Nataša from Serbia

Nataša Đurđevac,
BMS Alumna,
PhD completed in August 2012,
MSc University of Belgrade

In February 2008, I was happy to receive the news that my application to BMS Phase II passed the first round and I was invited for an interview. Still undecided about my future plans, I decided to go to Berlin to get an impression of BMS. What I expected to be a typical, very formal interview turned out to be a two-day program - the so called BMS Days - where BMS professors and students
presented a part of the very rich mathematical scene in Berlin. Each presenter came from different research groups at one of the three Berlin universities, but they all had something in common: being part of the “BMS family.” I was impressed by a variety of topics studied in this large scientific community, where many researchers are considered to be among the world's leading scientists in their topic. Even more, I was fascinated by the enthusiasm and knowledge of BMS students who were presenting their very high-level research results in an easily understandable way.

Exactly three years after this event, I, as a BMS PhD student in the Biocomputing group at FU Berlin, gave just such a talk about my research on analyzing metastable stochastic processes. Shortly after, with support from BMS, I started presenting my work at international conferences and workshops. I learned that in today’s world, some new qualities of a successful mathematician are valued, such as the ability to “see the big picture” of mathematics and the important connections between its fields while being able to present abstract results of a particular domain of expertise in a simplified way. All BMS students had the opportunity to experience this regularly at the BMS Fridays, where many great mathematicians coming from different areas present their work and introduce novel challenges. This is not only a chance to obtain a broader math perspective and learn about the newest results but also a regular meeting point for Berlin mathematicians where they can discuss problems over a cup of coffee.

All this creates a unique, dynamic and inspiring atmosphere in the BMS community that has already produced highly successful young mathematicians, many of which have continued their work in some of the world’s top universities and institutes. For all of them and many more new generations of BMS students, BMS will always be a “math-family” bond to the place from where we all started our mathematical careers. Now, at the end of my PhD studies, I am proud to have been a BMS student and I am happy that I will always stay part of the “BMS family”.

published in September 2012

Update 2014: Nataša is a postdoctoral researcher at FU Berlin. Before she spent a one year postdoc in the Computational Molecular Design (CMD) Group at Zuse Institut Berlin (ZIB). Moreover Nataša is a member of the BMS Postdoctoral Faculty.