Alexander von Humboldt Professorship – Award Winners 2011

Harald Clahsen

Psycholinguistics
Harald Clahsen is one of the internationally most renowned German linguists. He is a leading researcher in the fields of language acquisition, language processing and language disorders. His work links linguistic theory with experimental psycholinguistics and techniques of neuroscience. Clahsen is to become professor for the Psycholinguistics of Multilingualism at the University of Potsdam and will be the founding director of the new Potsdam Research Institute of Multilingualism (PRIM), to reinforce the Area of Excellence in Cognitive Sciences of the Human Sciences Faculty.

Nominating university: University of Potsdam
  • Harald Clahsen
    Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
    David Ausserhofer

    Prof. Dr. Harald Clahsen,
    born in Germany in 1955, doctorate in Wuppertal in 1981, initial research and teaching positions there and in Hamburg. From 1983 to 1993, lecturer at the University of Düsseldorf, where he was granted the university's Habilitation Award. Since then, full professor at the University of Essex, Department of Language and Linguistics, Colchester, UK. In October 2011, the Alexander von Humboldt Professorship award winner became Professor of Psycholinguistics and Multilingualism at the University of Potsdam, also being appointed founding director of the new Potsdam Research Institute of Multilingualism (PRIM). Memberships on several boards and numerous distinctions, including the Gerhard Hess Award of the German Research Foundation, and Fellow of the British Academy.

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David DiVincenzo

Quantum Physics
David DiVincenzo was one of the first physicists to engage in quantum information and is considered an eminent authority on quantum information processing. In particular, his name is associated with the development of criteria for the quantum computer, known as the DiVincenzo Criteria. In addition, his work is also significant in the fields of materials science and solid-state physics. As part of the Jülich Aachen Research Alliance (JARA), DiVincenzo is to become the head of the Institute of Theoretical Quantum Information, which is to be founded at RWTH Aachen University. He will also be heading the Institute of Nanoelectronics at the Forschungszentrum Jülich.

Nominating university: RWTH Aachen University in conjunction with the Forschungszentrum Jülich
  • David DiVincenzo
    Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
    David Ausserhofer

    Dr. David DiVincenzo,
    born in the USA in 1959, doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA in 1983, then postdoctoral position at Cornell University, Ithaca, USA; Research Manager at IBM Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York, USA since 1985. Having been granted an Alexander von Humboldt Professorship in 2010, he became a professor at the Institute of Theoretical Quantum Information at RWTH Aachen University and director of the Peter Grünberg Institute of Theoretical Nanoelectronics at the Forschungszentrum Jülich in January 2011. Various distinctions and memberships, such as a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

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Brian Foster

Particle Physics
Brian Foster is acknowledged as one of the most important experimental particle physicists of the day. He has played a leading role in numerous international projects involving particle accelerators, and both his theoretical and his practical work developing innovative measuring instruments have expedited progress in accelerator physics. He has received countless awards, including the Humboldt Research Award (1999). Foster is invited to work at DESY (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrontron), Hamburg, and as a professor, teaching and researching on the future of particle acceleration at the University of Hamburg.

Nominating university: University of Hamburg in conjunction with DESY (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron), Hamburg
  • Brian Foster
    Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
    David Ausserhofer

    Prof. Dr. Brian Foster,
    born in the United Kingdom in 1954, graduate Student at the University of Oxford, 1975-1978. Research Associate, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, 1978-1982. Research Associate, Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, 1982-1984. Various positions in the Department of Physics, Bristol University, 1984-2003. Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Oxford, Subdepartment of Particle Physics, Oxford, United Kingdom since 2003. Winner of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Humboldt Research Award, 1998. Member of the Royal Society, London, since 2008. He was selected to become an Alexander von Humboldt Professor in 2010 and took up his position as a professor for experimental physics at the University of Hamburg in June 2011. The appointment was made jointly with DESY in the context of their collaborative Partnership for Innovation, Education and Research (PIER).

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Gerhard Kramer

Information Theory and Engineering
Gerhard Kramer is one of the world’s leading researchers in information theory and communications engineering. His innovative achievements in the most diverse areas of telecommunications technology, from radio engineering to optical data communication, have been highly acclaimed. In the course of his career, Kramer has continually combined theory and applications, working, for example, at the Bell Laboratories in the USA, one of the world’s top addresses for industrial applied research. Kramer will be invited to assume the chair in communications engineering at TUM (Technische Universität München) and to help uphold and enhance Munich’s position as a global leader in the field.

Nominating university: TUM (Technische Universität München)
  • Gerhard Kramer
    Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
    David Ausserhofer

    Prof. Dr. Gerhard Kramer,
    born 1970, studied electrical engineering at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. Doctorate at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich), Switzerland, 1998. Consultant at Endora Tech AG in Basel, Switzerland, until 2000. Member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories, Alcatel-Lucent, Murray Hill, USA, 2000-2008. Visiting professorships at Columbia University, New York, USA, and Korea University, Seoul, South Korea. Full Professor at the University of Southern California, Department of Electrical Engineering, Los Angeles, California, USA since 2009. Kramer became an Alexander von Humboldt Professor holding the chair in communications engineering at TUM Munich in October 2010.

