6 out of 200: The Thrill of Pure Thought and Abstraction

Q&A with 6 out of 200 young researchers participating at the 1st Heidelberg Laureate Forum 2013


Meet Franziska Jahnke in this short Q&A series with 6 out of 200 young researchers. A series with mathematicians and computer scientists participating at the 1st Heidelberg Laureate Forum, September 22-27, 2013.

Image: Courtesy of Franziska Jahnke


For the first time the Heidelberg Laureate Forum will take place. About 40 Laureates (Abel Prize, Fields Medal, Nevanlinna Prize, Turing Award) will attend the forum together with 200 young researchers. For a full week Heidelberg in Germany will be the hot spot of mathematics and computer science. Six of the young scientists told us about their current research and their expectations before the meeting.

Name? Franziska Jahnke

Nationality? German

Where are you based? WWU Münster (Westfälische Wilhelms-University), Germany

What is your current position? Research assistant (post-doc position – or in German: “Akademische Rätin auf Zeit”)

What is the focus of your research? My research area is model theory, with applications in and connections to number theory. More specifically, I study the theories of fields (one might say their arithmetic) using tools from Galois theory and valuation theory.

Why did you become a mathematician? I liked maths at school and even then enjoyed maths puzzles and competitions, thus it seemed a natural choice to study maths at university. I still remember my first lecture in linear algebra: the thrill of pure thought and abstraction, represented to me then by the definition of a ring, has never let go of me since. Soon I realized, few things compare to the satisfaction and excitement of having a mathematical insight or drawing a connection. However, there are even more perks: Being a mathematician also gave me the chance to live in different countries (I did my PhD in Oxford and went to Lyon and Berkeley as a visiting student), travel to lots of conferences in exciting places (e.g. Korea) and make friends with other mathematicians from all over the world! Overall, I couldn’t imagine a better choice of vocation!

What about your life beyond research? When I’m not in the office, I’m likely to be riding a horse or out and about with my mates.

Why did you apply for the HLF13? The idea of inter-mathematical communication really appeals to me – so many of the greatest results lie in between several mathematical areas. In order to understand or even contribute to such research, I strongly believe it’s important to mix and discuss with as well as learn from people working on different topics. To learn from people on top of their game like the laureates is a chance not to be missed!

What do you expect from this meeting? A week full of fun and work, interesting people and discussions!

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ist stellvertretende Wissenschaftliche Direktorin des Nationalen Instituts für Wissenschaftskommunikation (Nawik), Karlsruhe. Sie koordiniert dieses Konferenzblog. Beatrice ist Diplom-Chemikerin und seit über 20 Jahren als Wissenschaftsjournalistin für diverse deutsche Magazine und Tageszeitungen aktiv. Als Social Media Expertin hat sie unter anderem die Scienceblogs in Deutschland aufgebaut. In ihrem Blog ‚Quantensprung‘ und in ihren Tweets als @BLugger schreibt sie vornehmlich über Wissenschaftskommunikation.

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