The indefatigable: Chemical engineer Tatjana Čukić positively hums with inexhaustible energy
Tatjana Čukić is a genuine live wire: a many faceted perpetuum mobile with a thirst for knowledge. And it only follows that her job centres on energy: the young Serbian works as a chemical engineer at Global Solar Energy Deutschland, a producer of thin film solar cells.
Tatjana Čukić has no problems about being the only woman among the eight engineers at Global Solar. As a child she preferred to wield tools with her father in the basement than play with dolls. Now an adult, she still wields tools, as testified by the recent repairs to her DVD player.
Čukić’s curriculum vitae is an impressive read: top of the class at her school of mathematics and natural sciences; top of the year for her chemical engineering degree; doctorate “with distinction”. The engaging 32 year old finds research important, but she also needs the foundation in reality – and the two are close companions at Global Solar. Since 2008 she has been responsible there for the wet chemical manufacture of buffer layers in thin film solar cells. In her workgroup she also collaborates with scientists of the Berlin Helmholtz Centre for Materials and Energy (HZB) on research into the optimisation of solar cells. Instead of silicon, Global Solar uses copper indium gallium selenide, or CIGS, for its production. Solar cells of this material are flexible and can be moulded to any facade. The wide area installation of solar cells is also advocated by Čukić, who makes her own personal contribution to energy saving by pedalling her bicycle ten kilometres to work and back every day when she is not using local public.
Tatjana Čukić grew up on sport. At home she watched football, and at the age of ten she started to play volleyball. In Novi Sad, her home city, she made it to the top team, but then had to decide whether it was going to be her life from then on, or nothing more than a hobby. With five training sessions a week, there was very little time for other interests. Today she plays for the volleyball club Bull Paradox in a mixed recreational league. She also wields a mean racquet on the tennis courts and plays badminton with her colleagues.
Her next goal is to learn Spanish – because it’s simply so beautiful. Incidentally, her German is almost perfect. Living in Germany since 2003 she has since been awarded a doctorate at the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis (formerly ACA) and she also finished her postdoc. Perhaps we’ll next be seeing Tatjana Čukić on a stage: as a singer for a metal band. As with everything in her life, music too is going to benefit from her great energy. Even before her studies she had tried her hand at it. And on top, she has a wish from much earlier: learning to play the drums. Oh yes, she also sees her family planning in the not too distant future: three children would be her ideal.
Besides her job and sports, her language courses and music, her large circle of friends and acquaintances, Tatjana Čukić has now also learned to relax at times – at least she says so.
by Sylvia Nitschke