Some personal stuff about me.
The website is primarily my academic online representation -- yet we are all humans, aren't we? This part of this website is where I convey a bit of personal information, or provide some links of a non-professional nature.
- I've been a long-time member of Amnesty International, the world's biggest human rights organization. They have sections in almost all parts of the world, so if you have a bit of spare time and are keen getting to know some smart and interesting people, search for a local group, there might be several in your own town! (E.g., most Universities have their own group, often on top of a local group of a city.) Talk to me about it if you'd like to.
- I'm a member of (German) non-profit foundation that publishes books (by professional authors as well human rights experts etc.) about human rights, Edition Kettenbruch. Although we only published German books so far, feel free approaching me if you have ideas for future books, know interested authors, or would like to offer your services etc.
Below I list some of my most favorite YouTube channels. Maybe there's something you'd enjoy as well. :) In any case, they are all of an educational nature, so surely they are a 'more useful' alternative to Netflix. :) Just FYI I list the number of subscribers for each channel. Last updated early April 2022. (Ordered more or less by recommendation or by my estimate of what my website vistors (mostly my students I guess) could be interested in the most.)
- Kurzgesagt: An amazing YouTube channel covering all different kinds of scientific topics, most are related to physics and the Universe, but they cover other topics like medicine/vaccinations and many more. The name is German for "in a nutshell", but the content is English! It's all animated with really cute graphics, a pleasure for the eyes! (18.2 mio subscribers)
- DoctorMike: Also such a cool channel! A young, smart, and super-nice doctor who busts medical mysts or comments on wrong or stupid medical advice that's distributed via TikTok or Facebook etc., or on injuries in modern/popular movies etc. So much worth being watched! It feels as 'funny'/quick as TikTok, but is actually valuable medical advice or education. (9.1 mio subscribers)
- Last week Tonight: A comedy/entertainment show, but all the content covered is of an educational nature. Much of it is tailored to the USA, but many topics generalize. (8.8 mio subscribers)
- Adam ruins everything: Like Last week tonight, this is clearly entertainment and comedy, yet again the covered content is pure education. The show explains common myths, i.e., wrong every-day "knowledge" (and provides citations for the clarification). It also shows where certain traditions come from - most of the time "ruining" them for those enjoying them so far. :) (not its own channel)
- Visual Politics: A channel focusing on politics (which clearly involves history). Even when not interested much in politics (which I believe today pretty much can't be the case anymore, sadly), this channel is really interesting, i.e., far from "dry"! (1.17 mio subscribers)
- VSauce: Another absolutely amazing YouTube channel! :) It covers so extremely many topics that it's hard to even describe it in the first place. They even cover technical topics like number theory, but also every-day topics like the placebo effect. What stands out is how entertaining it is despite explaining everything on a scientific level while still being easy to grasp. (17.7 mio subscribers)
- Veritasium: Basically somehow like VSauce, as it covers a huge range of different topics. All of them investigate some topic in a scientific way. One of my favorites is on Logic and Computability. (11.5 mio subscribers)
- Ted Talks: Some "private people" give an interesting talk about what they personally care about (in an interesting and entertaining way). Many are scientists or Professors, others are entrepreneurs, or just "normal" people with an interesting life story due to exceptional events in their life. A very few people just seem to be self-promoters who like hearing them talk^^ (really embarrassing), but the vast majority is actually quite good, interesting, and often educational. (21 mio subscribers)
- Cool Worlds: A channel by an astronomer (scientist) talking about many topics related to 'the universe', such a alien life, interstellar travel, and much more. It's not esoteric, but scientific insights presented in a ... "dreamy" :) and exiting way. While many insights are based on solid math (i.e., most episodes are much more mathematical than those of Kurzgesagt), they are presented in an easy to grasp fashion. (492 k subscribers)
- Visual Politik: Basically the same as mentioned above, but its German variant. Actually, this has twice as many subscribers as the English one, so either Germans are more political or this channel came first. :) Anyway, as written above, it's not just educational, but also interesting, i.e., far from being "dry"! (2.76 mio subscribers)
- Kurzgesagt: That's the German variant of the one mentioned above. Although the name (German for "in a nutshell") and production studio is German, the English variant actually came first, so the German one has only a subset of the main channel's videos. Regarding content it's of course the same as the other, i.e., it covers all different kinds of scientific topics, most are related to physics and the Universe, but they cover other topics like medicine/vaccinations and many more. It's all animated with really cute graphics, a pleasure for the eyes! (1.72 mio subscribers)
