News

Maike Frantzen
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PhD to PhD: Kevin Poljsak

© wwu/Poljsak

Kevin Poljsak is a doctoral student in the differential geometry working group of the wwu and is supervised by Burkhard Wilking.
He does his thesis in the field of geometric evolution equations. There he studies the rigidity of Einstein manifolds with positive scalar curvature with methods from Ricci Flow.
In this interview he would like to share his experiences so far during his doctorate with you.

How was the beginning of your PhD and what would have been nice to know beforehand?
When I started my PhD in November 2018, I did not really know how to begin. So, I started to learn some new stuff related to my interests. After a while, my advisor introduced me to a possible topic for my PhD project. I also went to some conferences and met new people. When starting a PhD, you should not feel ashamed to ask each question which pops up in your mind. Get connected with other PhD students and talk regularly about your problems.

What would you like to have done differently during your PhD?
At some point you have to realize that if you don’t understand anything that it doesn’t make sense to continue working on that but to move forward and come back to your problem afterwards. At the beginning I thought about some things for a long time. After I had been on holiday, I forgot about them and when I came back to the same question half a year later it was easy to solve.

Do you have any advises for the other MMGS members?
Do not forget to enjoy the city during your time here. Münster is not just a nice place to work but also to live.

Maike Frantzen
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New MMGS members 2020

Since there was no exchange or getting to know each other in our "Common Room", especially in autumn and winter, some of the postdocs and PhD students who started in the cluster in October and November introduced themselves in the article "Research topics of our new members".
New members of the MMGS are also represented.

Maike Frantzen
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Postdoc to PhD: Dr. Sahana H Balasubramanya

© wwu/Balasubramanya

Sahana H Balasubramanya a member of the Institut for Mathematical Logic and Foundational Research and is advised by is Dr. Katrin Tent.
Sahana research in Geometric Group Theory and will share details about her research and academic background in the following interview.

What are you working on? / What is your research topic?
My research is focused in the area of Geometric Group Theory. This is an area of math that lies at the intersection of algebra, topology, and geometry. The basic idea is to try to understand the properties of a group by studying the action of the group on some space. The spaces that I look at mostly tend to be hyperbolic or CAT(0) spaces, and the presence of this (negative) curvature often yields strong properties for the groups. I also therefore try and build different actions of a given group on different spaces, so that we can look at information provided by different group actions.

How did you find your research topic?
I had a lot of help from my PhD advisor in terms of finding my first viable project to work on. Dr. Denis Osin was extremely supportive in this matter, and eventually a question he suggested was the first one that I worked on. I think it is therefore extremely important to choose one's PhD advisor carefully. Subsequent projects that I worked on were questions that naturally arose in the context of my work, but I again had help, support and input from my advisor, my PhD committee members and my postdoctoral mentors Dr. Talia Fernos and Dr. Katrin Tent.

Some Advice to the MMGS Members:

What would you like to have done differently during your PhD?
I don't think there is much I would like to change about the time I spent as a PhD student. It was a rather satisfying 5 years, and I think I got to experience all the aspects that one should at that time attending conferences, giving seminar talks, publishing process, etc.
However, it would have been nice to have some of the advice I had the second time I was applying for postdocs the first-time round. There were some nuances about the process and drafting one's statements that would have been very helpful if I had known them beforehand.

Maike Frantzen
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PhD to PhD Progress Review Special: Maria Beckemeyer

© wwu/Beckemeyer

In the members area of the MMGS you will now find a report from Maria Beckemeyer on the Progress Review.
In it, she shares her experiences that she has had before and during the conversation with her supervisor and mentor and explain how the Progress Review has helped her.

Maike Frantzen
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PhD to PhD: Dennis Wulle

© wwu/Wulle

Dennis Wulle is a doctoral student in the differential geometry working group of the wwu and is supervised by Burkhard Wilking.
He does his thesis in the field of riemannian geometry. He studies riemannian manifolds with lower sectional curvature bounds and a high amount of symmetry.
In this interview he would like to share his experiences so far during his doctorate with you.

How was the beginning of your PhD and what would have been nice to know beforehand?
The biggest advantage in comparison to my master or bachelor studies was to finally get an office, which makes it easier to focus on work and separate it from free time. I also discovered that I like coffee, because of this nice coffee machine in the common room.
Although I just started, it happened that I became one of the speakers of the MMGS, only one month after I the beginning of my PhD. As a speaker I was for example in the organizing committee for the MMGS Retreat, which took place the first time this year. It was a very helpful experience, to organize something like a small conference. But the work as an MMGS speaker also includes the role as a contact person for the other PhD Students. So, if you have some questions about the graduate school, do not hesitate to ask me!

How did you find your research topic?
It did not take much time, since I started to work on my topic during my master's thesis, so I should maybe say how I found the topic back then: I first started with a very topological topic inside of equivariant differential geometry. But I did not like the methods used there, because they were ‘too topological’ for me, so after a while I switched to a topic, which needed more methods from differential geometry and the theory of Lie groups.

How was your supervision up to this point and how is the relationship to your supervisor?
I am fully satisfied with my supervision. I do not meet with my supervisor on a regular basis to talk about my topic, but, if I have questions, I can just go to his office and he will spend as much time as needed to answer them. We also have mathematical discussions during lunch or coffee break, which is helpful.

Maike Frantzen
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Postdoc to PhD: Dr. Liesel Sommer

© wwu/Sommer

Dr. Liesel Sommer is currently a member in the working group applications of PDEs at the WWU.
In this interview she would like to share her experiences so far as a postdoc and during her doctorate with you.

