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Freie Universität Berlin and Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics in Halle Successfully Nominate Scientist for Alexander von Humboldt Professorship

Renowned physicist Prof. Dr. Bogdan Andrei Bernevig to move to Germany from Princeton University

№ 296/2017 from Oct 26, 2017

Freie Universität Berlin and the Max Planck Institute (MPI) of Microstructure Physics in Halle have nominated Prof. Dr. Bogdan Andrei Bernevig, a physicist currently doing research in the USA, for a prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Professorship – International Award for Research in Germany. The nomination is among the five successful submissions out of the eleven entered across Germany, as the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation announced Thursday following the decision of its selection committee in Bonn. Born in Romania in 1978, Bernevig currently lectures at Princeton University in the USA. In his work, he innovatively combines research on fundamental aspects of solid state physics with issues in materials science. A joint appointment at Freie Universität and MPI will enable him to link up his broad-based activities in these research fields.

Regarding the decision as a great success for the university and MPI, the president of Freie Universität Berlin, Prof. Dr. Peter-André Alt, expressed his thanks to the Humboldt Foundation. “Bogdan Andrei Bernevig is one of the highest-profile theoretical physicists of his generation,” said Alt, adding that Bernevig’s appointment opens up great and diverse opportunities for collaboration between researchers at the two institutions.

The 3.5 million euros award money that was applied for and has now been approved is intended for the first five years of Bernevig’s research work in Germany. The award is conferred by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The new award winners will now enter into negotiations with the universities and institutions that nominated them. If the nominees accept the Humboldt Professorship, they will receive the award in May 2018.

Prof. Dr. Bogdan Andrei Bernevig is a professor of physics at Princeton University, USA. After graduating, he took his doctorate at Stanford University, USA, and then went on to become a postdoc at the Princeton Center for Theoretical Physics at Princeton University, where he subsequently held various professorships. His work has garnered numerous awards for young researchers, including the 2014 Sackler Prize, the 2016 New Horizons Prize, and a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship.

How do the countless electrons behave that are found in a material? What interactions take place; how do the electrons organize themselves within a material, and what does this mean for the material’s state of matter? Andrei Bernevig not only investigates and calculates how materials behave in classic states of matter but also, for instance, how they become superconducting. To this end, he combines theoretical predictions with experimental outcomes. He is particularly well-known for his work on topological insulators. These materials only insulate in their interior while conducting electricity on their surface. His materials science activities are to be based at MPI in Halle. At Freie Universität Berlin, he will join the Dahlem Center for Complex Quantum Systems.

The Humboldt Professorship aims to enable German universities to offer internationally competitive conditions for top researchers and to enhance their own global competitive profile. The award comes with a commitment to providing the new Humboldt Professors with long-term prospects for their research in Germany. The Foundation offers numerous funding programs for researchers and maintains a network of over 28,000 Humboldtians across all disciplines in over 140 countries – including 55 Nobel laureates.

Further information, photos, and video portraits of the current and future award winners