Dr. Wolf Dapp, Astronomy (specialization Scientific Computing) MSc. (2006); PhD (2011)

       Since mid-2016, I work as a patent examiner at the European Patent Office in the field of computer simulations and computer-aided design. I benefit from the technical training I received at Western, but also from the intercultural knowledge and language skills I gained in Canada.

       I came to Western as an exchange student from Ulm University, Germany, I received an MSc in Astronomy and Scientific Computing in 2006, and after completing my German graduate degree, returned to Western and received my PhD in 2011. My research was in the field of Star Formation, working with Prof Shantanu Basu. We used computers to calculate how stars form from their parent molecular clouds, and whether these new-born stars are surrounded by circumstellar disks from which planets may emerge.

       At Western, I acquired all the tools needed for my job, both mathematical and numerical, learning how to program efficiently and for parallel computers in order to solve complex equations. I also learned to analyze data, compare computational and theoretical results to observations, and interpret the findings. I used state-of-the-art equipment to create 3D visualizations of our data, and got the opportunity to present my findings at national and international conferences.

       I tremendously enjoyed my time at Western and at the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Besides the technical skills and knowledge, I learned problem solving and critical thinking -- something that is essential for every job and in every field. On a personal level the time at Western was invaluable: I made friends for life there, grew as a person, and most importantly, I met my wife who was a fellow graduate student.

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