Kirstin Baum

Kirstin Baum  - 2015 SPIE Women in Optics Planner

Ph.D. student; Project Manager for the Department of Physics; Initiator of the summer school "Get ahead with optics" (a summerschool project only for female scientists), Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany
Country of Birth: Germany

Educational Background: Diploma in photo-engineering and multimedia-technique, specialized in physical optics. In the last phase of my Ph.D. thesis in the field of medical optics engineering.

I am working on a diffuse optical tomography system (DOT) for small animal imaging and pre-clinical research. The principle is similar to computer tomography, but instead of ionizing radiation, DOT uses near infrared light (NIR). Besides my research, I am the initiator and head of the summer school project "Get ahead with optics" ( The aim of the program is to assist young female scientists in the dynamic and rapidly evolving field of optics and photonics by providing them with professional skills and a deeper understanding of what they need to help them to succeed as female scientists. That is why the program combines intercultural exchange, professional lectures, soft skill courses and networking opportunities. My cooperation partners and I are looking forward to the possibility of organizing the next summer school in 2015.

Being a mother and a scientist is a real challenge that I am facing at the moment. As a matter of fact, managing a family, conducting a Ph.D. thesis, and working is challenging me every day. But women are multitasking and I have an organizational-talent.

Having all of this said, I am still wondering why we still have the low women quota at high job positions. Companies that do not encourage mothers/females will miss good workers with great capabilities. From daily life, mothers managed to develop great organizational abilities and they have learned to easily resist stressful situations. Never say "I cannot do it". And never be too shy to ask questions.

The Summer School 2013 was a program of
Philipps-Universitat Marburg
University of Stuttgart
Universite de Sfax

Supported by a grant from
German-Arab Transformation Partnership

Graduiertenzentrum Lebens- und Naturwissenschaften

The Elsevier Foundation