg. 

The picture shows Francesca in her Attosecond Science Lab.

Foto-Rechte: Prof Dr. Francesca Calegari

Dr. Felicitas Mokler (Heidelberg) - Kalenderwoche 4

Felicitas is an (Astro-)physicist, book author, and science journalist. After pursuing research on planet formation and brown dwarfs, she switched to science communication, first as a press officer at the Max-Planck-Institute for Gravitational Physics and later as an editor and science writer for several public science journals and mainstream media and has also founded the online magazine „Die Weltraumreporter“ („Cosmic Correspondents“) as part of Rifferporter eG, a cooperative of free-lance science writers. More recently, she has published several books, among others „Die Evolution des Universums“ („The Evolution of the Universe“) and, together with Robert Schwarz, „Unter den Polarlichtern der Antarktis“ („Under the Aurora of Antarctica“).

During the scientific year „Our Universe“ in 2023, she worked as science coordinator for the Roadshow „Universe on Tour“ on behalf of the Council of German Observatories (Rat Deutscher Sternwarten) at MPI for Radioastronomy.

Felicitas has been awarded the Klartext-Preis 2008 (award on public writing) for an essay about her thesis topic. In September 2023, she received the Hanno and Ruth Roelin Award for Science Journalism. Later, in 2024, she will take on the position of Journalist in Residence at HITS (Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Physics).

The photo shows her during her presentation at the Göttinger Literaturherbst, where she presented her book „Die Evolution des Universums“ („The Evolution of the Universe“). 

Foto-Rechte: MPINAT

M.Sc. Alba Gómez-Segalàs (Vienna) - Kalenderwoche 3


Alba is a Ph.D. student in the research group of Dr. Francisco Balzarotti at the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology in Vienna, Austria. Her academic journey has taken her across borders, with a bachelor's degree in physics from "Universitat de Barcelona" (Barcelona, Spain) and a master's degree in optics and photonics from "Karlsruher Institut für Technologie" (Karlsruhe, Germany). She is captivated by fluorescence light microscopy and its application in the life sciences, and her research focuses on MINFLUX, a single-molecule localization approach that achieves isotropic nanometer localization precision and a temporal resolution down to the sub-millisecond range. She works on expanding the functionalities of a MINFLUX microscope to enable the simultaneous tracking of multiple fluorescent targets, a capability that holds great promise for unraveling intricate molecular dynamics like the conformational states of protein complexes. 

They recently posted a preprint showing their latest technological advancements that made possible the first demonstration of two-emitter MINFLUX tracking in 3D.

Foto-Rechte: M.Sc. Alba Gómez-Segalàs

Dr. Stefanie Todt (Dresden) - Kalenderwoche 2


Stefanie is a particle physicist at the Dresden University of Technology (TUD) and part of the ATLAS experiment at the LHC at CERN.

Her research focuses on scattering processes among electroweak gauge bosons. Including triple and quartic electroweak self-coupling interactions as well as the exchange of a Higgs boson, these scattering processes are an excellent tool for studying the delicate interplay of the gauge structure and the electroweak symmetry-breaking mechanism of the Standard Model (SM).

Her research projects examine the scattering of two same-charge W± bosons and contributed to the first observation of a process containing vector boson scattering with data from the ATLAS experiment at the LHC.

Furthermore, she studies the effects of an effective field theory (EFT) model describing beyond SM extensions that generate anomalous quartic gauge couplings in the electroweak sector.

For over 10 years, she has been active in outreach, mentoring, and supervision. As a mediator for particle physics, she participates in national and international masterclasses for high school students organized by the Netzwerk Teilchenwelt. She likes presenting and discussing her research field in public, at events such as Science in Pubs or the 35c3.

Standing for a supportive and appreciative scientific community, she has been the spokesperson for the German Ph.D. and young scientists representatives in the ATLAS experiment.

Foto-Rechte: Dr. Stefanie Todt

Dr. Christin David (Jena) - Kalenderwoche 1

Christin is a Junior Research Group Leader at Friedrich Schiller University Jena. She is fascinated by how matter interacts with light in nanostructures. The design of tailored nanostructures for optical technologies is at the heart of her research, with a focus on renewable energy applications. She is modeling new-generation photovoltaic and solar fuel cells to find technologies and pathways toward a sustainable future.

Foto-Rechte: Dr. Christin David


Hier geht es zu den Teilnehmerinnen der Physikerin der Woche 20182019202020212022 und 2023 Projekte.