12 May 2021
More focus on the social impact of AI
- AI (artificial intelligence)
Fanis Grollios works as a software technical lead at Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Materials & Structural Analysis division (formerly FEI Company). He is responsible for developing software for the electron microscopes the company produces.
His job requires a lot of knowhow, not only about software but also about the fields the microscopes are used in. In the end his goal is to help end-users achieve breakthroughs in their research so that societal challenges can be solved. “I am in the chain of something bigger.”
Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Materials & Structural Analysis division develops high-end electron microscopes and is based in the city of Eindhoven. The company counts 55,000 employees globally of which 750 employees work in Eindhoven. At this site about 220 R&D engineers cover all disciplines necessary to develop a microscope, including physics, mechatronics, electronics and software. Eighty of these engineers are software engineers.
One of the things that makes his job as software technical lead exiting to Fanis is that in writing software for automating the microscopes he has a lot of direct and indirect contact with users. “I find it really rewarding to see the end-user, because then you witness how the code you programmed earlier is put into practice.”
“In order to be able to programme the software for the microscopes I need to have a general understanding of electronics and physics as well. Physicists at PhD level used to be the primary users of our microscopes. As we are expanding to life science that means that more and more biologists use the microscopes as well.”
“What makes this job great is that there are people in life science that perform research in for instance breast cancer, the microscopes and our software help them achieve breakthroughs in their research. I am in the chain of something bigger. Our goal is much higher than merely developing software it is about solving societal challenges.”