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To work on a quiet and empty campus

Published Feb 22, 2021

Most people at KTH work from home during the pandemic. We have met three people at the SCI school who have tasks which require their physical presence on campus

"There's no big difference"

Per Sköld in the Nuclear Power Safety lab.
Per Sköld in the Nuclear Power Safety lab. Photo: Andrei Komlev

Per Sköld is a technician at the Division of Nuclear Power Safety, Department of Physics.

In the two garage-like labs on the KTH campus, temperatures can range from 50 to over 3000 degrees, water jets are used for cooling and research on fourth-generation reactors is conducted. Pandemic or not, these activities must continue - and Per Sköld is on-site eight hours a day, five days a week, working to promote the safe use of nuclear power in Sweden and the rest of the world.
– I'm the only technician here, and I help the researchers to get the equipment in order before and during the experiments, he says, mentioning that there is little difference compared to before the pandemic because he is used to work in a small group.
– I notice minor differences like that we need to plan a little more now concerning who will be at the lab at certain times, I bring my lunch box instead of eating at a restaurant, go by car to work instead of public transport and the team meetings are held in Zoom.

Life is chugging along and he looks forward to new challenges at work.
– In one of the labs, we're building a relatively large and advanced installation. It is heated by induction, where a 150kW induction generator provides the heat, and temperature measurement is partly done using optical fibres. It's an exciting and interesting project, says Per Sköld.

Noise from colleagues is missing in the lab

Léa Zuili at the Division of Materials and Nanophysics lab
Léa Zuili at the Division of Materials and Nanophysics lab in House 3 at Albano Campus. Photo: Sofia Nyström

Léa Zuili, Intern at the Division of Materials and Nanophysics, Department of Applied Physics.

Outside the building, in the expanding campus area of ​​Albano, everyday life continues as usual with construction workers and noise. A contrast to the work environment inside the newly built house 3 where the lack of sound from voices, doors and steps in the building is reminiscent of another reality.
– Sometimes it feels a bit empty to be here in the lab, at most we are three people at the same time. I need to be here to carry out my experiments and to use a special software, says Léa Zuili who is currently maintaining a model that through a certain desalination technology can be the future solution to the freshwater shortage in the world.

She feels lucky to have had the chance to come from France to KTH to do her internship, but tells about how the pandemic causes problems when it comes to leisure activities.
– Actually I planned to visit museums, take a sauna and have a visit from my parents, but instead I go hiking in the beautiful nature.

Plexiglas adorns the Student service desk

Jesper Skult
Jesper Skult, Education administrator, SCI school, at the Student Service desk TR8. Photo: Tommy Kosic

Jesper Skult, Education administrator, School of Engineering Sciences.

Distance markings on the floor, hand sanitizers and plexiglass adorn the student office where Jesper Skult sits and works at the computer. Today's work process is about to get a postal package to Brazil without getting stuck in customs and after that inventory of course literature before the students will arrive.
– I have probably been given a few more tasks now during the pandemic because almost everyone works from home, but really it has not changed much. The students still come here, goods need to be received, keys and accesses need to be coordinated, says Jesper Skult and explains that he does not really have any problems working alone.
– Working in the student service desk and meeting students and employees who need assistance, is nice and provides me with energy.

Even though there is a lot of snow outside, the sun is gossiping that spring is on its way and during the walk home to Skanstull he dreams of a "normal" summer without restrictions.
– By the summer I hope that everything will be over and that I will, as usual, be able to travel to the French Riviera, says Jesper Skult.

Text: Sofia Nyström