Excellent Handiwork


Leander Leibnitz with his certificate in the AIP precision engineering workshop.

Credit: AIP

Nov. 13, 2020 // For many years, precision mechanics have been trained in the precision engineering workshop of the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) according to the principles of the Chamber of Crafts. Now Leander Leibnitz, an apprentice of the AIP, has won the victory in the German crafts competition in the state of Brandenburg.

"The team at the precision engineering workshop of the AIP produces components from mechanical drawings and 3D models. They are mainly manufactured on machines equipped with modern control technology and software, but also on conventional machines. In most cases, high-precision individual parts have to be manufactured, using mainly aluminium alloys and stainless steel, but also other metal alloys or plastics" explains Jens Paschke, instructor and head of the precision engineering workshop.

The workshop is part of AIP’s Technical Section, which works closely with the scientific sections to create the instrumental prerequisites needed for astronomical research. It provides technical support for the development, design, manufacturing, integration, verification, and maintenance of instrumentation projects. Along with the construction and commissioning of new scientific instruments, the section’s tasks include the maintenance and improvement of those already in use, and the care of historical instruments. Two precision mechanics are also trained per training cycle. „The special thing about the training and work at the AIP for me is the variety that the development and extension of astronomical instruments brings with it. As a precision mechanic, I have to think about how to clamp each new workpiece in advance, which machining operations I do first and which ones I do last in order to achieve the desired result," says Leander Leibnitz.

The crafts competition is organised by the German Chamber of Crafts and offers young craftsmen and women the opportunity to prove themselves as the best in their profession. Leander Leibnitz completed his apprenticeship in January 2020 and came top in the state of Brandenburg, qualifying him for participation in the national competition.

Further information

Interview with Leander Leibnitz and Cornelius Lübcke, who successfully completed their apprenticeship in January 2020

"Working with your head and your hands" - Apprenticeship at the AIP

The key areas of research at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) are cosmic magnetic fields and extragalactic astrophysics. A considerable part of the institute's efforts aims at the development of research technology in the fields of spectroscopy, robotic telescopes, and E-science. The AIP is the successor of the Berlin Observatory founded in 1700 and of the Astrophysical Observatory of Potsdam founded in 1874. The latter was the world's first observatory to emphasize explicitly the research area of astrophysics. The AIP has been a member of the Leibniz Association since 1992.
Last update: 25. February 2021