Prof. Dr. Britta Nestler
© DFG / Ausserhofer
Materials Science, Institute for Applied Materials – Computational Materials Science, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Britta Nestler has been selected to receive the 2017 Leibniz Prize for her significant, internationally recognised research in computer-assisted materials research and the development of new material models with multiscale and multiphysical approaches. Nestler has developed extremely flexible and high-performing simulation environments to simulate the microstructure of materials for use on supercomputers. These are based on her own quantitative models for the description of multicomponent systems. She has thus achieved a new quality of microstructure representation in the thermomechanical simulation of materials and the simulation of solidification processes and thus depicted these processes through realistic 3D simulation for the first time. Through her creative application and further development of the phase field method, Nestler has achieved outstanding fundamental insights which are also of enormous practical relevance. For example, her simulation calculations are used to predict the spread of cracks in design materials such as brake discs and therefore help to extend their lifetime.
Britta Nestler studied physics and mathematics in Aachen, where she also received her doctorate. Research visits took her to Southampton, UK and Paris. In 2001 Nestler accepted a professorship in the Faculty of Computer Science at Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences and in 2009 her current chair at KIT.
Shortly before the awards ceremony the DFG received anonymous comments concerning the research work of Prof. Dr. Britta Nestler, a materials scientist at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, which required further examination. A thorough investigation was conducted and Prof. Nestler was cleared of all allegations of scientific misconduct. The 2017 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize was subsequently awarded to her during the DFG’s annual meeting in Halle (Saale).