Many colleagues are currently working in their home offices, exchanging information by telephone or video conferencing. Nevertheless, we still lack the opportunity to meet other colleagues simply in the hallway or in the kitchen. That’s why we are shifting “hallway conversations” to the digital. Today we introduce Astrid Brandt, who works in user coordination.

How do you start the day?

My day starts shortly before seven o’clock, because that’s when my cats want to be fed – so everything is the same as always.

What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment I’m finishing a contribution for the ‘Highlights of Physics’, which will take place in Würzburg in September. The HZB will be there with two stands on the topics “Energy and Climate” and “Environment and Medicine”. At “Environment and Medicine” the results measured at BESSY II on COVID-19 will of course be presented. I think that will be of great interest to the visitors.

What is the biggest challenge for you at the moment?

It is important to stay in contact with family and friends in spite of ‘social distancing’. That’s why I try to talk to my parents or my sister on the phone as regularly as possible. Or to use the newly discovered possibilities of online chat to stay in contact with friends. The challenge here is not to forget this in addition to the online working day, the necessary exercise in the fresh air and what has to be done in the house every day. Unfortunately, one distracts oneself far too quickly with other things…

How is the user coordination currently going? Is the FAST TRACK ACCESS used for research on Corona and how does it work exactly?

The operation of BESSY II and thus the user operation is currently suspended. The exception is the FAST TRACK ACCESS for SARS-CoV-2 research. Users who want to do research directly on Corona can easily contact Manfred Weiss of the MX Group. The project is discussed together and then the users send their samples in a container (Dewar) with liquid nitrogen to BESSY II. Meanwhile BESSY II is made operational again within one day. As soon as the dewar with the samples has arrived, the measurements will be performed by the MX-group of HZB. From April 1-3 the first samples were on site.

What are you most looking forward to when this time is over?

In any case to see more than just my family again. I miss my colleagues, I miss my friends, my choir rehearsals and the regular dance training. It is the little chats, the laughing and the common activities that I miss the most. But I also hope that we will keep some of the things that we are learning now, also in the future. Show consideration for others, be there for others. Not always wanting to dance at all weddings, but to pause and enjoy what you have.

Questions by Jennifer Bierbaum