6 December 2018

Humboldtians win Leibniz Prizes

Three Humboldtians to receive 2019 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prizes valued at 2.5 million euros each 

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation would like to extend its warmest congratulations to the newly selected winners of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize! Among the ten researchers to be honoured with the 2019 Leibniz Prizes awarded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) are three funding recipients of the Humboldt Foundation: Humboldt Professors Wolfgang Wernsdorfer and Matthias Wessling, and Feodor Lynen Research Fellow Rupert Huber.

Physicist Wolfgang Wernsdorfer  (52) will receive the Leibniz Prize for his pioneering work on nano-magnetism and single-molecule magnets. The DFG notes that Wernsdorfer epitomises the enormous progress that has been made in this field, which ranges from fundamental investigations of single-molecule magnets to molecular quantum spintronics. Wolfgang Wernsdorfer has been conducting research at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) as a Humboldt Professor since 2016; previously he was a directeur de recherche première classe at the Institute NÉEL in Grenoble, France.

Matthias Wessling (55), whose research area is in chemical engineering, is among the world’s leading experts in the field of membrane technology and polymer research. The Leibniz Prize recognises his seminal work on the synthesis, description and understanding of semipermeable synthetic membranes. Matthias Wessling, who works at RWTH Aachen University and the Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials (DWI), returned to Germany in 2010 on a Humboldt Professorship. He was previously professor of membrane technology at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. 

Physicist Rupert Huber (45) will receive the prize for his outstanding experimental work in terahertz and solid-state physics at the interface between optics and electronics. Huber came to prominence with his research on light wave electronics. The innovative idea behind this field of research is to use atomically strong light fields as alternating currents in solid state systems in order to observe entirely new quantum phenomena on very short timescales. Huber conducted research in Berkeley, USA, as a Feodor Lynen Fellow of the Humboldt Foundation from 2004 to 2006. Today he is a professor at the Institute of Experimental and Applied Physics of the University of Regensburg; he is also actively involved in the Humboldt Network as an independent peer reviewer and has acted as a host for Humboldt Research Fellows from abroad on multiple occasions.

The 2019 Leibniz Prizes, valued at 2.5 million euros each, will be presented to the ten award winners next March in Berlin.

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