FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg

DIPHER 2022 - Diversity in physics for the diversity of physics - Erlangen

The Physics Department of the FAU offers a wide range of diverse research topics: soft matter physics, physics of the universe, and physics of light and matter interaction. But the diversity of research is also reflected in the diversity of the people working and studying in the Physics Department. DIPHER 2022 connects both aspects of diversity and combines talks on physics and on gender and diversity alongside workshops and panel discussions. The invited talks will cover a broad introduction to the various research topics as well as some aspects on the speaker‘s  individual experience on gender and diversity. We invite and welcome persons of all academic levels – from undergraduate students to professors - to participate in the various sessions of the conference. The overall goal of DIPHER 2022 is to raise awareness for aspects of gender and diversity in our everyday work and study life and to provide a platform for discussions and exchange across all academic levels.

DIPHER 2022 is organized by the Physics Department of the FAU, the  Physics Diversity Network PHYDINE and the Max-Planck-Institute for the Science of Light (MPI). Further contributors are the TRR QuCoLiMa (Quantum Cooperativity of Light and Matter), the former Cluster Engineering of Advanced Materials, the Forschungsgruppe eRO-Step and the Elite Graduate Programme Physics Advanced. 

The list of invited speakers include:

  • Gisela Anton (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg)

  • Martina Erlemann (FU Berlin)

  • Rhoda Hawkins (The University of Sheffield, UK)

  • Lavinia Heisenberg (Uni Heidelberg/ ETH Zürich)

  • Flore Kunst (Max-Planck-Institut für die Physik des Lichts)

  • Amelia Ortiz-Gil (International Astronomical Union, University of Valencia, Spain)

  • Maria Rentetzi (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg)

  • Annette Scheunpflug (University of Bamberg)

  • Kheya Sengupta (CNRS Institut de physique (INP), Marseille, France)

  • Jessica Wade (Imperial College, London, UK)


Local Organizing Committee:

Shada Abuhattum (MPL)

Laura Bláquez Martinéz (MPL)

Max Joseph Fahn (FAU)

Angela Fösel (FAU)

Kristina Giesel (FAU)

Ira Jung-Richardt (FAU)

Sabine Maier (FAU)

Gesine Murphy (MPL)

Manami Sasaki (FAU)

Kai Phillip Schmidt (FAU)

Ana-Sucana Smith (FAU)

Sandra Zech (FAU)





  • Aafia Zainab Ansar Mohideen
  • Alekhya Ghosh
  • Amelia Ortiz -Gil
  • Ana-Suncana Smith
  • Anabel Kummer
  • Anchit Srivastava
  • Andreas Schellenberger
  • Angela Fösel
  • Annette Scheunpflug
  • Arghadeep Pal
  • Arsha Maria Cherian
  • Awakezi Alifujiang
  • Carla Brunner
  • chawan ahmed
  • Christoph Schönle
  • Clarissa Höll
  • Cong Zhang
  • Dominik Geyer
  • Elena Alma Mack
  • Felix Hartmann
  • Flore Kunst
  • Friedlinde Götz-Neunhoeffer
  • Gerrit Roellinghoff
  • Gesine Murphy
  • Gisela Anton
  • Hanifah Mumtaz
  • Hans Liegener
  • Hetali Tambe
  • Hussein Hammoud
  • Ipek Saruhan
  • Ira Jung-Richardt
  • Janina Maultzsch
  • Janna Vischer
  • Jessica Wade
  • Johannes Schumann
  • Julie Maria Raju
  • Jürgen Schatz
  • Kai Phillip Schmidt
  • Kanwarpal Singh
  • Katharina Dehm
  • Katharina Egg
  • Katharina Jurk
  • Katrin Steger
  • Kheya Sengupta
  • Klaus Mecke
  • Kristina Giesel
  • Laura Blázquez Martínez
  • Lavinia Heisenberg
  • Lea Lenke
  • Lea Stadelmann
  • Louis Thirion
  • Mahboobeh Borandegi
  • Malarvizhi Ganesan
  • Manami Sasaki
  • Manjunath Shinnur
  • Maria Rentetzi
  • Marlene Schramm
  • Martina Erlemann
  • Matthias Mühlhauser
  • Mattia Livraghi
  • Max Gmelch
  • Max Joseph Fahn
  • Mohammad Noureddin
  • Mojdeh S. Najafabadi
  • Nemanja Kocic
  • Paavai Rajasekar Kavitha
  • Rhoda Hawkins
  • roman kemper
  • Ruchi Goswami
  • Ruhinda Kabonire
  • Rustam Durdyyev
  • Ryan Crisp
  • Sabine Maier
  • Sampanna Pahi
  • Sandra Zech
  • Sara Kaliman
  • Sara Li Deuso
  • Saurabh Gangwar
  • Saurabh Mittal
  • Sebastian Schindler
  • Selina Nöcker
  • Shada Abuhattum
  • shivani sharma
  • Simon Hager
  • Simone Gehrer
  • Sonja Stefanovic
  • Steven Hämmerich
  • Sumeet Sumeet
  • Tannaz Falaknaz
  • Titus Bornträger
  • Varun Shahi
  • Varvara Schaefer
  • Verena Feulner
  • Verena Leopold
  • Vincent Mauritz
  • Xuemei Gu
  • Yasmine M'hirsi
    • 15:00 16:00
      Registration 1h In front of lecture hall HF

