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Professor Günter M. Ziegler Elected President of Freie Universität Berlin

Extended Academic Senate Voted for Successor to Long-term President Prof. Dr. Peter-André Alt

Jun 26, 2018

Mathematics Professor Günter M. Ziegler (right) elected  president of Freie Universität Berlin (with President Peter-André Alt, left).

Mathematics Professor Günter M. Ziegler (right) elected president of Freie Universität Berlin (with President Peter-André Alt, left).
Image Credit: Bernd Wannenmacher

The mathematician Prof. Günter M. Ziegler, a professor at Freie Universität Berlin, was elected president of Freie Universität. During a session of the Extended Academic Senate on Wednesday, Ziegler received 39 of 61 votes cast in the first ballot, as the Central Election Committee announced.

Ziegler succeeds Prof. Dr. Peter-André Alt, who after two terms in office did not run for re-election. On April 24, Alt was elected president of the German Rectors’ Conference. The president of Freie Universität is appointed by the Berlin Senate; the term of office lasts four years. The Extended Academic Senate also elected a new executive vice president, Prof. Dr. Klaus Hoffmann-Holland, a professor of criminology and criminal law at the Department of Law at Freie Universität and currently a vice president of Freie Universität.

Prof. Günter M. Ziegler was born in Munich in 1963. After first studying at Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, he earned his doctorate in 1987 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. After working four years in Augsburg and a research stay during the fall and winter months in Stockholm, he came to Berlin in 1992, where he worked at the Konrad Zuse Center (today’s Zuse Institut Berlin, ZIB Berlin), a mathematical research institute in the state of Berlin. Ziegler completed the habilitation process at Technische Universität Berlin, where he worked as a professor of mathematics from January 1995 through February 2011. Since March 2011 he has been doing research and teaching at Freie Universität Berlin, and since May 2017 he has also been an adjunct professor at Technische Universität Berlin. In 2006 he was in charge of setting up Berlin Mathematical School (BMS) as a joint graduate school of the three major Berlin universities. Currently he is again serving as chair of BMS.

Ziegler deals with aspects of discrete geometry, especially the theory of polyhedra, with algebraic and topological methods in combinatorics, and with problems of optimization. In 2001 he was awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation (DFG) for his research. In 2008 he received the Communicator Award of the DFG and the Stifterverband für die deutsche Wissenschaft (Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany). In 2010 he was awarded an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council, and in November 2017 he was awarded the Berlin Science Prize of the Governing Mayor of Berlin.

Ziegler is a board member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, a member of the German National Academy, Leopoldina, and the German Academy of Engineering Sciences, acatech, and a fellow of the American Mathematical Society. From 2006 to 2008 Ziegler was president of the German Mathematical Society (DMV). Ziegler is committed to promoting a diverse and lively public image of mathematics. He was an initiator of the Year of Mathematics in 2008, and currently directs the DMV's Media Bureau of Mathematics as well as the DMV's Network Office School – Higher Education.

Together with Professor Martin Aigner, Ziegler wrote Das BUCH der Beweise (Proofs from the BOOK), which is available in 14 languages. Currently the fifth edition of the German version and the 6th edition of the English version are in preparation. In January 2018 the book was awarded the Steele Prize for Exposition by the American Mathematical Society (AMS). He has also published two books for the broader German public