She met her fellow student and future husband Michael Arbesmeier during the vacation following her fourth semester. “On the south campus at the corner of Gabelsbergerstrasse and Arcisstrasse, at the Department for Engineering Applications in Computer Science and Numerical Programming, on the top floor beneath the roof, where there were 15 computers and it was a brutally hot summer. That’s where we met,” Michael Arbesmeier recalls. The memories of the lecture halls, the professors of the time and the time spent studying together come alive again when they visit their alma mater: “The Audimax in the old building was really important to us because the film evenings always took place there,” Michael Arbesmeier remembers with enthusiasm. “They didn’t have that when I was studying,” Gerald Thurner says with a note of regret in his voice. After a short period outside of academia, his career led him back to TUM.
1969 was an important year for Gerald Thurner: He completed his doctorate and in December his daughter Veronika was born. “Three years later I obtained my habilitation and since then I have been professor of construction management.” As a child Veronika Thurner visited her father at TUM, got a whiff of university air early on and still remembers his office: “There was a rubber plant in my father’s office, I remember that,” she laughs.
However, her father’s professorship had no influence on her own choice of studies and profession. She was interested in computer science ever since being at school and the school year she spent abroad in the USA. The fact that her father was a professor at the university where she wanted to study was not an obstacle for Veronika Thurner: “I studied a different subject. Besides, the university was big, and the name Thurner didn’t even stand out.”
Talents from TUM
“She’s much more skilled than I am. Above all, concerning didactics in her area of study – this is something I did do in my time,” Gerald Thurner admits. “Discovering and promoting potential is a very central characteristic of her work,” says her husband Michael Arbesmeier in agreement. In 1993, while his wife was still studying, he set up his own business together with his fellow students Kai-Uwe Rommel (degree in Computer Science 1992) and Roland Schock (degree in Computer Science 1992) with the company ARS Computer und Consulting. Be a professor, like your father-in-law and your wife? Michael Arbesmeier decided to go a different way: “I think I would have been able to teach. But writing a doctorate and a habilitation would be a horror to me.” However, he remains associated with TUM to this day: “We are always looking for young, talented computer scientists for our company. Talents from the TUM in particular are of course very welcome here.”