Science Fiction meets Science Future in Germany

What happens when you put a sci-fi writer and a real-life scientist in the same (virtual) room and ask them to imagine the future? Well, wonder no more as GE launches its newest series of science stories on WattPad (a publishing platform for stories- for readers and writers) aptly titled #ScientistInResidence. Over the course of the next few months, GE’s WattPad profile will publish four original works from some of the platform’s biggest authors. Their stories are inspired by the real science that’s happening in GE’s global labs, as told by GE’s budding GRC employees.

The first installment teams GE Scientist Anja Nieratschker from the Global Research Center in Germany with Wattpad Sci-Fientist Sarah Perlmutter. Together they created “Compositional Defiance,” an exciting story about how composite manufacturing can completely revolutionize the future of the aviation industry. The first two chapters are live on Wattpad now.

Anja specializes in composite manufacturing, a process that creates stronger, lighter material for GE’s big machines, with the help of robots and data. She recently completed her award-winning master’s thesis project and is excited about working to help decrease carbon emissions by finding better ways to build super light, super strong parts for jet engines, wind turbines, and more.

In honor of Anja being our first #ScientistInResidence, we recently sat down with her to ask her about herself and her work at GRC.

Why is composites manufacturing an exciting area for a young scientist to enter? Manufacturing in general is exciting because it is the base of everything in the field of mechanical engineering. Without manufacturing of parts nothing can be built and no machines can be assembled. Composites manufacturing is interesting because it opens up a variety of fairly different processes and materials, and the option of tailoring every part to its needs as well as every manufacturing process to the part.

What does the future of composites manufacturing look like? The future is promising. All parts of our products must become lighter to save energy and reduce emissions. This is a complex and expensive challenge. And that is where composites manufacturing comes in. Hopefully, it will lead to us to generating more energy with renewable solutions, reducing emissions of cars and aircraft by reducing their weight, using more electrically driven cars and MORE.

What are the coolest things you can create through composites manufacturing? The beauty is that there are nearly no limits to what you can create through composites manufacturing. For me, the coolest thing I have been working on is probably wind blades because they are so huge and seeing them be built with the GE logo makes me very proud.

What keeps you inspired on the job? Variety. My job involves answering emails and administrative tasks, but it also allows me to work on cutting edge technology together with a very creative and supporting team. Whenever anyone of us runs into a problem, my colleagues offer new views and options allowing us to see creative new ways to tackle the issue.

What accomplishment are your most proud of (in your studies or career)? I think I am most proud of my master’s thesis. The project had a lot of changes and pivots over the course of six months. Despite the tight schedule, I managed to get everything done on time and working in the end. Winning the study prize for my thesis was the cherry on top!

Looking for more info on composites manufacturing read here or here.