Interview 2

Alexander Straumal


Since January 2023, Dr. Alexander Straumal manages the MaterialDigital platform office and coordinates the platform's development. Previously, he worked in materials science research and studied grain boundaries and grain boundary effects in polycrystalline metals.

What do you find most exciting about MaterialDigital?

What I find most exciting is that we are in a rapid growth phase and everything that comes out of the initiative and collaboration of the community is something new and unique that didn't exist before. Creating something new and innovative is always exciting; I already enjoyed this as a researcher in materials science. When you discover something new, you feel like a little Neil Armstrong.

What is unique about the work of the MaterialDigital initiative?

Unique about the initiative is that it brings together materials science and data science. The collaboration between material scientists - who create data in their labs - and data scientists - who develop ontologies based on the data obtained - creates data that can be found from all over the world and analyzed from many different perspectives. The various expertise and needs of all stakeholders are incorporated into the work and creation of the platform, making it so unique.

In your opinion, what qualities do young researchers need to have?

As we live in the digital era, it is essential that young researchers in all fields of science are agile in the digital world. Only if scientists can quickly adapt to new programs, data environments, and tools will science as a whole be able to evolve and adapt quickly to the challenges ahead.

What do you do when you're not working or doing research?

When I'm not working or doing research, I spend time with my son and my wife. We like to go for walks together, watch movies or play games together. In my free time I like to read, to jog or play the guitar. I taught myself to play the guitar and am constantly trying to learn and master new techniques. I really enjoy doing that.