When we talk to Gopi he sits in his family’s backyard in India, a long postponed vacation time in January. PhD student in Eva Unger’s group he shares about the importance to reconnect to nature as well as keeping focussed during his PhD.
You started nearly 2 years ago your PhD at the HZB, tell us a bit more about your background.
It is rather simple; I am passionate about new technologies and this was my motivation for starting a PhD in perovskite solar cells. Before I did my master in Organic and Molecular Electronics at the Technical University of Dresden. When I looked for positions, I saw that they were printing solar cells at the HZB, so I got very excited about that and applied.
Since you started, what is new in the PhD experience?
Probably the main difficulty is to project your plans and to see where the journey will lead you.
Also, time management is critical! At every corner in your readings, you get drifted away by other topics or interesting elements, but this takes you away from your work and your own motivation.
I had to learn to focus, to keep an eye on my main motivation, my topic: Semi transparent perovskite solar cells and to scale it to a larger area. During the last year, I have learnt in the process to focus, to set a goal and plan how to structure the experiments.
What is your central learning from the first two years?
To structure my work! In an article or in a thesis, your writing reflects your work and to structure it in the beginning will help in the future. It makes it easier.
How do you manage writing a PhD during the pandemic?
There are various points; however, I would like to mention the most important one for me. Having the time to think about my work. Of course, in the PhD there is the challenge to develop a goal, however it is also important to reflect on things. The pandemic gives me the opportunity to analyse my work, see what I can do better in the future.
What do you do if you are not writing your thesis?
I am a cyclist – I love taking my bike and cycle along in the outskirts of Berlin, looking for horses and cows… being immersed in the nature, breathe fresh air. It is like a natural refill of my batteries.
I did some amazing distances in the past: Dresden to Prague and Dresden to Berlin, this trip took me nearly 15 hours – it is quite unforgettable experience.
Which piece of advice would you share with someone starting a PhD?
Personally, I feel it is always important to keep in touch with other PhD students, your colleagues. They can be supportive, asking questions… this helps a lot. However, keep focussed on your topic, do not get interested in other things, otherwise it gets messy. And I also like to speak with my supervisor once a week to touch base!
Thank you for this interview Gopi Paramasivam.
Did you like this interview? You may enjoy also reading other interviews in the series #phdlife: science.hzbblog.de/tag/phdlife