Andreas Baumgaertner

'There’s nowhere better for mountains and sea than the South Island...'

  • Andreas baumgaertner

PhD in Physics

Senior Scientist, German Aerospace Center Project Management Agency, Bonn, Germany

With a career focused on the exciting area of atmospheric physics, Andreas is able to contribute to current thinking on climate change. Having completed his PhD at UC, he moved on to work for the Max Planck Society in Germany and later the University of Colorado in the US. Now he is based at the German Aerospace Center Project Management Agency, where he supports the German government in science-funding decisions in the area of climate change research.

After completing his Physics degree in his home country of Germany, he became interested in atmospheric science and seized the opportunity to study at UC. He started with a Postgraduate Diploma in Science but was persuaded to take on a PhD, for which he won a UC Doctoral Scholarship to help with funding.

‘I couldn’t study atmospheric physics at my university, and a year abroad in New Zealand sounded great. Then those awesome Kiwis and their country made me stay for a PhD and four years rather than just one!’

Andreas says his time at UC helped prepare him for his current job by giving him the ‘skills and endurance’ to tackle problems independently.

‘Atmospheric and climate research is one of the most diverse research fields,’ he says. ‘It involves very basic physics but also very advanced fluid dynamics, gas and aerosol chemistry, and some solar physics. It also requires very good computer and programming skills, and using instruments of every type you can imagine – lasers, radars, or complex satellite missions. A solid education is essential to get started, but life-long learning is even more important.’

Looking back at his time at UC, Andreas says it was the people he met who made the experience so enjoyable.

‘There’s nowhere better for the mountains and sea than the South Island, but the best thing was probably making friends with other students, especially through university clubs – I was in the tramping club and the UC choir, and was president of both clubs. I also had an excellent supervisor for my PhD, who had lots of time for me and is still a good friend. He let me go to Antarctica for my research – twice!’

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