      In front of lecture hall HF

      In front of lecture hall HF

    • 16:00 16:30
      Welcome Opening 30m Lecture hall HF

      Lecture hall HF

    • 16:30 17:15
      Inclusive outreach in Astronomy 45m Lecture hall HF

      Lecture hall HF

      I will present an outline of the astronomical outreach activities and resources that we have developed at the Astronomical Observatory of the University of Valencia in Spain. Our first attempts to organise activities for special publics made us notice the lack of resources inclusive enough to serve different kinds of persons in the same audience. We embarked then in the development of inclusive resources following the Universal Design for Learning framework with the help of special education educators and put together the project “A Touch of the Universe” (https://astrokit.uv.es), with the goal of sharing these resources. In order to foster the exchange of information in the community, the International Astronomical Union decided to create the Working Group on Astronomy for Equity and Inclusion at the International Astronomical Union. Recently, also the European Astronomical Society has created a similar working group on Inclusion.
      Inclusion is, therefore, becoming an important topic in the different astronomical institutions’ agendas because of the many benefits that an inclusive and accessible research environment has in terms of excellence for research, not to mention the benefits at personal level for the researchers themselves.

      Speaker: Amelia Ortiz-Gil (Observatorio Astronómico - Universidad de Valencia)
    • 17:15 18:00
      To be diverse we need to raise gender awareness in physics 45m Lecture hall HF

      Lecture hall HF

      On February 11, 2021 UNESCO premiered a short video entitled “to be smart, the digital revolution will need to be inclusive." The clip marked the 2021 International Day of Women and Girls in Science and was triggered by the organization’s report on gender in science for that year. Major findings were that despite a shortage of skills in technological fields women still account for only 28% of engineering graduates and 40% of graduates in computer science and informatics. UNESCO’s recommendation is that we need to transform gender relations by eliminating gender stereotypes in education and in the work place. “We need to ensure that men and women enjoy equal opportunity and equal pay.” I argue that this is not enough. Based on my research on the history of radioactivity and nuclear physics I suggest that instead of trying to alter the social aspects of women’s work in physics it is time to focus on how we can transform physics and make the discipline more diverse and inclusive.

