My Melbourne with ... Dr Gerhard Wiesenfeldt

October 16 / 187

Gerhard in costume for his HPS subject on the history of electricity. Photo: Katherine Smith
Gerhard in costume for his HPS subject on the history of electricity. Photo: Katherine Smith

My Melbourne introduces the people who keep our not-so-little community buzzing, what they do with their working days, and what they've learned along life's journey.

What is your job name and work unit?

Lecturer for History of Science in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies

How did you come to work at the University?

By accident. I had had a lecturing position in Germany for six years and wanted a change. My application for Melbourne was purely a test how far I would get. I had no idea they would consider me seriously.

Describe your typical day?

I don’t know whether I’ve had a typical day in the nine years I’ve been at Melbourne. Or maybe there was one, 14 May 2012, but I’ve forgotten what I did then!

What is it about your job that holds your interest or is particularly satisfying?

The privilege of being an academic - that you never stop learning.

What’s your favourite thing about working at the University?

Melbourne has a great, if sadly under-utilised, campus. It can be a very communicative space where you meet people from completely different parts of the university (and a surprisingly large group of the general public). 

What’s something that your colleagues might not know about you?

My musical tastes have always been pretty hardcore and I tend to get very judgmental when I learn about other people’s bad taste in music. Sometimes I try to tell myself not to be so arrogant, but deep down I know they are wrong.

Where do you get your coffee?

Different places, but mostly at Plush Fish in Union House. Whenever I go there I'm welcomed with "Small strong flat white is here". 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

In my very first university lecture (physics) the lecturer introduced the Law of the Potato as fundamental rule of academia. It says: Now the potato has been cooked, it’s got to be eaten. It came as a warning to be careful of what you’re doing in science ... 27 years later I have to say that is absolutely true. Whatever you cook in academia, somebody will eat it.

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