Five questions to Michael Bonkowski


Question 1

Why and when did you decide to become a scientist?

I grew up in a village so small that we did not even had a football club. So I spend a great part of my youth with my friends outdoors in the nearby forests and became curious and passionate about nature. The decisive step probably was a 3 weeks practical during the school holidays at Museum Koenig in Bonn when I was 16 years old. 

Question 2

Which incident from your life as a researcher has remained in your memory the most?

As a young postdoc, I spend a year at the Scottish Crop Research Institute in Dundee, UK. There was a big white table in the corridor of our research group and every day a mixed group of researchers, including soil scientists, soil biologists, soil physicists, mathematic modelers, statisticians, etc. sat down here with a cup of tea and developed new ideas for experiments. At the end of the day the table surface was scribbled over and over with formulas and sketches. I never had experienced such a strongly interdisciplinary science before.

Question 3

What advice would you give to young scientists?

A successful scientific career requires an above-average level of motivation. Therefore: try out a lot and think carefully about what kind of work might make you happy in life. Then set yourself clear goals and pursue them!

Question 4

What part of your daily work do you enjoy the most?

Working in a research group with many different, young and highly motivated students and researchers; developing jointly new ideas by discussing science in order to solve complex ecological questions.

Question 5

What's your favorite thing to do after work?

Being with the family, cooking, some relaxed reading or cinema.



Michael Bonkowski


Professor for Terrestrial Ecology, Institute of Zoology, University of Cologne

In CEPLAS since: 


Place of birth:

Uelzen, Germany

Heinrich Heine University
University of Cologne
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
Forschungszentrum Jülich