The Tandemstory

Science-oriented – Mentoring for Scientists

Foto: Astrid Eckert

Foto: Astrid Eckert

Mentor: Prof. Dr. Amaresh Chakrabarti TUM Research Alumni and TUM Ambassador
Professor, Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing,
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

Mentee: Paul Bockelmann During the mentorship (2013/2014) and today.:
Doctoral studies of Mechanical Engineering,
Research Associate at the Chair of Carbon Composites

“Thanks to my mentor, I am learning how to conduct scientific research.” Paul Bockelmann, mentee

A real researcher must have intercultural contacts.
In 2013, Prof. Amaresh Chakrabarti stayed at TUM as a guest researcher for several months. He is the founder of the IdeasLab and Professor at the Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. After an alumni-event, he spontaneously agreed to serve as a mentor for the doctoral student Paul Bockelmann. Together, the formed the first “Mentoring for Scientists”-tandem.
Professor Chakrabarti, what was your motivation to start this “Mentoring for Scientists”-Tandem?
Chakrabarti: I have an interest in Paul’s work. He is working on composites. And composites are one of the future directions that everybody is looking at, because they are much lighter than steel and other metals and probably perform as good. He also has an interest in coming to India and doing his research with me for several months – and we have in fact just written a proposal to the Bayerische Forschungsstiftung.

Are you also talking about how to become a scientist?
Bockelmann: I get a lot of support from Mr. Chakrabarti and this gives me a feeling about how, for example, to conduct science properly – or thoughts on how I can reflect on how to become a scientist or to write a thesis; Also, we talk about very specific things, for instance how to fund, how to organise the project.

What about intercultural contact? Is it a benefit?
Chakrabarti: I think so, it’s not just a benefit, it’s essential nowadays. If you want to be a researcher with international recognition, you must have intercultural contacts and intercultural competence.

And what about the meaning of interdisciplinary exchange?
Bockelmann: I think basically it depends on your research. If you try to see the things that you work on systematically, there are certain other disciplines which you have to consider, and then it is very beneficial to get in contact and to work in an interdisciplinary manner.
Chakrabarti: Well, I work in the field of design; it can’t get more interdisciplinary than that. I cannot imagine that any kind of science can be done today on one’s own. You can read papers and try – but you will still be very, very myopic.

Foto: Astrid Eckert

Foto: Astrid Eckert

Can you imagine mentoring online without meeting physically?
Chakrabarti: It would be interesting as well, in order to see what turns out. I’m a designer – so I would like to see what happens. But normally my experience has been that if you have met at least once, this improves the quality of the interaction.


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