«After the first two years of my degree, I knew I wanted a career in science.»

Laura Baudis

Prof. Dr. Laura Baudis
Physicist, Astroparticle Physics. Her research interests are in astroparticle physics and cosmology, in particular in the fields of direct dark matter detection and neutrino physics.

Career

1991 – 1997 Degree in Physics, University of Heidelberg,
Germany
1997 Research assistant, Max Planck Institute for 
Nuclear Physics, Germany
1997 – 2001 Ph.D. in Physics, University of Heidelberg, Germany
2000 – 2003 Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University, USA
2003 – 2006 Assistenzprofessur, University of Florida Gainesville, USA
2006 – 2007 Full professor in Astroparticle Physics, RWTH Aachen Uni-
versity, Germany
since 2007   Full professor in Experimental Physics, UZH

Prof. Dr. Laura Baudis

Why did you decide to become an academic?
I wanted to find out how nature and the universe work. I’m fascinated by the clarity and simplicity of the laws of physics, the fact that everything around us can be explained using simple principles. But my decision to study physics came relatively late. After the first two years of my degree, I knew I wanted a career in science.

What do you like about your work?
There’s no such thing as a typical day, because every day brings new challenges. Every answer to a problem opens up fascinating new questions. I also enjoy the international collaboration – in academia you seldom notice political or ideological barriers.

Who has given you the most support during your career? And what about in your personal life?
Professionally I didn’t receive any particular support. My husband is also an academic and we both understand the demands that our work makes on our time. We got married while we were still studying and planned our lives accordingly. I wanted to have my first child and finish my doctoral thesis before I was 30.

How do you make sure you have a good work-life balance?
Academics have the advantage of being able to plan their own time with relative flexibility. There are no fixed boundaries between work and private life. When you have children then a certain amount of time has to be fully devoted to your family. I find this time very important because it gives me a lot of pleasure and the clear head and energy I need for my work.

What advice would you give to ambitious young female researchers?
If you want to succeed, choose something you are genuinely passionate about. An academic career demands not only scientific curiosity and hard work, but also passion, flexibility and mobility.

Department of Physics
University of Zurich
Winterthurerstrasse 190
CH-8057 Zurich
Tel. +41 44 635 57 77
laura.baudis (at) physik.uzh.ch

Prof. Dr. Laura Baudis