Leibniz Prize goes to mathematician from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics

Gerhard Huisken is awarded one of the prizes of the German Research Foundation (DFG), endowed with 1.55 million Euros

December 06, 2002

In choosing Professor Huisken, the German Research Foundation distinguishes an "international top scientist working in the area of ​​intersection between pure mathematics and theoretical physics." His research focuses on calculus and differential geometry; in mathematical physics, he has made outstanding contributions to Einstein's general theory of relativity.

Geometry, gravitation and black holes

Prof Dr Gerhard Huisken

Differential geometry, calculus and, in particular, partial differential equations provide the language of general relativity.  In-depth research in these areas is carried out to study Einstein's gravitational field equations and their implications for phenomena such as black holes, gravitational waves or the big bang singularity. The theoretical investigations ensure the consistency of physical models and provide insight and justification for numerical simulations of observable processes, in particular in relation to gravitational wave detector measurements.

“This award greatly pleases me, as it does my co-authors, co-workers, and students," stated Gerhard Huisken, who was at first somewhat overwhelmed by the news. “Working with other scientists and students has always spurred me on to new projects."

With the aid of the funding, additional scientists can be recruited, but not only that: "With the prize money, I would like to strengthen the collaboration of my division with universities in Germany and abroad," emphasizes Huisken. "Much of my most important work has been developed by cooperating with colleagues and I would like to expand this cooperation."

The ceremony for the award of the Leibniz Prize by the German Research Foundation President Professor Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker takes place on 17 February 2003 in Berlin.

From the press release of the German Research Foundation:

Gerhard Huisken and his scientific work

A central topic in the work of Gerhard Huisken is the evolution of the shape of surfaces during the course of time. He researches the deformation of surfaces; the rules thereof being determined by the geometry of the surfaces itself. Gerhard Huisken co-founded this branch of research in the mid-1980s through his work on the so-called mean curvature flow. Since then, his research has continually been at the forefront of this area. The theory of the evolution of surfaces, developed by Gerhard Huisken, not only leads to the understanding of processes that occur during the course of time, but can also be used to create mathematical and physical objects.

Gerhard Huisken earned his doctorate in mathematics in 1983 at the University of Heidelberg. Three years later he completed the post-doctoral qualification period that is required for a full university professorship. From 1986 to 1991 he worked at the University of Canberra in Australia. Gerhard Huisken has received calls to many important institutions such as ETH Zurich and Harvard University. He is currently Director of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Potsdam-Golm.

The Leibniz Prize

In 2003, the German Research Foundation awarded eleven scientists with the most highly endowed German research prize. The funding sum of EUR 1.55 million is intended for research work over a period of five years and can be used flexibly according to the needs of the scientists.

The goal of the program, which was established in 1985, is to improve the working conditions of outstanding scientists, to broaden their research possibilities, to relieve them of administrative work and to facilitate the employment of highly qualified young scientists. Scientists from all disciplines can be nominated for the award. The Nomination Committee of the German Research Foundation has selected the numerous proposals for the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, especially from those that promise a substantial increase in scientific achievements through additional funding.

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