It’s already been a year doing research as postdoc at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (German: Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich; ETH Zurich). During my PhD at UNSW, I enjoyed working on fascinating materials, called metallic glasses; which I continue to research, in a group headed by Professor Jörg Löffler.
The university environment caught me a bit off guard; the science campus of ETH in Hönggerberg, is surrounded by small farms and borders a forest! You can even get fresh cow’s milk in a dispenser a short walk away. From my office I typically see cows munching grass outside, people riding horses, and old folk enjoying strolls with their hiking sticks. The best sights though, are of hawks gliding in the sky and swooping down in the fields during warm days.
I do miss the buzz of energy from the sea of people walking up and down the walkways, and hearing lively chatter and music blaring from the Roundhouse. I am grateful for a number of things I learnt during my time at UNSW:
- Hard work and a ‘can-do-attitude’ are essential to overcome new hurdles.
- Creativity (stemming from intra- and extra-curricular activities) is a boon for scientific thinking.
- Learning how to interact with various people, helps build good relationships with a new research group. Especially love your admin, IT and technical colleagues. Their help is indispensable!
However, the technical know-how, and availability of numerous equipment and materials makes working at ETH a great experience to create a strong platform as a researcher.
On a lighter note, being in Zurich is great for discovering Switzerland and visiting the rest of Europe. I should love a holiday to visit you all at the new Materials Science building, and I look forward to hopefully seeing some of you in Zurich! All the best! Karl.