Dr. Frank Smallenburg and Prof. Dr. Hartmut Löwen

Dr. Frank Smallenburg, Dutch, studied Physics and did his PhD, both at Utrecht University, the Nederlands. He then went for a two-year postdoc to Sapienza University in Rome, Italy. In September 2014 he came to Düsseldorf for his second Postdoc. He is a Humboldt Fellow with Prof. Harmut Löwen in the group of Theoretical Physics – Soft Matter since February 2015. His research uses theoretical approaches and computer simulations on the behaviour of active particles on the micrometer scale.

Dr. Frank Smallenburg (Photos: Uta Brunner)

Dr. Smallenburg, Prof. Löwen - How did the two of you get in contact initially?

Prof. Hartmut Löwen: I know his PhD advisor, Marjolein Dijkstra, for decades, we were in the same Collaborative Research Center and I have been part in many many PhD defences in Utrecht. We have a very strong link - and it’s only 1,5 h drive by car from here.

Dr. Frank Smallenburg: Yes, in search for my next Postdoc position I contacted Prof. Löwen and asked whether we could write a grant together. 

How do you benefit from AvH funding?

Dr. Frank Smallenburg: There is a great flexibility of the Humboldt fellowship. You just get the money, it is a quick reviewing process and soon after you can start working.  Also in terms of research we are free to do whatever we like. In our field we have to adjust projects rather quickly and that is possible with the AvH scholarship. The Humboldt foundation is also giving a really good support to their fellows.

Prof. Dr. Hartmut Löwen

Prof. Löwen, how do you benefit from hosting an AvH scholar? And did you host other AvH scholars before?

Prof. Hartmut Löwen: The Humboldt fellowship is a rather prestigious fellowship and it is recognized as such also in our field of research. Once you have such a fellowship you are part of the „Humboldt family“ for the rest of your life. Humboldt fellows are very excellent scientists. In combination with the flexibility of the fellowship you have the best options to work and publish together. Frank is the fourth Humboldt fellow in our group.

Is there a joint publication or project proposal that already results from your stay at HHU?

Prof. Hartmut Löwen: Frank did a tremendous job. He got many different projects very quickly. We have several manuscripts ready and one was already published. This one was a very very good paper as stated by the reviewers. It has received international attention already and resulted in collaboration with a group at the University of Ankara.

He is by now also very well integrated here, working together with several other groups within the Physics Department at HHU.



The interview was conducted by Uta Brunner.

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