Maya Ben-Yami (she/her), doctoral researcher at the Technical University of Munich and speaker at a Berlin Science Week 2022 event organised by LGBTQ Stem Berlin & Soapbox Science Berlin talks about her work in climate research and with whom she hopes to tackle climate change in the future. 

Who are you and what is your profession?

My name is Maya Ben-Yami (she/her). I’m a doctoral researcher at the Technical University of Munich and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. My work is part of the EU H2020 funded CriticalEarth Innovative Training Network.

What are you currently working on? 

My doctoral project centres around the impacts and potential interactions of different tipping elements in the earth system. Right now, I’m using the output of coupled climate model experiments to investigate the effect a collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation would have on the South American and West African Monsoons.

What excites you most about your work?

Getting to work with so many brilliant people!

Who would you like to work with someday?

I couldn’t ask for better colleagues than I have, but I hope that in the future I’ll be able to collaborate across disciplines – it would be great to work with historians, sociologists, artists, etc.!

What keeps you awake at night?

Trying to figure out what I can do to help with the climate crisis.

What is your part in this year’s 7th Berlin Science Week 

I’m giving a talk at “Apocalypse now!”, an event hosted by LGBTQ Stem Berlin and Soapbox Science Berlin.

What is your favorite spot in Berlin? 

The English-language section of Dussman das KulturKaufhaus.

What are you currently reading?

“An Immense World” by Ed Yong.

Is there a takeaway from the pandemic that you would like to share? Has anything changed in your daily routine?

As an immunocompromised person, the pandemic isn’t over for me yet! The past two years have made me realise how important policy measures are to protect those who are vulnerable, because you can’t expect individuals to make choices faced with so many uncertainties. I feel lucky to live in Germany, where I can at least travel safely on public transport because masks are mandatory.

Tell us a fun or unknown fact about you! 

I was in a successful Klezmer band in high school. 

In the future, you would like to… 

…Do whatever I can to help the world cope with the impacts of climate change.


PS: What is the most delicious thing you ate this week? 

Licorice black caramel ice cream.


Maya Ben-Yami conducts her research in the Complexity Science Department of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and is an early stage researcher in the H2020 CriticalEarth ITN. She gave a talk titled “Climate Tipping Points” as part of the event “Apocalypse Now! Research, Solutions, and Citizen Science“, which took place on 5 NOV, from 12 to 2 pm at Berlin Science Week 2022.