Diversity promotes intelligence

Team ESBO DS – the success of internationality

The project team ESBO DS (European Stratospheric Balloon Observatory - Design Study) is working on the development of a flying observatory, carried by scientific stratospheric balloons. This European research infrastructure is intended to enable as many scientists as possible to observe from the high stratosphere. The project is assigned to the Institute for Space Systems, the departments of Satellite Technology and of Airborne Astronomy and Extraterrestrial Space Flight Missions.

The Stuttgarter Weg (Stuttgart Way) is defined by the guiding idea of networked disciplines and this is an integral part of the University of Stuttgart’s special profile. Cultural diversity and consistent cooperation between complementary disciplines fosters different approaches and perspectives. The project team ESBO DS is committed to diversity.

Introducing the team

The team comprises four people.

The team comprises two men and two women and half of the team are international scientists.

Mahsa Taheran is a space software-systems engineer and comes from Iran. She worked in Iran for an international young talent organization for several years, before working for ESBO DS. She has studied in Iran, Spain and Italy.

Andreas Pahler is a German Aerospace Electronics Engineer. Herr Pahler studied at the University of Stuttgart and spent time in France and the USA. 

Sarah Bougueroua is an Optical Engineer and comes from Algeria. She spent a long period working for an international exchange organization and studied in Algeria and France.

Philipp Maier is a German Aerospace Engineer. Before working for ESBO DS, he worked in The Netherlands and in Germany. He studied in Germany and the USA and also worked for an international young talent organization.

The team is working on developing astronomic telescopes that can be carried by scientific stratospheric balloons. Instead of being transported into space by a satellite, a balloon can raise the telescope to heights of 37 kms. At this height, they are above 99% of atmospheric disturbances and can observe relatively uninterrupted. We are currently building a telescope for UV observation. This should take to the air in mid-2021 to observe white and red dwarf stars.

Diversity in teams is extremely important. Firstly, because it introduces different roles to the team. We not only need team members that bring enthusiasm, but also members with creative ideas and approaches; and we need those who challenge ideas and approaches. Of course, everyone fulfils different roles at different times. Secondly, it is interesting and inspiring to work as part of a culturally diverse team. The different backgrounds, perspectives and ways of thinking teach us new perspectives in terms of both work and personal life. Furthermore, this also changes our view of the world – from one where we think we know things about other cultures, to one where we actually experience these. An international team brings one closer to the world – both personally and professionally. Although, it must also be said, that culturally diverse teams are not always easy. One or two irritating incidents must first be identified as cultural differences and conflicts can’t always be avoided.

About the series “Diversity Promotes Intelligence”

In a series of articles, we will be introducing teams who view diversity as a matter of course. The motivation behind this series, is the University of Stuttgart’s new diversity concept, initiated by the Vice Rector for Early Career research and Diversity.

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