Press Release No. 14 | 6 April 2010
Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prizes 2010: Six Outstanding Young Researchers Honoured
Recognition and Incentives for Top Young Researchers
Six young researchers, two women and four men, have been awarded this year’s Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prizes. The relevant selection committee has now chosen the 2010 recipients of Germany’s most prestigious award for young scientists. The prizewinners are:
Dr. Daniel Balzani, Mechanics, University of Hanover
Dr. Wilhelm Hofmann, Psychology, University of Würzburg
Dr. Hannah Markwig, Mathematics, University of Göttingen
Dr. Ansgar Reiners, Astrophysics, University of Göttingen
Dr. Sebastian Schmidt-Hofner, Ancient History, University of Heidelberg
Dr. Christina Thiele, Chemistry, Technische Universität (TU) Darmstadt
104 nominations from all scientific fields were received for this year’s Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize, with a good third of the nominees being women. Once the Nominations Committee had made a pre-selection, 50 nominees were placed on a short list, from which this year’s prizewinners were chosen.
Six young researchers have been awarded the prize, which is named for the former DFG President and nuclear physicist Heinz Maier-Leibnitz, every year since 1977. The selection process focuses on the candidates’ outstanding qualifications and their independent scientific profiles. Each prizewinner receives 16,000 euros, which is furnished by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. These funds are intended to support the prizewinners in continuing their scientific work.
This year's Heinz Maier-Leibnitz prizes will be awarded in Bonn on 20 May 2010.
Further information on the individual prizewinners:
Daniel Balzani (33), Mechanics, University of Hanover
Daniel Balzani is one of the top young German researchers in the field of mechanics and has already made a name for himself in the international arena through his independent research and multifaceted contacts. In particular, his work on the development of a material model to describe the mechanical behaviour of arterial tissue is groundbreaking. His results are significant, not only for the optimisation of medical treatment methods, but also for material theory in general. Balzani currently holds the Mechanics Chair at the Institute of Mechanics and Computational Mechanics at the Leibniz University in Hanover.
Wilhelm Hofmann (33), Psychology, University of Würzburg
One of Germany’s most talented and creative young researchers in the field of psychology, Wilhelm Hofmann is investigating the correlation between implicit and explicit attitudes and personality traits. He is also carrying out high-level research into the impulsive and reflexive influences on self-regulating behaviour. Hofmann laid the foundations for his multifaceted research programme in his dissertation, and his outstanding empirical analyses and overview studies have lent considerable impetus to his chosen research areas.
Hannah Markwig (29), Mathematics, University of Göttingen
Hannah Markwig is one of the world’s leading young researchers in “tropical geometry”, a new area of algebraic geometry with connections to combinatorics and roots in Brazil. Markwig’s contributions to this emergent field are used in enumerative geometry and thus, by extension, in the mathematical formulation of modern physics concepts, such as those related to string theory, for example. Markwig has also achieved considerable progress in the computer-assisted implementation of her findings, and has assisted in the development of a software package that uses practical examples to translate objects from tropical to algebraic geometry and vice versa. Her work has facilitated the Göttingen-based junior professor’s outstanding integration into the international research community, where she is held in high regard.
Ansgar Reiners (36), Astrophysics, University of Göttingen
Ansgar Reiners’ new approaches to observation and analysis have considerably advanced two research areas in the field of stellar astrophysics. On the one hand, Reiners has developed a process for using spectroscopy to measure stellar differential rotation, a key factor in understanding the mechanisms of stellar dynamos. On the other, he has also developed his own process for directly measuring magnetic fields in very cold stars. In addition to these achievements, which have attracted a high level of international regard, Reiners has also made a name for himself as an academic instructor and founder of research associations, and has done so at an early age.
Sebastian Schmidt-Hofner (33), Ancient History, University of Heidelberg
Sebastian Schmidt-Hofner is considered one of the most promising young researchers in the field of Ancient History and enjoys an excellent international reputation. As early as his dissertation, the historian's research of the late antiquity period proved seminal. In this work, he placed legal texts into a broader context, thus facilitating a more multi-layered interpretation of this important source from the Late Antiquity period. Schmidt-Hofner is currently researching regional planning in the cultures of archaic and classical Greece and is the first to systematically apply modern spatial sociology methods to the investigation of antique structures.
Christina Thiele (36), Chemistry, Technische Universität (TU) Darmstadt
Early on, Christina Thiele proved herself a creative researcher and one who was willing to take risks. Her marked scientific independence has earned her an international profile. The head of a DFG-funded Emmy Noether independent junior research group, Thiele has used NMR spectroscopy highly successfully in a number of different areas, initially in her dissertation on metal-organic reactions, and then later in determining the configuration of small organic molecules. Christina Thiele has been able to make substantial contributions to this field, which is mastered by just a few Research Units worldwide.
This year’s Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prizes will be presented on 20 May 2010, at 4 pm in the Gremiensaal room of the Deutsche Welle building, located at Kurt-Schumacher-Straße 3, 53113 Bonn.
Representatives of the media are welcome to attend the ceremony. Please register your attendance in advance by contacting
Jutta Höhn in the DFG’s Press and Public Relations division (Tel: +49 (0)228 885-2443, Jutta.Hoehn@dfg.de.)
Detailed information on the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize and the previous prizewinners is available from:
Contact persons at the DFG head office:
Annette Lessenich, Tel. +49 (0)228 885-2835, Annette.Lessenich@dfg.de