The German Research Foundation (DFG) announced on Thursday that Professor Peter Gumbsch, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg and Halle, head of the Institute for Reliability of Components and Systems IZBS at the University of Karlsruhe and member of the Board of Trustees of IMDEA-Materials, is to receive the 2007 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize for his outstanding research on the deformation and fracture mechanisms of materials. Worth 2.5 million euros, the Leibniz prize is Germany’s most highly endowed research prize, and also the most prestigious.
His research focuses mainly on the intersection of physics and engineering. The main emphasis of Peter Gumbsch’s research lies in the simulation of materials, particularly multi-scale materials modeling, i.e. the mathematical description of materials on a variety of size and time scales – from atomic level through crystals to the workpiece as a whole. In order to be able to precisely describe how the properties of materials change during manufacturing processes, such as the die-casting of metal parts, or when components are in use, for example exposed to high temperatures or abrasive wear – we have to be able to understand the effect of physical processes on materials down to the atomic level. This elementary knowledge then has to be incorporated in engineering simulations by means of multi-scale simulation. Peter Gumbsch has contributed significantly towards developing methods for linking finite-element simulations to atomistic techniques.
After obtaining his doctorate degree in physics at the University of Stuttgart, Gumbsch went to Oxford in 1991 as visiting scientist, before returning to Stuttgart to work at the Max Plank Institute for Metals Research. He is currently tenured professor for mechanics of materials and head of the Institute for Reliability of Components and Systems at the University of Karlsruhe, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials and member of the Board of Trustees of IMDEA-Materials. Professor Peter Gumbsch