Stephanie Matern


Image by Kristin Arnardottir, 01.02.19

  • BORN 1989Munich, Germany
  • WORKED Cologne, Germany; Toronto, Canada; St Andrews, Scotland
  • HONOURS B.Sc and M.Sc from University of Cologne, Germany


Artistic Connections

Through the outreach program SHINE I became aware of Minerva Scientifica.
The idea of translating science into music was a new to me and sounded like a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the work with the pupils, especially the discussion about how to connect the arts and science.




After school (and a gap year), when I was thinking about what to study, I quickly decided on physics as I could not think of anything else that sounded more interesting to me. I enrolled in the physics program and completed my Bachelor and Master degree. Doing an internship in a consultant company did not convince me to give up on the whole research idea, so I went back to physics and came to Scotland for my PhD.


PhD student
My research field is condensed matter physics. I am a theoretical physicist (I do not need to worry about breaking pieces of expensive equipment) and I tackle my problems with pen and paper (and sometimes a computer).

Teaching tutorials for the undergraduate courses is a nice (often welcomed) break from research.

Waitress, checkout chick and various other little jobs
I needed some money to spend on traveling around.

Scientific Achievements

In my research project I study the dynamics of quantum systems, so I try to answer the question how a system changes with time. If there is a disruption in the system, it wants to get back into its original configuration, a bit like ripples on a lake after throwing in a pebble that get fainter and fainter after a while. For a short time the system still remembers its original configuration and we can observe interesting effects.

Did You Know?

Sometimes it is helpful or necessary or just fun to get some distance between me and my research, so I run or climb or hike or eat.


Honestly, I find some inspiration in the entertaining reactions as well as the support of people on social media (#distractinglysexy, WomeninSTEM, #Strumia). I really cannot just name one person, but I am a big fan of the collective effort.

And I am looking forward to the point where we do not need to have the gender debate anymore.