June 11, 2020 at 9:12 am

Phillips Spends Year at Extreme Matter Institute in Darmstadt, Germany

Dr. Daniel Phillips, poetrait

Dr. Daniel Phillips

By Dr. Daniel Phillips
Professor in Astronomy & Physics and Director of the Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics

From August 2018 until June 2019 my wife, Talinn Phillips, and I were both on Faculty Fellowship Leave from Ohio University.

We — and our two children, Jack (now 8) and Elise (now 4) — spent the year in Darmstadt, Germany. I was a Visiting Professor at the Extreme Matter Institute (EMMI) at GSI. The Theoriezentrum at the Technical University of Darmstadt hosted me, and I began collaborations with Hans-Werner Hammer and Achim Schwenk, as well as their students and post-docs. I also organized workshops in Darmstadt and in Trento, Italy and gave seminars at several institutions in Germany, as well as in Sweden, Italy, France, the UK, and Canada.

Talinn (who is a faculty member in Composition & Rhetoric in OHIO’s English Department) initiated a research project with the SchreibCenter at TU Darmstadt. Jack attended third grade at the Christian Morgenstern-Schule in Darmstadt. While this was initially difficult since neither he nor we spoke much German, his teachers were very helpful and by the end of the year he was quite fluent in the language. Elise went to the Kinderhaus of the TU Darmstadt, which was conveniently located just down the street from the Theoriezentrum. By the end of our time there, she was also sufficiently advanced in German that she was correcting mine.

Our home in Darmstadt was at the Georg-Christoph-Lichtenberg-Haus, which had lovely grounds and was situated on the edge of town. However, the transition from an American family home to a two-bedroom apartment did take some adjustment.

The nice location of the Lichtenberg Haus, together with the convenience of the German public transport system and the walkability of Darmstadt, allowed us to live without a car while we were there, apart from the occasional rental for weekend trips. We took the opportunity to travel quite a bit in Germany and in the rest of Europe. One particular highlight was the Christmas Markets. We visited several; the picture is from Strasbourg.

We are looking forward to going back to Darmstadt for future trips, since our children and we made a number of friends there. The sabbatical was a very memorable year. We are already looking forward to the next one!

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