Alexander von Humboldt Professorship – Award Winners 2009

Oliver Brock

Computer science
Oliver Brock is a pioneer in the field of research into artificial intelligence for the next generation of autonomous robots which can produce complicated reactions and motion sequences and are thus suitable for use in medicine, space travel or in case of accidents involving radioactivity. At Berlin’s University of Technology Brock is not only expected to develop this research focus area but also propel forward partnerships with other academic institutions and industry.
 
no longer receiving sponsorship

Nominating University:  Berlin University of Technology (TU)
  • Oliver Brock
    Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
    Antony Nagelmann

    Prof. Dr. Oliver Brock,
    39, computer scientist from Germany, studied at Berlin and Stanford where he completed his doctorate in 2000. He spent time researching at Rice University in Houston, USA, before returning to Stanford in 2001. Since 2002, he has been conducting research and teaching at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA. He has been awarded, amongst others, the NSF Career Award (2006).

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Piet Wibertus Brouwer

Theoretical solid state physics
Piet Wibertus Brouwer is considered to be one of the most productive and important minds in his discipline. He investigates current themes in solid state theory and quantum transport at the interface of the quantum and classical worlds. Under his leadership a centre for theoretical physics is proposed at Berlin's Free University, the Dahlem Centre for Complex Quantum Systems.
 
no longer receiving sponsorship

Nominating University:  Berlin Free University (FU)
  • Piet Wibertus Brouwer
    Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
    Antony Nagelmann

    Prof. Dr. Piet Wibertus Brouwer,
    37, theoretical solid state physicist from the Netherlands, studied physics and mathematics at Leiden, Netherlands, where he completed his doctorate in physics in 1997. He then spent time researching at Harvard before moving to Cornell University, Ithaca, USA, in 1999 where he has been conducting research ever since. Brouwer was granted the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Award by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in 2006 and the Provost's Award for Distinguished Scholarship by Cornell University in 2007.

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Georgi Dvali

Particle physics and cosmology
Georgi Dvali is considered to be one of the world's leading experts in the field of particle research and is highly respected in his discipline for his theories on gravitational interaction. With his help Munich University wants to develop into a leading global location for cosmological particle research which can hold its own with Princeton, Harvard or Stanford.

Nominating University:  Munich University (LMU)
  • Georgi Dvali
    Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
    Maurice Haas

    Prof. Dr. Georgi Dvali,
    44, particle physicist and cosmologist from Georgia, where he studied and completed his doctorate in high energy physics and cosmology at Tbilisi State University in 1992. His academic career took him to the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste and Pisa University. Since 1998, Dvali has been conducting research and teaching at New York University. Since 2007, he has also been working concurrently at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research CERN in Geneva.

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Ulrike Gaul

Developmental biology
Ulrike Gaul is a world leader and innovative expert in systems biology, a research field which has not yet fully established itself in Germany. Rather than isolating individual genes or proteins systems biology investigates their combined impact in the body. At the Munich Gene Centre, Gaul is expected to raise systems biology research to international cutting-edge level and network with other working groups through interdisciplinary collaboration.

no longer receiving sponsorship
 
Nominating University:  Munich University (LMU)
  • Ulrike Gaul
    Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
    Antony Nagelmann

    Prof. Dr. Ulrike Gaul,
    48, developmental biologist from Germany, studied biochemistry and physics at Tübingen where she completed her doctorate at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in 1988. She spent time researching at the University of Washington and the University of California in Berkeley and has been a professor at Rockefeller University in New York since 1993.

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Norbert Langer

Astrophysics
Norbert Langer has been one of the world’s leading experts in the field of theoretical astrophysics for more than two decades. He investigates the development of high mass stars up to the point when they explode as supernovae. His expertise will fill a gap in astronomy in Bonn, complementing the current scientific portfolio. Much is also expected from collaboration planned with the neighbouring Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy.
 
no longer receiving sponsorship

Nominating University:  Bonn University
  • Norbert Langer
    Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
    Jasper Zwartjes

    Prof. Dr. Norbert Langer,
    50, astrophysicist from Germany, studied at Göttingen where he completed his doctorate in 1986. In the same year, Langer became the first recipient of the German Astronomical Society’s Ludwig Biermann Award. From 1993 to 1996, he worked at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching on the strength of a Heisenberg Fellowship and subsequently moved to Potsdam University. He has been conducting research and teaching at Utrecht University, Netherlands, since 2000.

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Martin Bodo Plenio

Quantum optics and quantum information
Martin Bodo Plenio is a world authority in the field of quantum information science and has produced ground-breaking work on entanglement in quantum systems and the practical realisation of quantum information processing. In Ulm he is expected to make a significant contribution to establishing the planned Centre for Quantum Engineering where mathematicians, physicists and electrical engineers are supposed to work together on a par with the best in the world.

Nominating University:  Ulm University
  • Martin Bodo Plenio
    Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
    Ulrike Leyens

    Prof. Dr. Martin Bodo Plenio,
    40, quantum optician from Germany, studied physics at Göttingen where he completed his doctorate in theoretical physics in 1994. A Feodor Lynen Fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation took Plenio to Imperial College London, UK, in 1995 where he has been conducting research ever since. Amongst other awards, Plenio has been invited to give the Royal Society Clifford Paterson Lecture (2008) and has received the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award (2005) and the IOP’s Maxwell Medal and Prize (2004).

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Burkhard Rost

Bioinformatics
Burkhard Rost is one of the researchers who has decisively shaped the development of bioinformatics into the indispensable discipline we know today. He is expected to provide new impetus and be a driving force for his subject in Germany and also build a bridge between biological sciences and medicine. To this end he will gather together a top-flight researcher group.

no longer receiving sponsorship

Nominating University: Munich University of Technology (TU)
  • Burkhard Rost
    Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
    Antony Nagelmann

    Prof. Dr. Burkhard Rost,
    47, bioinformatics scientist from Germany, studied physics, philosophy, history and psychology in Gießen and Heidelberg and completed his doctorate in physics at Heidelberg in 1994. In 1995, he spent time researching at Hinxton, Cambridge, UK and has been conducting research and teaching at Columbia University, New York, since 1998. Rost is, amongst others, a member of the New York Academy of Sciences.

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