I spend the last three months as the TÜV Süd Foundation Visiting Professor at the Technical University of Munich. I was hosted by the Institute for Advanced Studies and the Chair for Product Development. And what fun it was (and I even got some work done…)! A big thank-you to everyone at TUM who made my stay so enjoyable and productive.
I did get to do a lot of talking (which some people claim I enjoy too much) at 14 guest lectures and research talks at various universities, conferences and companies. My personal highlights included the interaction with the TÜV Süd community, which are not only a “reliability watch dog” interested in risk management, but are also interested in the broader societal impact of technology. I was honored to be invited to speak at the prestigious lecture series “Science and Society – Meet with Excellence” at TUM, where I gave a talk on what I call “technology racism”. Nuclear energy is a good example, particularly in Germany, where politicians and interest groups can say whatever they want to further their particular ideology, without ever having to stay close to the facts. More importantly, I also talked about our role as scientists and engineers to move society a tiny bit closer to “technological enlightenment”.
My stay was also productive in terms of research papers, and I was able to get three papers published, submit three more and work on 9 drafts together with TUM PhD students. I also developed and taught a new 12-lecture graduate class, “Publishing in Engineering Journals”, which was very well received by the students.