Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2017

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2017

Author: ChemViews

The Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize is the highest honor in the German research landscape and is awarded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). This year, ten outstanding researchers were chosen from 134 nominees. Three of the prizewinners are from the natural sciences, three from the humanities and social sciences, two from life sciences, and two from engineering. Each honoree will receive 2.5 million EUR to fund further research.

The following researchers received the 2017 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize:


  • Lutz Ackermann, Organic Molecular Chemistry
    Institute of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, University of Göttingen

    Ackermann’s research is focused on the catalytic activation of carbon-hydrogen bonds. He has developed methods that allow the low-impact manufacturing of important chemical products, including active substances, agrochemicals, and fine chemicals.


  • Beatrice Gründler, Arabic Studies
    Seminar for Semitic and Arabic Studies, Free University of Berlin

    Gründler studies the diversity of voices in Arabic poetry and culture. She has developed a complex media history of the Arab world, from the introduction of paper to book printing and beyond.


  • Ralph Hertwig, Cognitive Psychology
    Center for Adaptive Rationality, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin

    Hertwig’s research is concerned with the psychology of human judgment and decision-making. He has expanded the understanding of the possibilities and limitations of human rationality and of the strategies which humans use to make decisions and organize their actions.


  • Karl-Peter Hopfner, Structural Molecular Biology
    Department of Biochemistry – Gene Center, University of Munich (LMU)

    Hopfner works in the fields of structural molecular biology and genome biology. He has made pioneering contributions to the field of DNA repair and the cellular detection of foreign nucleic acids with a focus on the molecular mechanisms of multiprotein complexes.


  • Frank Jülicher, Theory of Biological Physics
    Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden

    Jülicher’s research is focused on identifying universal physical principles in the complex world of living matter. He has formulated a general hydrodynamic theory of active matter and contributed to the understanding of cell self-organization in tissue.


  • Lutz Mädler, Mechanical Process Engineering
    Stiftung Institut für Werkstofftechnik (IWT) and Department of Production Engineering, University of Bremen

    Mädler has performed pioneering work in the targeted reactive formation of nanoparticles in the gas phase and their effect on living matter. He has developed a variant of flame spray pyrolysis for the cost-effective synthesis of nanoparticles, which involves the thermochemical splitting of organic compounds.


  • Britta Nestler, Materials Science
    Institute for Applied Materials – Computational Materials Science, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

    Nestler’s research is focused on computer-assisted materials research and the development of new material models. She has achieved a new quality of microstructure representation in the thermomechanical simulation of materials. For example, her calculations are used to predict the spread of cracks in materials such as brake discs and help to extend their lifetime.


  • Joachim P. Spatz, Biophysics
    Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart, and Institute of Physical Chemistry, University of Heidelberg

    Spatz works at the boundaries of materials sciences and cell biophysics. His research is concerned with cell adhesion, and he was able to explain how the molecular mechanism of collective cell migration works in wound healing.


  • Anne Storch, African Studies
    Institute for African Studies and Egyptology, University of Cologne

    Storch’s studies have shown how linguistically-based analyses can be used to develop a cultural-anthropological understanding of contemporary Africa. For example, she studied taboos and secret languages in central Africa. Her case studies have become internationally significant model studies for a modern, self-critical approach to African Studies.


  • Jörg Vogel, Medical Microbiology
    Institute for Molecular Infection Biology, University of Würzburg

    Vogel studies regulatory RNA molecules in infection biology. He has discovered how small regulatory RNA molecules control protein synthesis and the breakdown of RNA, which has contributed to the development of new methods for gene therapy. Vogel co-discovered tracrRNA (trans-activating RNA), which made the application of the CRISPR/Cas9 system possible.


Recent Publications by the Recipients


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