Talgat Daniyarof from Kazakhstan is a man in a hurry. The 24-year-old physicist came to Heidelberg in the winter semester 1999/2000 with a bachelor of physics degree in his pocket and excellent grades. His aim was to do a doctorate in physics at the University of Heidelberg in double-quick time. To this end he applied for the new "Master plus" physics course at the University. Now he is the first student to have completed it.
The new course gets foreign students with a bachelor degree to the Master of Science level in two years at the most. This degree is equivalent to the Diplom, so graduates of the course can move on to their doctorate right away. But to qualify for this course and the grants that go with it applicants have to be outstandingly good.
"People with an average record have no chance," emphasises Professor Franz Eisele, study dean of the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy. His aim is to attract the best brains to Heidelberg. For the present semester eight new candidates have been selected from a group of 28 applicants. One of them comes from Kazakhstan like Talgat Daniyarof, who encouraged his compatriot to try for entry. "The best propaganda for this new course is word of mouth," Eisele believes.
Talgat came to Heidelberg with all the right qualifications. His mother teaches physics in Kazakhstan and he attended a boarding school for specially gifted young people in Novosibirsk. He completed his bachelor of physics course with the best possible grades. After two years in Heidelberg his German is excellent although a knowledge of German was not a requirement for taking the course. "I learned most of it in the lab," laughs Talgat, who has never attended any language tuition courses.
The young physicist is working in a lab at the Kirchhoff Institute of Physics, surrounded by man-size measuring instruments and computers. Here he studied the low-temperature physics of solid bodies and was involved in the development of an X-ray detector able to identify very tiny particles. Though only the size of a thumbnail the instrument is full of innovations and cutting-edge technology. The device operates at temperatures only a few thousandths of a degree higher than absolute zero. "The device is so precise that you can use it to study the universe or super-fine structures on computer chips," enthuses Talgat. During his doctoral studies, which he has already embarked on, he would like to continue his involvement with the international detector project and take the device to market maturity. Leading computer chip producers have already displayed a keen interest.
But Talgat is not out to make money. Once he has his doctorate he intends to return to Kazakhstan and apply for a professorship. Average monthly salary: $75. "After the collapse of the Soviet Union many scientists emigrated to more lucrative countries," says Talgat regretfully. In Kazakhstan being a professor is a very special honour. "Where I come from, the notion of honour has a very different value from what it has in the West. And that value is not a question of how much you earn," he explains. Talgat would like to re-awaken gifted young people's enthusiasm for science and give them the education they need.
Please address any inquiries to:
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317