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April 2016: Pavel Ozerov

This photo shows an important place in the mythology of one of the tribes of Pavel Ozerov´s research.

Nationality: Israel

Host Faculty/Institute in Cologne: Institute of Linguistics

Home University/Last Institutional Affiliation:
La Trobe University


Dr. Pavel Ozerov is a fellowship holder from the Humboldt Foundation and will stay at the University of Cologne at the Institute for Linguistics for two years.Dr. Ozerov who is originally from Israel is doing research in the field of linguistics.  He completed his B.A. and M.A at the University of Jerusalem and wrote his dissertation at La Trobe University in Melbourne.

The topic of his dissertation was “Information structure in Burmese”. Before he came to the University of Cologne he spent about 5 months in Manipur, Northeast India to document folklore and minority Tibeto-Burman languages of tribes. He organized a team of local people from a variety of tribes who document the oral traditions of their tribes. He tells me with bright eyes how warm and friendly the tribe has welcomed him after he made clear that he is interested in their language. He hopes to go back this year to continue his research and gain the missing information for his project.

His official research topic and project for his stay in Cologne is the research on the Tibeto-Burman language called Anal, spoken by a tribe of 20.000 people at the border of India and Myanmar. He analyses the grammar of Anal on the basis of the recordings that he collected during his fieldtrip to Manipur. After being asked why he chose the University of Cologne he replies: “The linguistic institute in Cologne is a well-known research institute in the world. And especially the institute for general linguistics is one of the view oases for so called language documentation and field work. This research field of describing languages from scratch and combining it with more advanced linguistic research is well developed especially here in Cologne”.

He has already stayed in Germany when he spent 12 months at the University of Potsdam doing research on Burmese in the field of information structure. In fact he has been to Germany many times he explains.  He especially likes the area around the University of Cologne which he describes as vibrant, living and full of positive energy. But as soon as he steps out of this inner circle of the University he finds it surprisingly empty. Especially the streets during the rush hour after work compared to the streets in Israel.  He almost cannot believe that Cologne is a city of one million residents. He even hears birds in the trees. Now as its getting warmer he especially likes the parks and forests around and the proximity of nature to the city center and the university.

The Welcome Center wishes Dr. Ozerov a successful and productive time at the University of Cologne.


December 2015: Fan Yang

Nationality: China

Host Faculty/Institute in Cologne: Institute of Physics II, University of Cologne

Home University/Last Institutional Affiliation:
the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research, Osaka University, Japan


Dr. Yang is a research fellow at the Institute of Physics II of the University of Cologne since 1st November. Originally from China, Dr. Fang spent the last 3 years in Japan doing his postdoc while working with Prof. Ando at the Osaka University. In June 2015, Prof. Ando took over the chair of Physics at the University of Cologne which was previously held by the vice chancellor. It was then that Dr. Yang decided to follow Prof. Ando to Cologne.

He got his Ph.D. in condensed matter physics at the Institute of Physics of the Chinese Academy of Science. He had always wanted to learn something that went far beyond the surface of things and consequently chose to learn in the field of physics. He is an experimentalist on Nano-device fabrication. In the last few years he mainly focused on Nano-devices based on topological insulators, trying to find new physics in this system.

Topological – insulators are materials that are insulating in the interiors, but conducting on the surfaces. Due to the unconventional electronic band topology they possess a lot of novel properties. Their aims are to design and fabricate Nano-devices utilizing these special properties, Dr. Yang points out. 

“The topic itself is difficult to explain because our research is not for applications. The results of fundamental research is usually something abstract compared to other research. It is more for the interest of the researchers. It is not something you can see or feel in the daily life, and it can only be understood by scientists.”

He emphasizes that one of the aspects that convinced him to come to Cologne - besides the challenging work – is the friendly atmosphere that people in Cologne generate to foreigners. “From the very beginning I discovered how open minded people from Cologne are compared to Asian people. Germans seem to be not shy at all. It seems like they are all just waiting to have a little chat with you.” he explains. Another convincing point was that the University of Cologne has a good reputation in Japan.

When asked about one funny or unknown thing that happened to him during the first month in Cologne he smiles and says: “After a presentation I held in the faculty the people were knocking on the table!” He did not know what it meant and felt a little embarrassed, but after a colleague told him that this was a way to show respect for the presentation he liked the gesture. He is looking forward to discover more cultural differences between Europe and Asia. He is especially fond of the pre-Christmas period. He has already been to the Christmas market and was surprised by the crowd of people gathering around the little adorned booths. He is looking forward to his time in Germany and especially to travel throughout the country.

The Welcome Center wishes Dr. Yang a successful and productive time at the University of Cologne and a nice holiday season.


August 2015: Nicole van Lipzig

Nationality: Dutch

Host Faculty/Institute in Cologne: Faculty of Geophysics and Meteorology

Home University/Last Institutional Affiliation:

Prof. van Lipzig is professor in the Division of Geography and Tourism and chair of the Leuven Sustainable Earth Center at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.  The K.U.Leuven is part of the Global Partner Network of the University of Cologne. The Global Network Partnership is the highest level of cooperation that the University of Cologne offers to other international universities. It focuses on a comprehensive collaboration in research and teaching that tries to establish and maintain long term cooperation between the universities. Currently the Global Partner Network of the University of Cologne consists of five Universities.

After her PhD in the Faculty of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utrecht on: “The surface mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet” Prof. van Lipzig spent six years as a postdoctoral researcher. She passed two of these years in the Netherlands, three in England, and one year at the Meteorological Institute at the University of Munich, where she worked with Prof. Crewell. Since then, Prof. van Lipzig has maintained close contact to Prof. Crewell who now works at the Institut of Geophysics and Meteorology at the University of Cologne.

During the month of August, Prof. van Lipzig is visiting Cologne to work with Prof. Crewell and other researchers on the topic of clouds and precipitation in Polar Regions. “It is important to understand the clouds and the precipitation in order to get an understanding of the changes of the sea level”, Prof. van Lipzig stated. “Also since the clouds regulate how much sun reaches the earth they regulate the temperature of the earth”. In Cologne Prof. Lipzig continues her long term collaboration with Prof. Crewell. “We are complementary in our expertise. That’s why we always continue to work together” she points out. This time she looks forward to finally visit the Jülich Observatory for Cloud Evolution (JOYCE) which was founded by Prof. Crewell and provides a unique facility for cloud observations in Jülich.

The prestigious professor, who is associated member of the Belgian National Committee on Antarctic Research and, among other awards, held the Marie Curie Individual Fellowship by the European Commission, is accompanied by her husband and two children. The 4 year old twins are guests at the University’s Paramecium Kindergarten, where they feel very comfortable. “It is a very open minded atmosphere. There are many children from different countries. We did not know what to expect, but everything is just excellent.” She does not hesitate when asked what she likes about Cologne: “I like the friendly and open minded atmosphere. I have been to Cologne many times. The way people in Cologne celebrate life is different to other cities in Germany. Also, I like to experience the lifestyle of different countries in Europe. Living and working is different, because all universities are organized differently for instance. I like the diversity” she points out.

The Welcome Center wishes Prof. van Lipzig a successful and productive research stay at the University of Cologne.