      Speaker: Maria Rentetzi (Chair on Science, Technology and Gender Studies Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg)
    • 18:30 21:30
      Conference Dinner 3h Foyer lecture halls

      Foyer lecture halls

    • 09:00 09:45
      Theoretical biophysics of cells: simplification and diversity 45m Lecture hall HF

      Lecture hall HF

      As a theoretical physicist I need to simplify the huge complexity of biological systems to have any chance of understanding something. As a biophysicist working in an interdisciplinary field I need to work with a diverse range of different types of scientists to have any chance of understanding something. Thus my work involves simplification and diversity. In this talk I will first introduce my research in modelling biological cell mechanics, migration and deformation. Most of what I work on has something to do with the cytoskeleton, which is a fascinating "active" (out of equilibrium) biopolymer network. As well as the properties of this material, I'm also interested in potential applications to biology and medicine.
      I will also discuss some of my personal experiences of diversity during my career. As a white Christian woman in physics, I find myself sometimes part of a majority and sometimes a minority. Like many challenges, being different is sometimes tough but sometimes rewarding. I will highlight what I think are the main diversity challenges we currently have and potential reasons why such problems still persist. I will then outline ways I am trying to help, in particular through my involvement with the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS). Finally I will suggest things we might be able to do together to improve diversity in our scientific communities.

      Speaker: Rhoda J Hawkins (Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Sheffield)
    • 09:45 10:30
      Science, society and storytelling 45m Lecture hall HF

      Lecture hall HF

      Diverse teams do better science: it’s more highly cited, it’s more impactful and it’s more reflective of the societies it serves. Despite that, the representation of women physicists in Germany – and around the world – is still extraordinarily low. Academic hierarchies, funding provides and the ongoing pandemic only perpetuate these inequalities. Jess will talk about how who we talk about matters, and the importance of science communication and awareness of the universality of (historic and present) scientific contributions for global human development. She’ll also discuss her efforts to increase visibility of scientists from historically marginalised groups on Wikipedia, her research in materials science and nanotechnology, the power of social media for early career researchers and her children’s picture book ‘Nano, the Spectacular Science of the Very (Very) Small’.

      Speaker: Jessica Wade (Imperial College, London, UK)
    • 10:30 11:00
      Coffee Break 30m Foyer lecture halls

      Foyer lecture halls

    • 11:00 11:45
      Gender differences in natural sciences in German schools 45m Lecture hall HF

      Lecture hall HF

      In Germany, competence measurements in schools in mathematics, natural science and reading show gender differences, which continue to intensify until the choice of field of study (Schiepe-Tiska, Simm & Schmidtner 2016; MINT Nachwuchsbarometer 2022).
      In this presentation, I will describe these gender differences and try to explain them against the background of different theoretical propositions. Possible consequences for science education and for the study entry phase will be discussed.

      Speaker: Annette Scheunpflug (University of Bamberg)
    • 12:00 13:00
      Dark Gravity 1h Lecture hall HH

      Lecture hall HH

      After introducing General Relativity from a variety of geometrical and field-theoretical perspesctives, I will discuss its implications for the observable Universe. Some puzzles and challenges arise when cosmological and astrophysical observations are applied, since the inclusion of 3 dark sectors is needed. What is the dark energy, the dark matter and the inflaton field? I will discuss some attempts to answer this question and how we can scrutinize them.

      Speaker: Lavinia Heisenberg (Uni Heidelberg/ ETH Zürich)
    • 13:00 14:00
      Lunch Break 1h Foyer lecture halls

      Foyer lecture halls

    • 14:00 15:30
      Round Table: Your own experience with gender and diversity, open discussion I with Maria Rentetzi 1h 30m Lectur hall HF

      Lectur hall HF

    • 14:00 17:30
      Workshop: Unconsious Bias 3h 30m SR 02.729

      SR 02.729

      Speaker: Tannaz Falaknaz (EAF Berlin)
    • 15:30 16:00
      Coffee Break 30m In front of lecture hall HF

      In front of lecture hall HF

    • 16:00 17:30
      Round table: Your own experience with gender and diversity, open discussion II with Amelia Ortiz-Gil 1h 30m Lecture hall HF

      Lecture hall HF

    • 18:00 21:00
      Students Speaker's Corners with Dinner 3h Max Planck Institute