- Simplicissimus: A real pity that this is available only in German, as it's a real great channel covering many different topics, most of which are political in a more broader sense, but it pretty much covers 'modern topics' from all areas of life (people cheating in games shows, policies of major companies, recent achievements of Elon Musk's companies, and many more). (1.08 mio subscribers)
- Dr. Whatson: A general channel covering many different topics. So in spirit maybe like the one listed above, but less political and more focused on science and technology. (244 k subscribers)
- Kanzlei Wilde Beuger Solmecke: A German lawyer explaining German and International law (the latter sadly being more relevant than ever at the moment), mostly based on changes of laws (or the public discussion or announcement of such changes) or due to concrete cases. If you think that sounds dry, then you are very, very wrong! The content is super interesting and the speaker a very approachable person. :) He said that he regularly gets feedback that some of his subscribers started studying law (German: Jura) because of his channel. I'm not surprised at all! (845 k subscribers)
Ideology & Work
I'm pretty much an open book to everybody, so anything I say here should hardly be a surprise to anybody who ever came into contact with me. For those who don't know me yet and for whatever reason want to know something about me (why would you open that page, otherwise?), here's some info:
- I'm quite a workaholic, but not because I don't find other ways of spending time not interesting (cause I do! primarily sports!), but because I always give 200% no matter what I do, and because I find it hard doing an extraordinary great job without sacrificing lots of private time. I'm particularly passionate about mentoring, supervision, and teaching. If you have contact to 500 to 1000 students every single year throughout your career, you can really change some lives! And what more important thing could exist other than making the next generation(s) believe in themselves and become hungry for knowledge and change the world for the better? I constantly get amazingly positive feedback by my students about my passion and how addictive it is. :)
- Cause I'm also a bit nerdy (and a fan of statistics -- I also use a FitBit smart watch for step and sleep tracking etc.), here's a statistics on the number of (work-related) emails I sent throughout my career. (Note that I also use emails as a todo list, so many of these are tasks I need to complete.) Anyway:
- 2009: 316 (193 conversations)
- (start of my PhD in July, so just 1/2 year)
- 2010: 489 (349 conversations)
- 2011: 620 (394 conversations)
- 2012: 905 (536 conversations)
- 2013: 1233 (827 conversations)
- 2014: 1606 (1125 conversations)
- 2015: 1759 (1041 conversations)
- 2016: 1917 (1163 conversations)
- 2017: 2873 (1614 conversations)
- (defense of my PhD in November)
- 2018: 4368 (2537 conversations)
- (post-doc since November 2017)
- 2019: 4689 = 3481 + 1208 (2465 = 1961 + 504 conversations)
- (left UUlm in October, started at the ANU in November as Lecturer)
- 2020: 7259 (3021 conversations)
- 2021: 9268 (3937 conversations)
- 2022: 8554 (3430 conversations) in mid September
- (Senior Lecturer since January)
xkcd: If you are a computer scientist (or a mathematician etc.), you very likely know these great comics already! Their own description: A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language. Here's a selection that's highly related to us (computer) scientists:
xkcd also features what if?, "serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions". (You might know this from the big bang theory... :))
- PhD comics: These are comics concerned with doing the PhD or academics in general. The comics are not "smart" as xkcd, they are just funny for academics since we can identify. Here's a list of the 200 most popular comics.
Well, there are countless "Best of" lists you can easily google for by yourself, so I don't see the point providing yet another list here. I just try to obtain a bit of "culture" by making aware of it! It's simply so old already that current just don't it anymore. So, I just give two of the most famous sketches (search for more!).
But first, did you know that the name of the programming language python is a tribute to Monty Python? There are further references, such as using "spam and eggs" in comments (etc.) instead of the typical "foo and bar". (see Wikipedia)
- Argument Clinic, just the part about having an argument. Why do I link it here? Cause Logic (which I teach) is literally about forming arguments! I.e., a sequence of statements from which another follows. Or is it? No! Yes it is! No! Yes! (Watch it!)
- Spam. Did you know that the expression "SPAM" for the endless flooding with unwanted content comes from exactly this sketch? If you are a computer scientist you should know!
- Don't forget that some of the educational channels listed above are actually comedy concepts! (I.e., Last week Tonight and Adam ruins everything)