Interview with Mirjam
What’s your name?
What are your hobbies?
I like any kind of outdoor sport, e.g. mountain biking, hiking, climbing, running, swimming, diving. I am traveling a lot, like to meet and to connect friends. I am interested in environmental topics and sustainability. Further, I am a member of the association “Nostalgiebahnen in Kärnten”, where I help reconstructing historical vehicles, operating steam locomotive and helping as a sailor on historical ships. I always plan to play a bit more piano again, since playing this instrument was a main part of my life during 30 years of my life. But currently I take my time for any other hobbies listed above.
What did you study and what is your highest educational attainment?
I studied Mechanical Engineering at University of Applied Sciences in Magdeburg. During my education until the Bachelor Degree in 2009 I learned how to develop concepts, designs and architectures of technical systems. Focus until my Master Degree in 2011 was development, calculation and simulation of technical systems. During my Bachelor and Master studies, very deeply Tribology education was included (for my luck), also.
My highest academical degree is the PHD, which I received from Otto-von-Guericke University in Magdeburg in 2015 after a couple of years with research in the field of Tribology. But, from an overall view, my highest academical attainment was the temporary professorship for mechanical elements and tribology in 2016 and 2017. With the background, that I would like to have more analyzing tools for solving tribology issues, I also did a postgraduate study from 2016 until 2018 in Leipzig at the University and after I finished this education, I was allowed to call me a chemist for analytic and spectroscopy.
Where do you work and what’s your position?
I am working at Magna Powertrain GmbH & Co KG in Lannach, Austria as a Tribology Expert.
Since when you are part of working group “Young Tribologists“?
In 2015 I contacted the German Association of Tribology (Gesellschaft für Tribologie e.V.) office, because I wanted to be an active part in the GfT association. Together with the GfT board the idea was born to found a working group “Young Tribologists”. Together with five other young colleagues we breathed life into the working group. I was working group leader from 2015 until 2018.
In which part of the group are you currently participating?
Currently, I coordinate the group “website and public relation work”. Sometimes, we call that group also “Marketing group”.
Why are you a member of working group “Young Tribologists”?
I think there are a couple of main reasons being a member of working group “Young Tribologists”. First of all, I wanted to be active within the German Association of Tribology and as I got the chance building up the working group I realized very soon, that this network of young people with same thinking, same technical questions, same problems with a wide range of various and interesting characters enriched me a lot. Immediately, I was a visible member of the German Association of Tribology due to the active work as a Young Tribologist. As a result this helped also growing up my network and such a network helps a lot: I got the chance building up contacts to professionals and received more technical, historical and philosophical tribology background as usual and further also positive feedback on activities of our working group, I was not alone during the coffee break any more on conferences, I got more certainty in presentations, I got the chance being a member of the scientific advisor board and at the end of the executive board – and – I found a lot of friends I do not want to miss any more.
How did you end up in the field of tribology?
It was a pure coincidence, with which I am really happy about today. I remember the end of the first semester in beginning of 2006 during my Bachelor study Mechanical Engineering at University of Applied Sciences, where our semester had to measure a shut-off valve with the goal working out technical drawings of this valve. So, and this valve was placed in the laboratory of mechanical elements and tribology. During this time I was searching a student job at the University, also and after I finished the measurement I did a bit small talk with the scientific laboratory…asking something like: “hey, what are you doing here?”…and so I got somehow the job in the tribology field. Since that time am getting into that field deeper and deeper.
What topics are you working on and are there any connections to the field of tribology?
At Magna Powertrain, I am working as a Tribology Expert in the Tribology department. Focus is on clutch and oil development for conventional and eDrive powertrain systems. Further, I am internally instructed in case of tribology issues during serial development and in case of field claims. I like my job, because due to the fact, that tribology is an interdisciplinary working field, I am operating as a “tribology connector” being in contact with many company departments as well as with customers and suppliers.
Do you have any favorite anecdote about the broad field of tribology?
I remember the time, when we built up the working group of Young Tribologists. In first meetings each new member had to introduce to himself and describe, how she or he get in touch with the field of tribology. The first explanation to this answer was in any case: “Eigentlich bin ich da einfach zufällig so reingerutscht“, which more or less means in English: “I actually slipped into that field simply random”. In the context of Tribology, this answer is very funny, because without friction we really would slip during the whole world.