Physics | 1977

When I think back to my time in Mainz and at JGU, the first thing that comes to mind is …

the main entrance square from the 70s, which, as I have seen in the photos, remains the same. I also have the memory of the Institute of Physics and the Microwave laboratory that no longer exists, I could see that about 20 years ago when I was visiting Mainz. All the offices and laboratories of the group of Professor Gerhard Klages on the first floor to the left of the entrance and above all that indelible image of Professor Klages, my thesis supervisor, whom I remember with great affection and gratitude. He was a true father of the Ph.D. I also think of my doctoral colleagues and the beautiful times lived at the Johannes Gutenberg University just over 40 years ago.

My favorite place on the Gutenberg Campus was …

the Botanical Garden, I used to go for a walk after lunch to get fresh air and rest in contact with nature, sometimes alone and sometimes with a colleague. In addition, once or twice a week I would visit the students' sauna with a Chilean friend because the women could use it alternately with the men.

I will always remember Professor … because …

I will always remember Professor Klages because of his kind welcoming smile and humorous comments on any news of the day. His habit of playing cards every day after lunch for half an hour or so with his students reminding them that if they wanted to graduate from Science School they should learn to play bridge.

The most important thing that I gained from my time as a student was …

The most important thing I got from my student days was training as an independent researcher. Initially, I received some instructions on what was expected of me and what was the scientific question to answer, but from that moment on I had total freedom to take whatever courses I thought were appropriate and put together my research. Conversations about doubts or difficulties were always very uplifting. Once in the semester I had to present my achievements in the group seminar.

I would like to pass on the following to today’s students:

What I would like to convey to today's students is a taste for enjoying science and understanding nature. The advances in these last 40 years have been fabulous and have totally changed daily life but nature is still there showing us its secrets.

Scientists dedicated to constantly learning are needed given the speed of technological change that will require skills and attitudes such as the ability to work in groups either with people or with machines, develop communication skills at all levels, empathy and especially critical thinking.

Prof. Dr. Ángela Stella Camacho Beltrán, physicist, is President of the Colombian Network of Women Scientists. She was born in Bogotá in 1947 and first studied physics in Colombia and then graduated from the Technical University of Darmstadt. In 1977 she was the first female Colombian to obtain a doctorate in physics after writing her doctoral thesis at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.

She taught and researched at the Universidad Industrial de Santander (UIS) in Bucaramanga Colombia, and later worked at the University of Los Andes in Bogotá where she was director of the Physics department, creator of the research group in Physics of Condensed Matter and head from the graduate school in Physics from 1990 to 2005, during this period she led the creation of the master's and doctorate in Physics in University of Los Andes.
Her research interests include condensed matter physics, solid state physics, as well as semiconductor nanostructures and their optical and electronic properties. In recent years she has also been interested in the dynamics of metallic nanostructures, which is known as Nanoplasmonics.

Ángela Stella Camacho Beltrán is a member of several scientific organizations, has been a Guest Professor and Visiting Professor at various universities in Italy, Germany, Spain, Denmark, United States and Mexico. She is very committed to promoting female scientists in the field of natural sciences. Camacho is a full member of the Colombian Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences and from there she led the creation of the Colombian Network of Scientific Women that aims to stimulate the participation of women of all ages in the Colombian scientific development, of which she is currently the president.

Ángela Stella Camacho Beltrán has received several awards for her outstanding research achievements. In 2003 she received the National Award for Excellence in Research from the Colombian Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2018 she was awarded the title "investigador emérito" by the Colombian authority for Science, Technology and Innovation (Colciencias) for her entire professional career in research, making fundamental contribution in national science and strengthening the Colombian scientific and academic work in recent decades.

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