RUB » Equal Opportunities Portal » Women in Science » Interview with Julia Tjus

Prof. Dr Julia Tjus

Short biography:
Julia Tjus is doing research and teaching at RUB since 2009. Her research area is astroparticle physics.

Julia Tjus

Interview with Julia Tjus

You are professor at the School of Physics and Astronomy – what is your work about?

In my research group, we are searching for various methods of detecting the origin of cosmic radiation. Cosmic radiation is radioactive radiation coming from space. Its origin much more difficult to detect than, say, optic light. In contrast to cosmic radiation, optic light merely flies straight.

What is it you find most fascinating about your research area?

The attempt to answer fundamental questions – this is what physics generally does. What do we know about our world? How does it develop? How is it constructed? To be able to contribute in researching these questions is incredibly exciting.

Were you planning an academic career while still being a student?

No! People in my environment often predicted I would choose this path, but I never planned it. I have always been pursuing the things I enjoy most and they led me here.

What was your plan B? What would you have done if you hadn’t become a scientist?

There are a lot of thing that appealed to me. I could have become a teacher, because I enjoy teaching. I always though journalism was very interesting and working with popular culture.

You are especially involved with the promotion of young academics, more precisely with mentoring. What is most fun about it?

The intensive contact with students. We all know how it can be in the first couple semesters: After school, you need to adapt to university structures and it is nice to hear how it works from those who have already experienced it. You also get to understand the situation and the challenges of students studying in Bachelor/Master-systems today.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

Right now I enjoy the beautiful weather! (It’s the end of June and temperatures in Bochum have reached 30 Celsius) For years now I have been going to VFL-games. And I enjoy doing sports myself, jogging for example.

If you were rector today, what would you do?

I would establish a direct bus line between the universities of Bochum, Dortmund, and Duisburg-Essen. The academic network has advanced in many areas, but it is still difficult to get to the other universities with public transport.

If we were to fast-forward to ten years time – what would you wish to have succeeded in?

Professionally I hope my research group will be able to contribute to identifying the origin of cosmic radiation. We are participating in an experiment in the Arctic, named IceCube, that is currently being constructed. I would also like to be permanently employed. So far I am a junior professor with a tenure track-option.

June 30, 2010