I spent the 3rd month of my Ph.D. project in Kaiserslautern. My experience there was amazing, and I learned so much during the four weeks I stayed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM. During this secondment, I had the opportunity to learn about a different way to research, which I never came in contact with. In fact, at ITWM the theoretical aspects of mathematics meet and merge with the practice. Moreover, I met a lot of talented people, starting from my colleague Davide Manfredo and his supervisor Dr.-Ing. Joachim Linn. Together with the department of Mathematics for the Digital Factory, they work on the Cosserat rod model. This model represents a beam-like structure using the centerline and a floating moving frame along the centerline. They solve this model in space and time using a discretization of the equations of motion.
During the time I spent there, Davide and I discussed the model, the boundary conditions, and the network-wide trainings (NWT) we had together. Indeed, the project proceeded with the first two NWTs. The former was more technical, it talked about continuum mechanics and the beam model. In particular, Prof. Sigrid Leyendecker taught us the basics of continuum mechanics and she focused on the different beam models, while Prof. José Escalona gave us an overview of the possible frame in the description of a system and he taught us the finite element methods (FEM). The latter focused on the soft skills, and it taught us how to give a good presentation or write a good scientific paper. Dr. Bartlett Warren-Kretzschmar taught this course, and she encouraged us to put ourselves on the line. We had the possibility to give a short presentation of our work and to know a little bit more about the other Early Stage Researchers.
Nevertheless, it was not only working all the time. I spent the weekends visiting the city of Kaiserslautern, walking in the surrounding forest, and having fun with new friends. Davide led me through the footpaths in the forest. I chilled in the beautiful Stadtpark full of life, and together we spent the Saturday nights chatting in front of a beer, or in my case a juice. I have to admit that, even if I am Italian, I also enjoyed the typical food of Rheinland-Pfalz.
Finally, I really liked to be there. I learned a lot and I had a lot of fun. I hope to meet everybody else on the project soon and I can’t wait for the next travel.