What are you working on? / What is your research topic?
In my work I simulate propagation of fractures. Here the usual grid based FEM methods run into problems as fractures do not only propagate along element boundaries. I combine two different approaches to tackle this problem. The introduction of a phase field smears the crack out, making exact resolving by the grid unnecessary. On the other hand, unfitted methods, like the unfitted discontinuous Galerkin method I apply, can handle discontinuities of solutions inside of elements, thus allowing a fracture to propagate trough elements.  
How did you find your research topic?
The supervisor of my PhD had a couple of ideas in mind when I started working. Together we decided for one direction. Then, during my work, I focused on the things that I found most interesting.

What does a normal working day look like? What is the difference to your PHD time?
A normal working day does not differ that much from PhD life.
Depending on my current focus I either tackle analytical problems on the paper, studying relevant literature, or I program the simulations, search for errors in source code and run convergence tests to validate my algorithms and programs.
Nevertheless, there are some differences. First, as I do not want to stay in academics, I feel a lot less pressure now and it is easier for me to get my mind off the job after work. Second, obviously I spend much less time writing things down and proof reading than in the last months of my PhD.
I would say the Postdoc for me is more like the second phase of a PhD. You are well into your subject and do the actual work, going to conferences and maybe writing first papers, but not yet writing it all down. The third big difference is sitting at home in my Home Office, discussing much less with colleagues due to Corona. But I guess that is the same for all of us.   

"Bridging the Gap" seminar: O-Minimality and the André-Oort Conjecture

© MM

Prof. Dr. Urs Hartl and Prof. Dr. Martin Hils organize the "Bridging the Gap" seminar "O-Minimality and the André-Oort Conjecture" which connects Model Theory and Arithmetic Algebraic Geometry.

It will be held on Tuesdays, 2-4 pm. PhD students and master's students may enroll. The seminar will start in the first week of November.

Maike Frantzen
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PhD to PhD: Jannes Bantje

© wwu/bantje

Jannes Bantje is a doctoral student in the Topology working group of the wwu  and is supervised by Johannes Ebert.
He does his thesis in the field of geometric topology. There he studies spaces of positive scalar curvature with methods from the theory of cobordism categories and spaces of manifolds.
In this interview he would like to share his experiences so far during his doctorate with you.

Why did you choose Münster for your PhD?
I already did my Bachelor and Master degree in Münster and when the opportunity to stay here for a PhD arose, I did not hesitate, since Münster fits my mathematical interests, my girlfriend has a job here and I really like the city.

How did you find your research topic?
It was proposed to me by my advisor with my previous knowledge in mind (I am a topologist with some background in C*-algebras, not terrified by differential geometry).

How long should a PhD thesis be?
That depends. Brevity should definitely be a goal, but it has to be weighed with thoroughness. If you do not have to lay groundworks and the available literature is highly compatible, you might do with less than 50 pages. On the other end of the spectrum, there might be theses, where more than 100 pages are totally appropriate.

Maike Frantzen
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MMGS Retreat 2020

MMGS Retreat 2020 images

© wwu/bantje
  • © wwu/bantje
  • © wwu/bantje

The first MMGS retreat took place in Duisburg. This event contributes to the networking of the members of the Graduate School. Especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, the MMGS Retreat was an important networking tool in the MMGS.

The retreat focused on personal future planning. In addition to a series of lectures on the application process in an academic and non-academic environment, there was also a workshop on finding professional and personal goals in life.

The professional and personal exchange also did not fall by the wayside. There was enough time during the evening events to have interesting conversations, to get to know each other and to exchange ideas about his own research topics.
A few impressions can be seen here

Maike Frantzen
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Lectures and seminars winter semester 20/21

The MMGS event list is your helper for the winter semester 20/21. Here you can find information about the lectures and seminars taking place in the coming winter semester.

Maike Frantzen
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Registration for the Retreat 2020 has started

Maike Frantzen
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New MMGS-project: PhD to PhD

© mschmetkamp

Markus Schmetkamp is in the final phase of his doctorate and shares his experiences from his doctoral studies in this interview.

His thesis deals with coarse versions of the Farrell-Jones conjecture and he is supervised by Arthur Bartels.

Why did you choose Münster for your PhD?
I already studied mathematics in Münster. I like the city very much. I also got to know the working group and my advisor early on.
How did you find your research topic?
My advisor had a rough idea of a theorem I should prove. It took several months until I understood what the content of that theorem could be. It got a lot better over the time and in later phases I had my own ideas of theorems worth proving. In the end my research topic is a combination of both the idea of my supervisor and one of my own ones.

What would you like to have done differently during your PhD?
At some point I started using git as part of making backups. I wish I had used that earlier and even more I wished I had used it properly. There were many times that I updated whole parts of my dissertation because results had to be stated more generally. Sometimes I went into a wrong direction. Sometimes I realized that what I did before was not so bad after all. A proper version control helps a lot of keeping track of such things.

Maike Frantzen
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Retreat 2020

The Retreat 2020 has been postponed to a new date due to corona virus restrictions.
It will now take place in the Duisburg Sportpark youth hostel from 25.08-27.08. A new registration will be activated here in the foreseeable future. If you are unable to attend the replacement date, please contact Gabi Dierkes regarding the reimbursement of the registration fee.

Maike Frantzen
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Update SoSe 2020

Due to the current closure of the department because of COVID-19 the progress reviews do not have to be submitted.
If problems arise with the research due to the current situation, MMGS will be happy to help.

Maike Frantzen
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© MM/vl

MMGS Welcome Event

Official press release of the cluster of excellence and  WWU celebrating the opening of the Gradute school on the Welcome Event 2019.