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First Mildred Dresselhaus Guest Professor has arrived

Spanish Physicist Dr. Rosario González-Férez starts research at CUI

“We could do this interview in German as well”, says Dr. Rosario González-Férez. Last weekend the theoretical physicist from Murcia in the southeast of Spain has arrived in Hamburg. However, Germany is not unknown to the Associate Professor at the Instituto “Carlos I” de Fisica Teorica y Computacional in Granada: Altogether Dr. Rosario González-Férez had already spent five years in Germany – among others as Alexander von Humboldt scholar and “Plan Propio de la Universidad de Granada” scholar at Universität Heidelberg. There she did research as a Postdoc in Professor Peter Schmelcher’s group and thus laid the foundations for collaborating permanently.

For the next four months Dr. Rosario González-Férez will work as the first Mildred Dresselhaus Guest Professor at CUI. As permitted by her teaching responsibilities in Granada, further two months will follow next year. The programme, to which Mildred Dresselhaus in the Department of Physics at MIT has given her name, provides excellent research conditions for international outstanding women researchers and leaves it up to them to focus on a particular research topic and give lectures. The programme is part of an ambitious Action Plan: Each year CUI will invite two female scientists as Mildred Dresselhaus Guest Professors in order to start new collaborations, intensify established contacts, and to create role models for young women in physics.

On the question of role models, Dr. Rosario González-Férez quickly hints at Marie Curie; however, in fact physics has always interested her independently of anybody – especially the question of how things work in detail. At the beginning of the 90ties, it was not possible to study physics at the comparatively small university in Murcia. Thus Dr. Rosario González-Féréz convinced her parents to let her move to Granada. Her first idea was to study Astrophysics – but then she ended up with Quantum and Molecular Physics.

At the CUI and in collaboration with Professor Jochen Küpper, the physicist concentrates on understanding molecules in mixed electric laser fields. In collaboration with Professor Peter Schmelcher, her second focus is on Rydberg molecules in external fields. Concerning her methods, she investigates quantum systems beyond adiabatic approximations.

During the winter semester Dr. Rosario González-Férez is planning to give a block lecture on her research field because, so she says: “It is very important to get this knowledge.” Besides a good organization and the very good research facilities in Germany, the scientist also appreciates the large research groups as they are customary here, because they enable a lot of discussions.

Although winter is in store for her and she has never before lived in such a big city, Dr. Rosario González-Férez thinks Hamburg to be “very beautiful, a nice city”. One of her hobbies at home, by the way, is hiking – 3500 meter above sea level in the Sierra Nevada.