Professor Hans Wolfgang Spiess has retired from his position as Director of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P), Mainz, Germany. Professors Paul Blom and Mischa Bonn have taken over as the new directors of the Institute. The change in leadership was celebrated at a special colloquium at the MPI-P, entitled “New Paths and Opportunities”. The colloquium included addresses from the new directors. Blom presented his scientific vision and ongoing work at the MPI-P under the title “How special are organic semiconductors?”, while Bonn’s talk “Good Vibrations at the MPI-P” explained the opportunities of optically detected vibrational spectroscopy.
Hans Wolfgang Spiess received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 1968 from the University of Frankfurt, Germany. After a postdoctoral stay at Florida State University, USA, he returned to Germany in 1970 to join the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Department of Molecular Physics in Heidelberg. He completed his Habilitation in 1978 at the University of Mainz, Germay. From 1981–1982 he held a professorship in physical chemistry at the University of Münster, Germany, and in 1983 accepted the chair of macromolecular chemistry at the University of Bayreuth, Germany.
Spiess has been a director of the MPI-P since 1984. He has served as chairman of the European Polymer Federation, chairman of the Capital Investment Committee of the German Science Foundation (DFG), and on the advisory boards of numerous journals.
His research interests concentrate on the development of magnetic resonance techniques for elucidating structure, dynamics, phase behavior, and order in synthetic macromolecules and supramolecular systems. He applies these as well as other spectroscopic methods to study new polymer materials in order to relate their microscopic and macroscopic behavior.
Paul Blom studied physics at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUe), Netherlands. He stayed at TUe for his Ph.D. in semiconductors, before joining Philips Research, Amsterdam, Netherlands, to investigate PolyLEDs and optical recording. In 2000, he was appointed Professor of Molecular Electronics at the University of Groningen, Netherlands, a position he maintained on a part time basis after he was named Scientific Director at Holst Centre, Eindhoven, Netherlands, in 2008. Blom joined the MPI-P in September 2012.
Blom’s research centers on organic and macromolecular electronics, including the basic questions of charge transport and diffusion of excited states, and how this affects the manufacture of field-effect transistors, light-emitting diodes, solar cells, and storage mediums.
Mischa Bonn studied chemistry at the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands. He gained his Ph.D. from the University of Eindhoven, Netherlands, in 1996. He held postdoctoral positions with Gerhard Ertl and Martin Wolf at the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society in Berlin, Germany, (1997–1999) as well as with Tony F. Heinz at Columbia University, New York, USA (1998–2001). Bonn then joined Leiden University as assistant professor and in 2005 returned to the University of Amsterdam as full professor. He has been director and scientific member at the MPI-P since 2011.
Bonn’s research focuses on label-free, ultrafast vibrational spectroscopy and microscopy of biomolecular systems and water in such systems, including model systems for biological membranes.
- The Retirement of Hans Wolfgang Spiess and “New Paths” at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research,