Humans of Science

Humans of Science

Inspired by Brandon Stanton’s famous blog “Humans of New York”, we want to use this project to bridge the gap between “scientists” and the “public” – by showing the human side of people in science. They have shared their hobbies, personal thoughts, and worries for the future with us. We hope that you will enjoy these stories, just as we have enjoyed capturing them.

If you or someone you know would like to be featured, please get in touch with us!

“My horse is my hobby, my sport, my balance – and a living being I care for daily. He is an important part of my life, even if I often have to justify such an expensive and time-intensive hobby. With the daily craziness of life in the lab, it’s not always easy, but always worth it. Unfortunately, not everyone has understanding for the time and energy that commitments, like a horse, require.”

-Katharina Schücker, Department of Meiosis, Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

“What is better than buying new dresses? Making them! I enjoy making clothes – it allows me to be creative and see the results almost immediately.”

– Hana Janova, postdoctoral fellow in Neuroimmunology at the Max-Planck-Institute of Experimental Medicine (wearing her own dress!)

“I was able to turn my hobbies into my career: research and travel. What a privilege! And there’s even some spare time to row on a Swedish lake with my family, or to attempt to play the drums. These days, I’m having doubts about my path – our grandchildren will ask what we did to stop climate change.”

– Patrick Cramer, Director Department Molecular Biology at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

“I take my coffee very seriously.”

– Simone Brioschi, doctoral candidate in Neuroscience

“I like to explore the cities around the globe with my camera”

-Fabian Sohns, PhD student University of Göttingen

“You cannot truly not understand a culture until you live in the country and don’t speak the language. As someone who struggles to learn new languages I feel this is always an issue with me. I don’t integrate as well as I could. However, with each different country I live in, I gain new interests.

From mountain climbing in Germany, to ski-touring in Switzerland and France. Through such activities I meet interesting people who push me past my comfort zone. I love being active and outside in the mountains. Stress that you didn’t even know you had eases up. And politics can be discussed without the urge to delete that person off of Facebook.”

-Joshua Wyatt Smith is a doctoral student in particle physics at the University of Göttingen

“I taught myself how to play the guitar when I was a child, but never got that good at it. My main motivation was to sing lullabies to help my younger brother fall asleep. Although he is all grown up now, I still enjoy playing from time to time.”

– Dr. Louisa Kulke Academic Counselor in the Department of Affective Neuroscience an d Psychophysiology

“This is the good cake”

– Ben Brüers, Master’s student, University of Göttingen

“If I haven’t studied Biomedical Engineering I think that I would have studied history or political science. I enjoy reading books about philosophy, history, politics and psychology. My favorite reading place in Göttingen is the SUB Tower. It is usually very quiet on the topmost floor; one has a beautiful 360° view of the city and, in sunny days, a very good sunbathing opportunity. :)”

-Marko Markovic, Postdoc @UMG

“I like to play board games with friends to socialize outside of work.”

– Timo Dreyer, Particle Physicist

“After a long day in the lab and in the office, I just have to move. I’ve enjoyed running for as long as I can remember and to run a marathon has always been on my bucket list. When I moved to Göttingen in January of 2016 to start my PhD, I told myself: It’s now or never! A few months later, I finished the 42.195km for the first time in Regensburg. This was to be a one-time thing. But somehow the running bug had bitten me and I knew I had to continue. Currently I am preparing for my fourth marathon in Rotterdam.”

-Benedict Wild, PhD Student, Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, German Primate Center

“I think Metal, like science, is like a universal language. I’m from Australia, but people everywhere who are into Metal [rock music] are bound together by a common passion. I can go anywhere in the world and see someone wearing the t-shirt or a patch of a band I like, and say, ‘Hey, I like them, too! Let’s hang out.’ In my experience, metal-heads are usually pretty happy to talk about music, even with someone they’ve never met. I think science has similar elements – the idea that you can go to a conference full of international people but you have something that binds you together and a common language that you can use to express your passion. Science has a way of taking over your life, and it’s the same to me with Metal. So while metal-heads might look scary or weird to other people, I think we’re generally quite open and most of us don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

– Dr James Daniel, Molecular Neurobiology Group Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine

“Horses are my greatest hobby. That’s why it’s so important to me to treat animals used for research with respect and responsibility. Science and a love for animals are not mutually exclusive.”

– Marina Sinner, Scientist in the research group Sleep & Waking, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry

“Marteniza is an old Bulgarian tradition. White stands for purity; red for health, for red cheeks. You gift them to one another on the first of March symbolizing the upcoming spring, the awakening nature. On that day, you wear all Martenizis that you’ve gotten. When I was a teenager, I had up to 30. These have not only been bracelets, but also necklaces and brooches. Brooches represent the classical form: they show a woman, “Penda”, and a man, “Pijo”. You wear them until you see a stork – which doesn’t happen to you easily living in city – or a flowering tree. Then, you hang them on a branch. My colleagues get one from me every year. You can make them yourself but: crafting isn’t a hobby of mine. Friends and family send them over from Bulgaria.”

– Blagovesta Popova, Postdoc in “Molecular Microbiology and Genetics”

“I am an occasional flâneur. I love strolling through the city to experience it in all its sensory richness.”

– Dr. Deniz Kilincoglu, Intellectual Historian/Intellektueller Historiker, The Göttingen Institute for Advanced Study (Lichtenberg-Kolleg)

“During my scientific career, I have studied and worked in six countries on four continents. Science knows no borders. With a place-bound partner or kids, this would be much more difficult. I am fortunate that my partner is able to move with me!”

-Prof. Dr. Tanja Baudson (University Luxemburg), Initiator of March for Science Germany and „Hochschullehrerin des Jahres“ 2017

“Something that is becoming more and more important to me and almost meditative: in the summer I take the scythe in the evening, slice away at a swathe of grass and feed our three horses with it. We live on a small farm. As I am slicing away, butterflies fly out of the meadow and I see spiders crawling around in it. Since it’s always just a narrow strip that I mow, they may go from here to there when they want to get back into the tall grass. In the evening mood, many mosquitoes fly out of the green immediately attracting the swallows. This drama brings me down and somehow makes me happy. Of course, this is an idyll that has nothing to do with either the industrialized agriculture of today nor the privation of this work from former times. And yet: I can enjoy it and feel grounded. There is something so primal about the activity of mowing: one feels the body, sweat, make an effort, but also get something done while the thoughts go for a walk. This is not the feeling from a gym workout, it is somehow more complete. “

– Christian Ammer, Professor for Silviculture and Forest Ecology of the Temperate Zones