"My curiosity extends down to nanoparticles."
Interview with Carsten Prinz, division Structure Analysis
How long have you been working for BAM and what are your responsibilities?
I have been working for BAM since 1991 and my main activity has been the structural analysis of porous solids and powders using mercury porosimetry, gas sorption and helium pycnometry. I have been working at the Helmholtz Centre (BESSY II electron storage ring) at the mySpot Beamline for a few years and the new task of phase and structural analysis using flash DSC technology has been added.
BAM’s mission statement says: "We are working for a strong safety culture in Germany and safety standards that meet our future’s highest requirements." What contribution do you make to safety in technology and chemistry with your work?
The answer is manifold. We work in an accredited laboratory and deliver high quality results. We certify reference materials for our pore analysis focus area and sell them worldwide. We are thus making a contribution to quality assurance in industry and research so that analyses can be carried out with confidence. We perform audit tasks for product monitoring and measurements to support research.
What has been your most exciting task or most exciting project?
Our division has a scheduled period of measurement time available at the Helmholtz Centre Berlin (BESSY II) at the mySpot Beamline each year. Our Ph.D. students conduct structure determinations there using synchrotron radiation and different experimental setups. I have supported them in this work for a few years. This is a very exciting field for me, which offers great variety.
What do you love about your work? What inspires you?
Of most importance to me is that our topic and team are acknowledged. The sense of acceptance and trust by our Head of Division is a strong motivation for me! I realise again and again that there are many open questions in our field of work that we have never dealt with. We develop our knowledge together with colleagues that come to us with particular problems. The emerging positive results are then a great endorsement that one has acted properly and is on the right track, which provides enormous incentive. My statement is that one should not stand still but should strive to continue expanding one’s knowledge, use every opportunity and gain experience.
What are the three most important conditions for knowledge transfer and cooperation within BAM for you?
Open communication between employees and divisions. The opportunity to work together on BAM’s central projects and good networking.
What would you answer to an applicant’s question: "Why is it worthwhile working for BAM?"
It is the versatility and expertise of our institute! As an authority we use a wide range of scientific methods for our investigations and have decades of experience in these fields. As a member of staff one is active in a specific field within a division, but a large number of analytical methods are available to tackle advanced problems.