MAINZ Summer School: "New Directions in Spintronics Research - Spin, Charge and Light"

The summer school “New Directions in Spintronics Research – Spin, Charge and Light” took place in Shanghai from 9th to 16th of October. This was the first out of three annual schools, organized by the MAINZ Graduate School with kind financial support by the DAAD (https://www.daad.de/en/). The goal of the school was twofold: Firstly, it presented the versatile field of spintronics from the perspective of both physicists and chemists to the participants. Furthermore, it facilitated networking and cultural exchange between German and Chinese faculties, especially among the students. The welcome evening started with a presentation of the MAINZ Graduate School by Michael Fuchs. Afterwards, Susanne Günther from the DAAD office in Shanghai explained differences and similarities between German and Chinese culture, underpinning these with a personal insight of her experience moving to China and encouraging Chinese students to come to Germany. The scientific sessions gave insights into modern materials and methods of spintronics, like photoemission spectroscopy and terahertz spectroscopy, as well as novel concepts including single molecular magnets, domain wall memory, and two-dimensional materials. The lectures stimulated animated discussions with questions and comments from both Chinese and German listeners. The conversations among all students and lecturers intensified during the two poster sessions on Monday and Wednesday.

This summer school also applied the new pedagogical concept of blended learning to enhance the effectiveness of the learning process. To this end, the speakers affiliated with the MAINZ Graduate School had kindly prepared additional online materials to make the learning process more effective. Using the OLAT (https://olat.vcrp.de/dmz/) learning management system an online portal had been created where all students had the chance to watch videos recorded by the speakers, read introductory essays and work on exercises beginning two months prior to the on-site lectures. This approach was well received by a majority of the students and MAINZ will continue to develop it in upcoming summer schools.

The students also appreciated the extra-activities included in the summer school program, such as an excursion to BASF Advanced Chemicals Co. Research Center Asia Pacific and an extensive tour through the State Key Laboratory of Surface Physics. Furthermore, two culinary highlights rounded off the program and made cultural exchange easier. The welcome dinner was traditionally Chinese with a stunning view of the Bund, while the celebration of the Oktoberfest included “Bratwurst und Sauerkraut” and Bavarian atmosphere almost like in Munich. Even though the scientific part came to an end on Friday, the weekend still held some program for the participants. Saturday started with a tai chi class, given by three masters of Wushu, the traditional Chinese martial art. The day continued with a city tour through Shanghai and was finally concluded with a cooking class where the students were provided with a Chinese cuisine hands-on experience. Finally, the cultural program was completed on Sunday by an introduction to the German and Chinese language, respectively. For the whole week, learning did not only take place in the classroom. In numberless conversations between Chinese and German students, all participants got an insight into the everyday live in a different culture, promoting, understanding, and increasing the chance of considering the respective other country as an opportunity for the own career.

gefördert vom DAAD aus Mitteln des Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)