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Dirk Kreimer

Mathematical Physics
Dirk Kreimer is one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of mathematical physics. As a physicist, he is not only held in the highest esteem by his colleagues in the discipline, but also by top mathematicians with whom he regularly cooperates. At Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Kreimer is supposed to drive the symbiosis of mathematics and theoretical physics in Germany, focusing on fields such as quantum field theory, and helping Germany draw level with the best in the world. Kreimer is scheduled to become a member of the Department of Mathematics and the Department of Physics as well as the Director of the new Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical Physics.
 
no longer receiving sponsorship

Nominating university: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • Dirk Kreimer
    Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
    David Ausserhofer

    Prof. Dr. Dirk Kreimer,
    born 1960, doctorate and post-doctorate at Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz, 1992. Post-doctorate at the University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia, 1993-1995. Return to Mainz, 1995. Professor of Mathematical Physics and Scientific Director at Boston University, USA, 2001-2002. From 2002, he was a researcher at the IHÉS (Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques), Bures-sur-Yvette, France. In January 2011, Kreimer became Alexander von Humboldt Professor for Mathematical Physics at HU Berlin.

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Hannes Leitgeb

Philosophy
Hannes Leitgeb is one of the world’s leading academics working at the interface of logic, mathematics and cognitive science. His numerous innovative achievements include his work on artificial neural networks. This is where Leitgeb closes the interdisciplinary gap between research into artificial intelligence and brain research. In Munich Leitgeb will build up a new centre of mathematical philosophy which will cooperate closely with neurophilosophy and neuroscience.

Nominating university: LMU München
  • Hannes Leitgeb
    Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
    David Ausserhofer

    Prof. Dr. Dr. Hannes Leitgeb,
    born Austria, 1972, doctorates in mathematics (1998) and philosophy (2001), both at Salzburg, subsequently assistant professor there; in 2004, a year in Stanford as Erwin Schrödinger Fellow; from 2005, at University of Bristol, UK, initially as reader and from 2007 – at the age of 35 – as holder of the chair bridging the philosophy and mathematics departments. Granted the Humboldt Foundation’s Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Award and the Philip Leverhulme Prize in 2007. Selected as an Alexander von Humboldt Professor in 2010; assumed the chair in logic and philosophy of language in October 2010, concurrently becoming head of the Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy at LMU Munich.

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Vahid Sandoghdar

Nano-optics
Vahid Sandoghdar is one of the world’s leading scientists in nano-optics, a field to which he has added a further area of study: single-molecule nanophotonics. The experimental techniques he introduced were also highly influential in other fields of research, such as physical chemistry, biophysics, optical microscopy and quantum optics. Sandoghdar is to become the director of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light and professor at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, where he will sharpen the strategic research focus of the field of optics. In cooperation with various departments, he will develop new fields of research, such as biophotonics and nano quantum optics. The establishment of a Centre for Light Microscopy is also planned under his direction.

Nominating university: University of Erlangen-Nürnberg in conjunction with the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Erlangen
  • Vahid Sandoghdar
    Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
    David Ausserhofer

    Prof. Dr. Vahid Sandoghdar,
    born in Iran in 1966, studies at the University of California, doctorate from Yale University New Haven, Connecticut, USA in 1993. From 1993 to 1995, he worked at the École normale supérieure in Paris, France. Between 1995 and 2001, he worked in Germany at the University of Konstanz. From 2001, he has been professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich, Laboratory of Physical Chemistry, Switzerland. In March 2011, he became an Alexander von Humboldt Professor, Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Erlangen and holder of the chair in nano-optics, plasmonics and biophotonics in the Department of Physics at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. Memberships of various bodies, e.g. the American Chemical Society, the Swiss Chemical Society and the German Physical Society.

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Alec Michael Wodtke

Physical Chemistry
Alec Wodtke has made significant contributions to photo and atmospheric chemistry and is a world leader in the field of molecular interactions at interfaces. His work has produced fundamental contributions to catalysis research, the storage and conversion of chemical energy into electrical energy and interface research. This topic is set to be developed into a focus area at Göttingen University as well as at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen. Wodtke is scheduled to become the founding director of a new Centre for Advanced Studies in Energy Conversion.

Nominating university: University of Göttingen in conjunction with the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen
  • Alec Michael Wodtke
    Photo: Humboldt Foundation/
    David Ausserhofer

    Prof. Dr. Alec Michael Wodtke,
    born USA, 1959, study and doctorate at the University of California, Berkeley, two-year post-doc at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organisation in Göttingen. Subsequently university career at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Santa Barbara, USA; since 1996 Full Professor. Wodtke started working in the Department of Physical Chemistry at the University of Göttingen as an Alexander von Humboldt Professor and as the director of the Department of Dynamics at Surfaces at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen in April 2011. Numerous awards, including the National Science Foundation’s Young Investigator Award and the 1997 Humboldt Research Award (at the age of 38).

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