For a physics student, visiting the prestigious Max Planck Institutes for Nuclear Physics and Astronomy is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A group of PSU students had that remarkable opportunity this past summer, thanks to a major German government grant.

Dr. Alex Konopelko, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics, led a group to the ancient German city of Heidelberg in August where the students had the opportunity to learn from some of the top physicists and astronomers in the world.

The trip was possible because of a DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst) grant. DAAD grants are funded by the German federal government are intended to foster international student exchanges.

“I’m still surprised that we got it,” Konopelko said of the grant. “It is extremely competitive. The grant application is like a small book. Most of the schools that receive grants are big names like MIT and Georgia Tech.”