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"Learn how to think independently"

Published: 31 March 2014

Meet Professor Roberts Joffe, one of the teachers at the EEIGM-programme.

What do you work with at LTU?

– I am 75 percent employed at Luleå University of Technology (LTU) as Professor and 25 percent at Swerea SICOMP as Senior Researcher. At LTU I am working with education (undergraduate but also supervising MSc and PhD students) and research. My area of expertise is polymer composites and I work with all aspects related to these materials, such as characterization, modelling, optimization for particular applications, design of new materials. The composites I study are based on polymers but are designed for very different applications. These materials include advanced composites for aerospace applications, bio-based composites for structural applications and multi-scale materials, including nano-composites with multi-functional properties.

Which courses do you teach?

– In the EEIGM program I am responsible for two courses, “Materials Modelling” and “Polymer Science and Engineering II-Processing and Design". I am also involved in other EEIGM-courses. I would like to mention one course in particular, “Material Science & Engineering, project course”, which I coordinate. This course is taken by students just before their Master Thesis project. It involves teachers from different departments, and what is more important; the industry is also participating in this course.

What do you like best about teaching?

– I get to meet people from all around the world and I enjoy teaching those students. Not only can I pass to them my knowledge, but I can also learn something from them. Participating in teaching, especially in project courses, gives me an opportunity to interact with young and creative people, which motivates as well as inspires me in my work.

In general, what do you want students to learn from your courses?

– Obviously I would like students to learn the technical and scientific knowledge I share in my courses. However, I think it is very important that they learn how to think independently and how to do research and categorize information in order to present it to others as well as defend their findings. Therefore, along with traditional homework, labs and exams, my courses have mini-projects and seminars where students can present their work and get to interact with their peers.

Why should a prospective student choose EEIGM?

– EEIGM is an opportunity to meet people from other countries and gain not only knowledge within Materials Science, but also learn about other cultures and meet new friends. The courses include our latest findings from the research we carry out at LTU. For example, in project courses we define student projects within the framework of current research we are doing, which involves participation in EU funded projects, work supported by industry as well as research financed by VR and VINNOVA. Thus, students who will choose the EEIGM program will have access to state-of-the-art knowledge within Materials Science and also get experience of participation in real life research projects.

What do you do on your leisure time?

– Even though sometimes it is not much time left after work, I would like to spend it on fishing and as you can imagine Luleå is the perfect place for it (of course including ice fishing). I do work a lot with computers which I use as tools, but I am also a bit of computer “nerd” and like all kind of gadgets.