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Professor Günter M. Ziegler Is New President of Freie Universität Berlin

Mathematician Succeeds Long-time President Prof. Dr. Peter-André Alt

№ 185/2018 from Jul 06, 2018

Mathematician Günter M. Ziegler is the new president of Freie Universität Berlin. A mathematics professor at Freie Universität, Ziegler took over the official duties of Prof. Dr. Peter-André Alt during a ceremony on Friday in the Max Kade Auditorium of the Henry Ford Building. The literary scholar Alt had headed the university for eight years. As of August 1, he will be the 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 Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, emphasized in his speech that "from a start-up venture in 1948, Freie Universität has turned into one of the best universities in the world. The university is a figurehead for our city and has significantly shaped the special Berlin culture of cooperation. I would like to give particular thanks for this to Professor Alt, and I am looking forward to working closely together with Professor Ziegler and all the members of Freie Universität to continue to strengthen our city as a research hub."

Prof. Günter M. Ziegler was elected on May 2 by the Extended Academic Senate in the first cast ballot. 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 Institute 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.

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. In mathematics Ziegler deals with aspects of discrete geometry, especially the theory of polyhedra, with algebraic and topological methods in combinatorics, and with problems of optimization.

Prof. Dr. Klaus Hoffmann-Holland was appointed as the new Executive Vice President of the university. Hoffmann-Holland is a professor of criminology and criminal law at the Department of Law, Freie Universität Berlin, and up to now served as a vice president of the university. The other vice presidents will be elected on July 11.

Press Photo

The photo is available to media representatives for download. It may be used free of charge in the context of the press release, provided that due credit is given to Bernd Wannenmacher.

Press Photo

Günter M. Ziegler is the president of Freie Universität Berlin.

Günter M. Ziegler is the president of Freie Universität Berlin.
Image Credit: Bernd Wannenmacher

Further Information

Goran Krstin, Press Spokesman for the President of Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-73106, Email: goran.krstin@fu-berlin.de