Leibniz Award winner of the University of Duisburg-Essen

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Award

Endowed with up to 2.5 million euros, the Leibniz Award is regarded as Germany’s top research funding prize. It is intended to improve the working conditions of outstanding scientists and expand the scope of their research capabilities. By relieving the amount of administrative work required, it is also intended to facilitate the engagement of highly qualified young researchers.

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Our prizewinners:

Leibniz Award winners 2014 Prof. Dr. Christof Schulz

Faculty of Engineering – Institute for Combustion and Gas Dynamics

Prof. Dr. Christop Schulz

Prof. Dr.
Christof Schulz

The work of Christof Schulz largely revolves around understanding and controlling combustion processes and nanomaterial synthesis in the gas phase at microscopic level. His research deals with laser diagnostics in reactive currents and combustion engines as well as with the chemical kinetics of high-temperature reactions. He is also involved in the gas phase synthesis of customised nanoparticles for the research and development of functional materials for energy technology. This work serves to illustrate the possibilities afforded by an understanding about the elementary steps of technical processes in order to develop application-specific combustion and material systems.

Christof Schulz studied Chemistry at the University of Karlsruhe and was awarded a doctorate in 1997 from Heidelberg University. From 1997 to 2004, he headed up a research group at the Institute of Physical Chemistry. Following his habilitation in 2002, he also worked as a consulting associate professor at Stanford University. In 2004, he accepted a professorship at the Institute for Combustion and Gas Dynamics (IVG) at UDE. He is currently the spokesperson for the Centre for Nanointegration (CENIDE), as well as the initiator and director of the “NanoEnergieTechnikZentrum” (NETZ).

> UDE press release from 5 December 2013

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Leibniz Award winners 2003 Prof. Dr. Hèlène Esnault and Prof. Dr. Eckart Viehweg †

Faculty of Mathematics – Algebraic Geometry

Prof. Dr. Hèlène Esnault

Prof. Dr.
Hèlène Esnault

Prof. Dr. Eckart Viehweg

Prof. Dr.
Eckart Viehweg †


Hélène Esnault and Eckart Viehweg were the first married couple to receive a Leibniz Award for joint scientific work. They have achieved key findings in the field of algebraic and arithmetic geometry. The objects of their research are solution sets of equations, the most basic examples of which are curves (circles or straight lines) and surfaces (such as the earth’s surface) that appear throughout nature. The strength of their work lies in the generalisation of traditional methods in a highly abstract manner, without losing the relation to important applications to conventional problems in differential equations and number theory.

Eckart Viehweg studied in Heidelberg and completed his doctorate in Mannheim, where he also habilitated as a professor.  In 1984, he accepted an invitation to the Gesamthochschule Essen, as the university was formerly known. As a scientist, he has made a significant contribution to mathematics in Essen (Essener Mathematik) in the field of algebraic geometry becoming an internationally renowned research centre. It is therefore unsurprising that Viehweg has received numerous awards for his outstanding scientific achievements. In 2009, he was admitted to the Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences. He died in 2010 following a short illness.

Born in Paris, Hélène Esnault studied mathematics there before accepting a professorship at the University of Essen in 1999. This came after she had held an interim position as a Heisenberg scholar of the DFG at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in Bonn. Together with her husband, she fostered scientific contacts in a whole host of countries, including France, England, the USA and Japan, as well as Mexico, China and Vietnam. In recognition of their outstanding achievements, both researchers received the honorary doctorate of the Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology, Hanoi, in 2009. In 2012, she transferred to an Einstein professorship at the Free University of Berlin.

Website of the Faculty of Mathematics

Obituary of Professor Eckart Viehweg †

Leibniz Award Winner 1996 Professor Dr. Hans Werner Diehl

Faculty of Physics – Theoretical Physics

 Prof. Dr. H. W. Diehl

Prof. Dr. H. W. Diehl

Hans Werner Diehl is renowned and well-respected worldwide for his valuable contributions to the understanding of universal critical behaviour in connection with surfaces and interfaces. His fields of research include quantum crystals, elementary excitations in solid hydrogen and neutron scattering, statistical mechanics of interfaces, the influence of disorder on critical phenomena and phase transitions, and the universal properties of polymers.

Hans Werner Diehl studied at the University of Giessen. After completing his doctorate, he relocated to New Jersey, USA, where he took up a fellowship at Rutgers University. From 1979 to 1984, he was a research assistant at LMU Munich before moving to the Institute of Solid State Research, Jülich. He habilitated in Munich in 1986, which qualified him as a professor. Shortly afterwards, Diehl was appointed Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Essen. He was also a project leader in the collaborative research centre 237 “Unordnung und große Fluktuationen” [Disorder and large fluctuations].

> more about: „Prof. Dr. Hans Werner Diehl“

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