Of small quanta and large gravitational waves: This were the "Photonics Days Jena" 2022

International demand at career and networking event for optics and photonics in Jena

With a hybrid format, the "Photonics Days Jena" again met with broad international demand this year: A total of 18 nationalities were represented at the career and networking event for students and doctoral candidates in optics and photonics, organized by the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF and the Max Planck School of Photonics. In addition to Germany, participants came primarily from Mexico and India.

Photonics Days Jena

Small things that make big waves - that's what this year's "Photonics Days Jena" was all about. Just the day before the event, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm announced that this year's Nobel Prize in Physics will go to three quantum researchers. Since then, not only an established research community, but the whole world has been looking at the importance of the smallest unit known to us, the quantum, and the potentials that lie in the application of entangled quanta.

How fitting, then, that the young talent event of Fraunhofer IOF and the Max Planck School of Photonics from October 5 to 6 also placed a significant focus on current trends and developments in quantum technologies: In the lecture series "Photonics4Future", three lectures offered participants in-depth insights into the topics of quantum communication and computing.

From small to large and back again

But the big world of small quanta was by no means the only thing that young talents and renowned researchers debated with each other: With her keynote address "Gravitational waves in a new light", Prof. Dr. Michèle Heurs introduced the participants to a topic that - in the sense of the word - is making at least as big waves in research. Finally, entrepreneur Dr. Ruth Houbertz took us back to the small things with the event's second keynote: "Miniaturization of optics - where does this journey go?"

In addition to the professional dialog, the "Photonics Days Jena" focus on one thing in particular: networking. Be it within a scientific community or with regard to one's own professional career. With an Industry Breakfast on site in Jena as well as a virtual career fair, the event offered many opportunities to get to know attractive employers in the industry and to discuss one's own career possibilities.

Face-to-face workshops in Jena, for example on science communication or academic writing, and virtual online sessions, for example on intercultural skills or "digital detoxing" in a new working world, also offered the opportunity to hone one's own social skills and scientific competencies.

Prof. Dr. Michèle Heurs speaks in her keynote.
© Fraunhofer IOF
Prof. Dr. Michèle Heurs will talk about "Gravitational waves in a new light" in her keynote address.

Next year, probably in autumn, Fraunhofer IOF and the Max Planck School of Photonics will again invite to the Photonics Days Jena. The organizers will provide information on the exact date at: www.photonicsdays.de/


About the "Photonics Days Jena"

In order to promote young talents and thus innovations in the fields of optics and photonics, Fraunhofer IOF together with the Graduate School Max Planck School of Photonics has been hosting the "Photonics Days Jena" as a networking and career event for students and PhD students since 2019. From October 05 to 06, the organizers invited to network with an international community as well as representatives of renowned companies at a hybrid event. In addition to the professional exchange, the focus was on orientation in career issues and the provision of valuable contacts for one's own professional career.

Students and doctoral candidates listen to a company presentation during breakfast.
© Fraunhofer IOF
At an Industry Breakfast, company representatives were able to get to know each other in a relaxed atmosphere.