Author: Ray Kuldeep

Networking during PhD

The journey of doctoral research is full of excitement and intellectual stimulation. As a doctoral candidate, we spend a lot of time delving into the depths of our research topics, analysing and assimilating new knowledge each day and acquiring new skills that goes on to shape our careers in the future. While our main focus is on working on our research topics and contribute to the advancement of the scientific knowledge, the major aspect of building a professional network is often overlooked. The main reasons for not neglecting professional networking during your PhD are:

1. Expanding your knowledge and perspectives by exchanging ideas with fellow researchers and scholars

2. Identifying potential collaborators and building a framework for joint publications, grants and projects

3. Gaining insights into industry trends, career paths and job opportunities and establishing relationships with experienced professionals for guidance

4. Gaining access to funding opportunities and resources like specialized equipment, facilities and expertise not available at your own institution

5. Enhancing communication and presentation skills

As part of SPEAR, I get to benefit from both industrial and academic networking opportunities. I have gained insights into how an industrial entity functions by sharing my results and exchanging ideas in team meetings and meetings with partners at Antaios. I also try to take advantage of the rich scientific culture in Grenoble. Last month, I had the opportunity to present my work at Rencontres des Jeunes Physicien(ne)s, 2023. Many young physicists from Grenoble presented their work ranging from biophysics to astronomy. It was a fruitful day where we learnt about nature photography and some awe-inspiring photos from the James Webb Telescope.

Barbecue Lunch with Antaios family (with Marco, ESR3)

SPEAR training sessions are an excellent opportunity for networking. We not only build strong connections within ourselves but also exchange ideas with the invited speakers who bring a wide range of ideas, experience and technical expertise. We get a chance to develop a collaborative project in a new environment during our secondments. Last few months, we hosted Marco (ESR 3) at Antaios and we had a great time discussing results, exchanging ideas and spending hours in the lab. I am looking forward to my secondment at ETH Zurich for a beautiful Swiss experience and to benefit from their expertise in spin orbit torques.

European School of Magnetism – Two weeks of training, fun and friendships

What happens when you take around a hundred students working in the field of magnetism and put them in the same place? You end up with a mix of intriguing ideas, intense discussions, heated sports sessions, and lots of fun. This is how I would describe the two weeks in the mid of September spent in the European School of Magnetism (ESM) in Saarbrucken. It was a nice opportunity to meet new people, form new connections and get together with fellow ESRs (Eoin (ESR1), Marco (ESR3), Salvatore (ESR7), Paolo (ESR8), Sergio (ESR9), Vishesh (ESR11) and Zhewen (ESR13)).

Me (ESR14), Salvatore (ESR7), Paolo (ESR8), Vishesh (ESR11), Zhewen (ESR13), Marco (ESR3), Eoin (ESR1) and Sergio (ESR9) during the European School of Magnetism in Saarbrucken, Germany

Leading professors and researchers from various fields of magnetism gave lectures on topics ranging from fundamentals of magnetism to applications. I was fascinated by how some properties that we generally take for granted have such complex origins. It was also interesting to learn about the wide variety of magnetic materials (ferromagnetic, antiferromagnetic, ferrimagnetic, multiferroics, magnetocaloric, magnetoelectric, etc) and their wide range of applications. Some lectures were organized to give the participants an industrial perspective on the field of magnetism which were really helpful for people willing to go to the industry or start their own venture. Some volunteers from the participants were also given the opportunity to chair lecture sessions. I also had the opportunity to chair a session by Johannes Paulides on Electric motors and generators.

Chairing a lecture session by Johannes Paulides from Advanced Electromagnetics on electric motors and generators

We also had the opportunity to experience a day of practical experiments in the labs of Technische Universitat of Kaiserslautern and Institut Jean Lamour in Nancy. We were divided into groups and sent to one of the two institutions. My group got the opportunity some broadband ferromagnetic resonance (BB-FMR) measurements at TU Kaiserslautern. It was interesting to carry out experiments outside the scope of my project.

Since the theme for this year was “Basic magnetism for sustainable development”, a crucial element of the school was student projects to solve sustainability issues using magnetism. Along with Marco (ESR3) and other participants, our group tackled the issue of energy efficiency in computation using neuromorphic computing. We presented a range of magnetoelectric, spintronic, and magnonic devices and architectures that can potentially solve this issue. Overall, it was an amazing experience interacting with people from different backgrounds and working on different projects. Surely, the seeds of many potential collaborations and partnerships were sown over the food table, coffee breaks, poster sessions, and late-night discussions, which will reap rewards in the future. In my opinion, if you are working in the field of magnetism, you should attend a session of ESM during your Ph.D.

Last evening of the European School of Magnetism 2022

Grenoble – Convergence of Science, Technology and Nature

It has been a few weeks since I started working at Antaios in Grenoble. Surrounded by the Chartreuse, the Vercors, and the Belledonne mountain chains, Grenoble serves as a gateway to the Alps. These mountain chains act as a directional reference for the people of Grenoble. For example, the doors to our office in Meylan are named after the mountain chains they face, Chartreuse and Belledonne.

Grenoble is a city full of adventure sports enthusiasts with activities ranging from hiking and rock climbing to skiing and snowboarding. I intend to take full advantage of these opportunities. One of the most common is the hike to the Fort de la Bastille. It is very easy to be enchanted by the bird’s eye view of the city from the top, especially during sunset or sunrise.

The rivers, Drac and Isére, add to the natural beauty of the city. Positioned at the convergence of these rivers lies the Polygone Scientifique which is home to many research laboratories like Spintec, Institut Néel, and European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF). I got a chance to visit Spintec and get a glimpse of these reputed research facilities.

Antaios feels more like a big family than a company to me. My colleagues introduced me to the French tradition of the Galette des Rois. Some of us bring a special cake, called the Galette des Rois, cut into multiple pieces. In one of the cake pieces is a small figurine. If you happen to have it in yours, you are declared the “King of the Day” and then it is your turn to get the Galette des Rois next.

Apart from such traditions, I am currently receiving training on different measurement techniques, simulation software, and design tools. It has been quite an interesting experience working with helpful and experienced colleagues. Everyday brings new knowledge and exciting challenges in the form of training and discussions. I look forward to working and learning with everyone at Antaios.  

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