'The staff of the Welcome Centre are fantastic'
Navid Noroozi hails from Iran and gained his doctoral degree there. At Passau, his host is Professor Fabian Wirth (Chair of Dynamical Systems), investigating stability analysis and stabilization of large-scale nonlinear systems. He will apply potential outcomes of his project to water distribution systems where the water losses are minimized.
Why did you choose to work at the University of Passau?
Fabian Wirth is one of the most leading researchers in my area of study. The input I get from him and his team is highly valuable to my work. It allows me to focus on the theoretical aspects of my research in Passau before going to Bayreuth for the second part of my fellowship.
Having lived and worked in Passau for some time now: do you feel your expectations about the city and the University have been met?
My family and I lived in Melbourne before coming to Germany. Although Passau is much smaller, we feel better and more comfortable here than we did in Australia. We really enjoy being here. Besides the Chair, who offers great support, I want to mention the Welcome Centre: the staff, and I think I can speak for us all, are really fantastic. They helped us get settled and find housing in Germany, helped with the residence permit, child benefit and all other formalities. Germany is really bureaucratic!
Which challenges have you faced so far?
At the university, getting along by speaking English is not a problem. Away from the campus, in the shops, making yourself understood is more difficult. Sadly, I only know a few words of German, but luckily the Welcome Centre is there to help.
Your fellowship bears the name of Alexander von Humboldt, a natural scientist, explorer, polymath, cosmopolitan, scholar and patron of the arts. Would you regard Humboldt as your role model?
Alexander von Humboldt was a hardworking researcher. His contributions to the world are really significant. Hence, he is a role model to me.
What does the Humboldt scholarship mean to you?
For me, too, the scholarship is an opportunity to push ahead with my research and to work with leading academics. There are many things I can learn: I work at Passau’s mathematics faculty, even though I am an engineer by training. This kind of interdisciplinary co-operation was new to me, but I feel I benefit from it tremendously. Mathematicians are very rigorous in their treatment of problems, very stringent in the formulation of their research questions and in answering them. Additionally, being here is a great chance for my family, especially my daughter, to learn German and experience life in Germany. She attends primary school in Passau. When we first came to Germany, she could not speak a word of German, and it is amazing to see how much her German improves every day.
What are your plans for the future after the end of the fellowship?
I plan on returning to Iran. The prestigious fellowship is an excellent reference. I therefore hope for a chance to be appointed Assistant Professor at a good university. These positions are highly coveted and I hope that the fellowship will increase my chances.
(Interview by: Susann Eberlein, Campus Magazin 01/2017; Translation: Andrew Rink)