Guest Researcher Visits SNU in South Korea


Lennard Hermann is a research assistant at the WZL, where he works at the Chair for Technology of Manufacturing Processes. He recently returned from a stay abroad as a visiting scientist at the Seoul National University (SNU) in South Korea. He answered a few questions about his experience at the partner university, the relevance of international scientific exchange, as well as leisure activities and cultural insights.

  Building Copyright: © Source: Lennard Hermann

Hello Lennard, nice to meet you. To get started with the technical basis; what are your current tasks as a research assistant at your home institute and what is your research focus?
"To be more precise, I belong to the 'Technology Planning' group, in which we deal with the combination of different manufacturing technologies that we research and optimize at our chair. On the research side, I am intensively involved in the design of changes for manufacturing process sequences that are used to manufacture safety-critical components in aviation and medical technology. Here I conduct reseatch on change management, so to speak, however, not related to people, but rather to technologies and machines. In addition to my research activities, I am involved in the integration of machine learning into manufacturing process sequences in industrial projects. Here we are working on using data from processes to identify and control scrap at an early stage so that manufacturing costs can be reduced. ”

How did the guest research stay come about, where did the idea come from?
“Science is international. You notice that at the latest when you look at publications, assessing where the authors come from. In addition, I enjoy traveling and spending longer periods of time in places that are foreign to me, to really experience what it is like to live there and not just go on vacation. I wanted to combine my interest in science and travel and had a conversation with Dr. Matthias Brockmann, Managing Director of the Cluster of Excellence. Fortunately, the Cluster of Excellence is involved in a cooperation with the Seoul National University (SNU) in Korea, so I actually had the opportunity to continue my research at the SNU. ”

  Building Copyright: © Source: Lennard Hermann

How long did you stay in South Korea and which were your areas of responsibility there?

“Originally a duration of 3 months was planned. Unfortunately, due to the situation with Covid-19, I had to go home after two months. On site, I worked with colleagues on a basic concept for sensors, which enables them to be manufactured inexpensively and used in production. The aim of this work was to facilitate the entry into Industry 4.0 for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that often do not have the financial power large corporations do.”

How does your research benefit from your stay?

“My personal research topic was in the background during my stay, because I wanted to take a look at other topics. Nevertheless, the stay was also very valuable for my research, because I got insight into other approaches and methods that I can now integrate into my research process here in Germany.”

  People at a restaurant Copyright: © Source: Lennard Hermann

How did you like SNU, what is different there than at RWTH?

“SNU is a great university that offers its students many opportunities and provides an excellent research ecosystem. There are many parallels to RWTH in this regard. The campus infrastructure is different, for example. SNU is, so to speak, a separate city with many different options for shopping or eating. The university is not as integrated into the cityscape as here in Aachen. This has advantages and disadvantages.”

Was it your first time in Korea or did you already have the chance?

“It was not only my first stay in Korea, but also my first stay in Asia. For both the country and the continent, I can already say with certainty that it was not the last stop. ”

  Korean Food Copyright: © Source: Lennard Hermann

What were the biggest challenges in a new cultural / scientific environment?

“The biggest challenge for me was to understand how meetings and cooperation work in Korea and at SNU. Here you can see the cultural difference and you have to behave differently to enable efficient cooperation.”

Have you had the opportunity to collect impressions in your free time and to explore the surrounding area? What were your highlights?

“In addition to my work, naturally I took the time to explore Seoul. Among other things, I hiked a lot in nature, visited temples and tried all kinds of culinary specialties. Speaking of culinary specialties, there’s already a highlight: The food in Korea is just fantastic. Not only is the taste outstanding, but the food culture is also very impressive. In Korea, eating together is a real event. As a rule, no individual dishes are ordered, but you order different things as a group and share them. Often the food is also prepared at the table. Food is therefore not only suitable for getting rid of hunger, but also for socializing. That was definitely a highlight.”