Cluster of Excellence in Germany

Bonn mathematicians go all over the world

Professor Dr. Theodor Sturm leitet das Hausdorff-Zentrum für Mathematik.

Professor Dr. Theodor Sturm heads the Hausdorff Centre for Mathematics.

Bonn. The Hausdorff Centre will be part of the GlobalMathNetwork that was founded in Bonn in November. It is an important instrument for promoting youth talent abroad.

As part of the Cluster of Excellence for Mathematics in Germany, the Hausdorff Centre (HCM) feels particularly committed to international networking. Many young scientists from abroad are already doing their doctorates in Bonn, for example with grants from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). But young German researchers should also gain experience in the globalised science community. Therefore the HCM, along with four other selected partner universities on three continents, launched the GlobalMathNetwork in Bonn in November 2017.

“We are playing in the big league,” reports HCM director Theodor Sturm. The École Normale Supérieure in Paris, the Courant Institute of Mathematical Science at New York University and the Universities of Kyoto (Japan) and Peking (China) belong to the network. Sturm said they had not yet found partners with the necessary quality in research and teaching in South America, Africa and Australia. The network partners envisage a support programme for young scientists as a companion to the Erasmus programme for students.

“Our goal is for a large proportion of our doctoral students to spend a considerable time abroad,” explains Sturm. The five network members have therefore committed themselves to finance one semester abroad for at least 40 per cent of their doctoral students. The home university bears the costs of travel and accommodation. On site, the doctoral students have appointed contact persons to ensure quick integration and receive office space and access to the library, internet and computers. They are also exempted from tuition fees, something that is a considerable financial advantage, especially in the USA.

Around 120 students are currently doing their doctorates in mathematics in Bonn. From 2018, 15 to 20 of them will pack their bags each year for four to six months. Their trip may not only culminate in one of the partner institutes. The HCM is financed by funds from the German government’s Excellence Initiative, which will be available until the end of 2018. As reported, the Bonn mathematicians have applied for a continuation of the Cluster of Excellence. The GlobalMathNetwork is to be expanded in future to include further international university partners.

Original text: Martin Wein. Translation: kc