Review: Trip to Schneefernerhaus 2024

Better not be afraid of heights! A small cable car took our PhD students to the top of Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze. From 18th–19th January 2024, our group visited the Schneefernerhaus, Germany’s highest environmental research station, concerned with atmospheric and hydrological science. Marking roughly halftime of the four years IDK timeline, the organizing team around Kirsten Twelbeck, Simone Müller, Matthias Schmidt as well as Sasha Gora hosted a soft skills workshop under the motto “Taming the Beast: Where does my Dissertation go from Now?” Over the course of two days, we discussed fears, hopes and motivations of the PhD journey so far and, more importantly, for further steps to come. “What happened so far?”, “How to deal with crisis?” and “Working productively” were the main discussions of the soft skill part. We worked in small groups, discussed possible revisions of our current chapters, and compared different approaches to general thesis outlines. The productive atmosphere of this scenic locations brought out the best in the group discussions. Of course, we could not miss out on the research and geographical environment, as well. The geographer Laura Schmidt, who graduated from the University of Augsburg, gave a truly interdisciplinary tour of the Schneefernerhaus. She combined fascinating information about the historical background of the former hotel with in-depth explanations concerning the research agenda of the research station. The group had the chance to see various high-tech instruments that are used by the scientists and research groups that work with the research station. An excursion to the tip of Zugspitze, where a stunning –19 °C awaited us, marked the end of this inspiring trip.

–  Written by Christian Schnurr