AVA Fellow Interviews – Spotlight on David Haider

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David Haider (image credit I. Prasad)

Now the formal period of the project has come to an end, this is a good moment to look back at the Fellows’ time with AVA. We have asked the Fellows a few questions as part of the AVA Spotlight Interview series; this will give you a more personal insight into their motivation, achievements and outlook.

For this interview we have spoken with David Haider who joined the AVA Network at GSI, Darmstadt (DE) in November 2017. Within GSI’s Beam Instrumentation group, David has been carrying out ultra-sensitive beam intensity measurements.

What did attract you to the AVA network? Has it fulfilled your expectations?

“To me, the promise of AVA always has been the wealth of knowledge within the research partners it brings together and the active support to take advantage of this treasure in order to develop ones expertise and research skills. For a young graduate this seemed to be the perfect environment to start a career and AVA certainly has met these expectations. Moreover, the diversity of the partner institutions in both the public and the private sector offered insights in many different aspects of the ongoing research. The high degree of financial independence and the tailored training courses further helped to make the most out of the fellowship. In my opinion, AVA is a great European example of how young scientist can be supported and encouraged in their career to become an active part in the scientific community.”

Why did you choose to go to GSI?

“When I read for the first time about the AVA project at GSI, I found many links to my previous research projects and saw the chance to apply my experience in the exciting environment that an accelerator facility has to offer. Moreover, the upcoming FAIR accelerator complex that now takes shape at GSI promised a future full of good and exciting research possibilities. Taking into account the knowledgeable and welcoming colleagues that I met at the job interview, it was an easy choice.”

Can you explain in a few words what your project was about and what have you achieved?

“The goal of my project was an ambitious one, to design, build and to take into operation a system that surpasses all the existing beam instrumentation at GSI when the low beam intensities of fascinating but rare ions are concerned. Now, at the end of the project, extremely low ion currents smaller than 100 nA were measured at the storage ring CRYRING with a new system based on a highly sensitive superconducting magnetometer. This cryogenic sensor detects the faint magnetic field of the particle beam, which is about a billion times smaller than the magnetic field of the Earth. With this system developed during my AVA project, all future experiments at the ring can profit from the improved current measurement and the setup can serve as a prototype for several additional installations planned throughout the FAIR accelerator complex.”

What has AVA provided you professionally?

“After graduating from university, I had a vague understanding of what working in science means. It only was during my project at GSI when I learned how to navigate through the endless possibilities in the lab and through the criticism of colleagues, in short, to pick up the craft of being a scientist. Beyond scientific struggles, it was AVA that offered a platform to go one step further, to lift the debate to a European level and to be recognized in the international community. Moreover, in AVA it has always been a priority to help us develop a vision of our future career and to provide us with the toolkit to realize it. I am sure, this dedication to shape our professional profile, will always be useful in my career. Finally, on a personal level, the efforts of AVA to engage the public in science, lead me to appreciate the social responsibility of researchers in the intimate relation between the public and science.”

Can you say something about your next career move?

“These days I focus on writing my PhD thesis, which leaves me with a little bit of time to consider my career possibilities. With the experience gained during the AVA project, I am looking forward to an interesting and ambitious challenge ahead.”

What will be your most cherished memory from AVA?

“What I value most, is definitely the great time that I had with the AVA fellows, filled with engaging debates and cheerful moments. I wish them all the best in their career and I am looking forward to the next time I meet any of them.”