Sonja Gerlach

Who are you and what do you do? Who are your partners?
I am Sonja Gerlach, 28, PhD student at the faculty of physics at LMU Munich. In our research group, we study the acceleration of particles with high-performance lasers. My industrial partner in the Software Campus is TRUMPF.

When did you join Software Campus and why are you in the program?
I joined the Software Campus in 2022. The program is a unique opportunity for me to be able to implement my own ideas on a high-performance laser. In addition to the technical knowledge, I am gaining leadership experience as a project manager in the process. In addition, I am supported in the development of soft skills in many seminars. Since the seminars usually take place at the industrial partners, you also get an insight into these companies – as a little extra, you could say.

What is the content of your IT project and how could it be applied in the future?
In my IT project I deal with the necessary software infrastructure to use high-performance lasers for the acceleration of ions. In principle, particle acceleration with lasers is an exciting topic on its own as basic research, but possible applications are already taking place: for example, in the further development of tumor treatments through radiation therapy. The scientific goal in my project is to optimize the possible input parameters of the laser for ion acceleration. First of all, this means that more parts of the system can be controlled automatically than before. This will also make our system easier to use, which will bring our research closer to industry – as automation is necessary for such systems to be used by operators in the future.

What app/technical invention could you not live without?
The Deutsche Bahn app. I think I would have to walk home a lot….

What is your heart beating for – besides job and software campus?
In my private life I like to go hiking, in general I like to be in nature. I also enjoy spending time with my family and friends, preferably over delicious food. I can unwind by baking and doing puzzles, especially in the winter.