Anke Lohmann - 2015 SPIE Women in Optics Planner
Head of Photonics, The Knowledge Transfer Network, UK
Country of Birth: Germany
Educational Background: Masters of Electrical/Electronics Engineering (Dipl. Ing., German Degree) and PhD (UK) in Optical MEMS
It is difficult to tell what came first, though I think it was my father who said to me that I really should pay attention to physics at school. But I think it also came natural to me. I was inspired by Marie Curie. I wanted to be like her; I wanted to be a physicist who experimented and discovered new things. Of course, I developed very differently in the end. Today, I am heading up the Photonics team in the Knowledge Transfer Network. My role is to enable innovation in the UK based on photonics technologies coming out of both academic and industrial research teams. I need to ensure that different market sectors are aware of what photonics can do for them and make the essential introductions between organizations. Besides that, we inform the UK government about the needs of our industry to ensure that it remains competitive. I feel that in my role I can give something back to society by helping the UK to reap the benefits from research it invested in and by helping young companies to make the right connections.
I think the biggest obstacle has been myself. I am too modest and until I have done something once I show a lack of confidence even though I have a very clear idea about what should be done. This seems to be a common female characteristic. Quite often I observed that other people put themselves forward and win the work even though they were no more or even less competent than I was. With time this has taught me to act much more confident and believe in my abilities to deliver.
Follow your own path, do what you are passionate about and don't let other people tell you what is right or wrong for you. It is your own life and you are responsible for it. You are allowed to make mistakes. It is better to try and fail than forever thinking if you only just followed this dream your life would be better now.