What did I need to learn to do this job?
My favourite subject at school was maths, but I enjoyed all technical subjects. I studied aerospace engineering at university for eight years. Wind energy is very multidisciplinary, which means you have to put together different types of knowledge and skills such as aerodynamics (how air moves around things), structures, materials and electrical engineering.
If you want to work in renewable energy, I think it is good to know about engineering and maths. If you want to become more specialised, you can take courses in wind energy and become a real expert.
Prof. Carlo L. Bottasso, Ph.D, 58, Germany
Chair of Wind Energy, Technical University of Munich
From helicopters to wind turbines
I teach how wind energy works. I work with students, scientists, engineers and researchers. My students are very enthusiastic, and my colleagues are full of ideas and creativity. A lot of people think being a university science professor must be very dull, but it is not. You get to make things and you have to come up with new ideas.
I used to be a professor of flight mechanics, which meant I worked a lot with helicopters. Helicopters are very complicated and sophisticated machines, but some of the technologies used to make them fly are also employed to make energy from wind.
For me, wind energy is a new and exciting area to work in!
As a professor, I spend more time doing research than teaching. But teaching can be fun. For example, I use scaled models of wind turbines to show the students how wind energy works. My students use these mini versions of wind turbines to do experiments in a ‘’wind tunnel’’, which is a laboratory that generates artificial wind. This simulates what happens to wind turbines in the real world and my students do all kinds of interesting experiments with the tunnel and the models.
All this makes my course pretty popular with the students!