      Max Planck Institute

    • 09:00 09:45
      Panel Discussion: Family and Carreer 45m Lecture hall HF

      Lecture hall HF

    • 09:45 10:30
      Panel Discussion: Migration to Germany 45m Lecture hall HF

      Lecture hall HF

    • 10:30 11:00
      Coffee Break 30m Foyer lecture halls

      Foyer lecture halls

    • 11:00 11:45
      "Well, you are a woman after all" and also some physics 45m Lecture hall HF

      Lecture hall HF

      During this talk, I will discuss my experiences as a woman in physics as well as introduce my research. My current research focusses on non-Hermitian topological phenomena using non-Hermitian Hamiltonians, which form a useful approach to describe dissipation. I will mention fascinating recent results in this field relating to the breakdown of the famed bulk-boundary correspondence, exceptional points and symmetries and the effects of non-Hermitian baths on the dynamics of quantum emitters.

      Speaker: Flore Kunst (MPI for the Science of Light)
    • 11:45 12:30
      To spread or not to spread - the mechnosensitive dilemma of T cells 45m Lecture hall HF

      Lecture hall HF

      The ability of a T cell to explore environmental mechanical cues, through bonds formed by its special receptors called T cell receptors (TCRs), is crucial for the first steps of immune recognition. While the mechanobiology of the TCR at the molecular level is increasingly well documented, its link to cell-scale response is poorly understood. We show that the response of T cells, quantified in terms of their spreading behaviour, is biphasic with substrate stiffness when mediated through TCRs [1]. However, when the ligands of the T cell integrins are additionally involved, the cellular response becomes monotonic [1]. This ligand-specific mechanosensing is effected through an actin-polymerization–dependent mechanism [2]. Based on a mesoscale model, this unusual response can be attributed to differences in force sensitivity and effective stiffness of the link formed between the ligand/receptor pairs and the actin cytoskeleton [1,2], whose mechanics was be probed by tether pulling [3]. This may provide a general mechanism for immune cells to discriminate mechanosensitive bonds.

      [1] . A. Wahl, C. Dinet, P. Dillard, A. Nassereddine, P-H. Puech, L. Limozin, and K. Sengupta, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 116, 5908 (2019)

      [2] P. Dillard, R. Varma, L. Limozin and K. Sengupta., Biophys J. 107, 2629 (2014).

      [3] F. Manca , G. Eich , O. N'Dao , L. Normand , K. Sengupta , L. Limozin , P-H. Puech.

      Speaker: Kheya Sengupta (CNRS Institut de physique (INP), Marseille, France)
    • 12:30 13:30
      Lunch Break 1h Mensa


    • 13:30 14:15
      The Search for Cosmic Neutrinos at the South Pole 45m Lecture hall HF

      Lecture hall HF

      Astronomy is normally done with light. We detect the light from distant objects in our telescope and start to think about its origin. What are the objects which emit this light and how can they do this? We can go a step further and ask what other kind of information from such objects can reach us at Earth. Neutrinos are an example of such another kind of messenger. I will introduce the research which is addressed with neutrino telescopes and I will present the IceCube detector, which is the largest neutrino telescope at Earth involving great technological challenges at an extreme site.

      Speaker: Gisela Anton (FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg)
    • 14:15 15:00
      Gender & Diversity in the Cultures of Physics 45m Lecture hall HF

      Lecture hall HF

      In the last decades there has been a growing awareness that a scientist's gender can have an impact on a successful career in physics, even though it should have no influence. Moreover also other categories of diversity and their impact on a career in science get more and more attention. The talk will present research on gender and diversity in physics with a particular
      focus on studies on the workplace cultures in physics and their impact on young scientists' sense of belonging to the physics community.

      Speaker: Martina Erlemann (Freie Universität Berlin, Dept. of Physics)
    • 15:00 15:30
      Closing Remarks 30m Lecture hall HF

      Lecture hall HF