“I learned a lot”, summarizes Wenxiong Zhou his 2-year-postdoc stay at GSI/FAIR in Darmstadt, Germany, “especially how to construct a big complex system” – within a team of people spread over 12 countries.
Several hundreds of researchers
The system Wenxiong has been working on is the target system of the CBM detector, one of the enormous detectors of the new particle accelerator FAIR which is being constructed in Darmstadt, Germany, at the GSI Helmholtz Centre of Heavy Ion Research. The CBM collaboration consists of several hundred researchers from countries all over the world. At GSI, Wenxiong Zhou worked on the FPGA-based data acquisition software for the CBM target system – which will help pre-process the enormous amount of data received by the CBM detector system and thereby reduce it to 2 Terabyte per second (of which 1 Gigabyte per second will be stored permanently).
First postdoc of GET_INvolved programme China
Wenxiong Zhou was the first Chinese postdoc to stay at GSI and FAIR with the GET_INvolved “Helmholtz-OCPC-postdoc programme“. This programme is open to Chinese postdocs and students in their final Ph.D. phase and provides a full scholarship payed by OCPC and GSI (more about OCPC).
Wenxiong studied nuclear science and technology, and before coming to GSI/FAIR he had been working as a lecturer at Chongquing University (34.000 students) in Southwest China.
Collecting experiences abroad
Recently, he returned there to take the position as Assistant Professor he successfully applied for some months ago. “In order to be eligible for a professorship, you need to work abroad for some time“, Wenxiong explains. In Europe, far from home, this has not been easy all the time, and visits to wife, family and friends in China have been scarce. Skyping helped a bit, and, of course, the quite active Chinese community on GSI/FAIR campus.
When he arrived about two years ago, settling in by getting visa, flat, bank account, insurances – a completely new life – has not been easy neither, but “The CBM secretary helped a lot”, Wenxiong says. Moreover, he knew GSI from former visits, as he was working with CBM already at Chongquing University.
His suggestions to today’s OCPC aspirants? It is important to have a project from which you can publish an appropriate number of papers. In addition, Wenxiong says, “I think there are three reasons to suggest other people to come to GSI: Firstly, they can learn the most prevalent ideal in their research field. Further, they can learn the most advanced technologies in their research field. Last, not least, they can make friends who may be the most famous professor in their research field.”
Postdoc Research Stay of Wenxiong Zhou, Chongquing, Southwest China
Funding: Office of China Postdoc Council (OCPC)/GSI scholarship
Duration: 2 years
Application to GET_INvolved programme: https://fair-center.eu/get_involved