Press Release No. 17 | 16 April 2010
Copernicus Award 2010 for German-Polish Cooperation in Physics
Joint Award from the DFG and FNP Goes to Researchers from Würzburg and Wrocław
For their achievements in promoting German-Polish cooperation in science, Professor Dr. Alfred Forchel from Würzburg and Professor Dr. Jan Misiewicz from Wrocław, both physicists, will receive the Copernicus Award of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP). Through their many years of joint collaboration, the two researchers have strengthened research cooperation between the two countries in a sustainable way, work that has, according to the justification for the award given by the jury of the DFG and FNP, been of particular benefit to young researchers. The Copernicus Award is worth €100,000 and will be presented on 10 May 2010 in Berlin by the presidents of the DFG and FNP, Professor Dr. Matthias Kleiner and Professor Dr. Maciej Zylicz.
The award recipients have worked together since 1999 and have established a lively exchange between Würzburg and Wrocław. Their work has focussed primarily on materials for semiconductors and nanotechnology. In this area, they are able to optimally combine the expertise of their respective institutes, the Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen Research Center for Complex Material Systems in Würzburg and the Laboratory of Semiconductor Physics, Devices and Nanotechnology in Wrocław. The structures produced by the Würzburg researchers with the aid of outstanding experimental equipment is closely examined by the laboratory in Wrocław with optical methods, an area in which it is specialised. In this way, the two teams have been able to explain many complex, optoelectronic properties in low-dimensional semiconductors.
Just how successfully the Forchel and Misiewicz duo works together is seen, in among other ways, by the some 60 joint publications in high-ranking scientific journals. Their results are relevant for basic research in physics, but also open various application possibilities in nanotechnology, telecommunication, medicine, the life sciences and many other fields.
Professor Dr. Alfred Forchel has directed the University of Würzburg as president since 1 October 2009 and is the director of the Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen Research Center for Complex Material Systems. Forchel is originally from Stuttgart, where he completed his physics studies with a doctorate (1983) and earned his advance postdoctoral qualification (1988). Also in Stuttgart, he directed the university's microstructure laboratory from 1984 to 1990. He was appointed by the University of Würzburg to the chair of technical physics in 1990. Here, too, he became head of the microstructure laboratory, which was started in 1994. In addition, he co-founded the degree programme for nanostructure technology.
Professor Dr. Jan Misiewicz is director of the Institute for Physics at the University of Wrocław and head of the Laboratory of Semiconductor Physics, Devices and Nanotechnology. Misiewicz completed his academic training—a degree in solid-state physics with subsequent PhD and advanced postdoctoral qualifications in semiconductor physics—in Wrocław, where he was appointed professor in 1999. He has held numerous academic offices and established the Laboratory for Optical Spectroscopy.
The two physicists are the third pair of researchers to have received the Copernicus Award, which the DFG and FNP have conferred every two years since 2006 to one scientific personality from Germany and one from Poland. The award is named after the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543) and is intended to serve as a symbol of the close cooperation between Germany and Poland in the area of research. The two organisations donate the prize money in equal shares; each of the two award recipients receives half and may use the money for any scientific purpose that is within the scope of the funding programmes of the DFG and FNP. One area of emphasis should, however, be the further advancement of joint promotion of young researchers. In addition to the Copernicus Award, both organisations have, for several years, taken significant steps towards intensifying cooperation in research funding.
Further information on the Copernicus Award can be found at
Contact for the Copernicus Award at the DFG:
Philip Thelen, International Affairs Division, Tel. +49 228 885-2663, Philip.Thelen@dfg.de