(Zoltan had to leave early, so we only have a picture of his award.)
Zoltan Balogh-Michels was awarded with one of the poster prizes for his Lightning Talk and Poster during the DGK Meeting in Karlsruhe. He studied in his master and PhD years at the University of Debrecen in Hungary. His topic was nanoscale diffusion, studying kinetics with each possible in-situ methods, XPS, Auger-electrons and of course XRD. Since they did not have all the necessary instruments, Zoltan spent six months in Ulm and in Marseille for measurements. After he finished his PhD, Zoltan continued with as a Post-Doc in Münster where he worked on atom probe tomography. This time the activities centered around a tool rather than a topic, but “diffusion” and “nanoscale” accompanied him there, too. In 2014 the whole lab is relocated from Münster to Stuttgart and this is where he found XRD again in the form of two old Siemens(!) D-5000 instruments which had to be brought back to service. From the October 2015 on, he is at the Center of X-ray Analytics in Empa-Dübendorf responsible both for HR-XRD and non-ambient XRD.
What fascinates you most about stainless steel?
So stainless steel, it is a material class with over 100 years of application history. It must have been thoroughly researched and we should know everything about these materials. Except that we don’t. It is a very versatile material class, even from a research topic point of view.
What was the most interesting moment in your research so far?
The first real research results are always special, in my master I was involved in magnetic measurements with a “purpose-built” (or in other words home-brewed) instrument. After six month of less than fruitful work finally one idea just worked and the curves just started to look right, although at that point we did not really know what would a correct measurement would resemble. After that it was just another six month of hard work we just got our results. But we already knew that we will win in the end.
What was the biggest obstacle you had to face so far and how did you solved it?
The biggest obstacle for me was to trust that the students can do it. Regarding my first student, if I had the choice, I would have done the measurement, the evaluation, the writing, the conferences, so basically everything. Fortunately that was no option, because he wanted to do his job. After some time they convinced me that they are all capable. Indeed this poster price belongs at least halfway to Alexander Faeht, a Master Student involved in this research.
Have you had any special way to prepare your talk?
I do not think it is special, but I always practice them till I can do it in the given time slot (I hope I did not disturb the other hotel guests). Monday night [the night before the talk, -Ed.] the talk was still 10 minutes long, so there was quite a few things to adjust.