Meet the People: Linda Hollenbeck

There are new co-chairs and we want you to get to know them.

In marriages it seems to be a thing to wear symbols for protection, good luck, fidelity and prosperity following a traditional rhyme:

Something old, something new,
something borrowed, something blue
and a lucky six-pence in your shoe.

Although there is no marriage, as a part of a good start into our new corporate responsibility we could try to achieve what these symbols represent as well. But the best team is still built up by trusting and knowing each other. To do so the co-chairs agreed to give some kind of interview, talking about the one thing we have obviously in common. The questions shall give us some insight in the path that led them to where they are now and what they expect that is lying ahead. And I think one poem of Emily Jane Brontë is the right crossover:

Past, Present, Future

Tell me, tell me, smiling child,
What the past is like to thee?
‚An Autumn evening soft and mild
With a wind that sighs mournfully.‘

Tell me, what is the present hour?
‚A green and flowery spray
Where a young bird sits gathering its power
To mount and fly away.‘

And what is the future, happy one?
‚A sea beneath a cloudless sun;
A mighty, glorious, dazzling sea
Stretching into infinity.‘

Linda Hollenbeck, one of the two co-chairs since march 2018.

Linda, how did you come to crystallography and what fascinates you about your work?

I started studying Geosciences at the University of Bonn in 2011 and focused on crystallography/mineralogy and geochemistry. During my Bachelor’s thesis, I realized that I want to focus on crystallography. Since the University of Bonn was not offering this in their Master’s programme, I decided to go to the Ruhr-University of Bochum where one can major in crystallography as a part of Geosciences. In my Master’s thesis, I worked on structure-property relationships of Mullite-type compounds in the group of Prof. Jürgen Schreuer. Since one year, I am working on my PhD in crystallography in the group of Prof. Petra Becker-Bohatý at the University of Cologne focusing on the crystal growth and characterization of 4d/5d compounds. I think it’s very fascinating that I am focusing on new and therefore unknown materials with (hopefully) interesting properties.

And how did you come in contact with the DGK and its „Arbeitskreis“ Young Crystallographers?

When I had to decide where to major in crystallography in 2014, the DGK attracted my attention. Later on, I decided to attend the meeting of the AK20 “Materialwissenschaftliche Kristallographie” in 2015 and one year later the 2nd Meeting of the “Young Crystallographers” (YC), both in Berlin. I was very excited to get to know other young researchers and learn more about the multiple fields of crystallography. In my eyes, the atmosphere at the meeting of the YC was perfect to present own results for the first time. I will keep this meeting in grateful memory, since the organizers announced my current PhD project. In 2016, I presented the results of my Master’s thesis at the “Annual Meeting of the DGK” in Karlsruhe. Additionally, I had the chance to chair one of the Lightning Talk Sessions. When I was asked, if I could imagine being the next co-chair of the YC and working together with Khai, I was very surprised but also curious about this new possibility. When they also asked Michael, with whom I have studied and being close friends since several years, we decided to succeed together. Since we are both working on our PhD’s in Cologne at different institutes, we can work together perfectly whilst representing the diversity of crystallography.

What do you want to make your task as a co-chair?

As a co-chair of the YC, I want to bring together (PhD) students and PostDocs from different parts of crystallography. I want to encourage co-operations between different institutes. Whilst being part of a CRC, I am working with physicists and know how important the collaboration between different disciplines of the academic field is.

Obviously, I would like to show people how important, fascinating and diverse crystallography can be. In my opinion, the YC are such an important platform for students, PhD students, and postdocs in our scientific community. Since mostly PhD students and postdocs are members of the YC, I would like to encourage young students to take part at meetings. By personal experience, I know how important it is to get first insights into research as early as possible. However, not only the recruitment and integration of students into the YC should be a goal. Similarly, I want to support networking between the members of the YC and senior scientists and professors from the academic field, as well as companies from industry.

One of the most important tasks for me as a chair of the YC will be the organisation of our meeting next year. Normally, we meet in the facilities of STOE with 20-25 members of the YC for a Lab Meeting. In 2019, we want to start a cooperation with the Young Crystal Growers from the German Association of Crystal Growth (DGKK) and meet together in Darmstadt with up to 60 members.

I am very excited to be one of the two new co-chairs. I hope that I will represent the YC as good as possible. If you have any suggestions or ideas regarding the YC, feel free to talk to us.

Where do you see the „Arbeitskreis“ Young Crystallographers in the future?

I hope that the Young Crystallographers will still be an important part of the DGK. As the YC represent the new generation of scientists, I hope that we still bring forward our own ideas into the DGK in the future. It would be great if we can help more young students to find their way into research and thereby increase the number of active members of the YC. Additionally, it should be a goal to make crystallography more known in society.

How do you want others to remember you as a co-chair?

I would want others to remember a great meeting together with the Young Crystal Growers. Subsequently, it would be nice if such a joint-meeting could be repeated.