Prof. Dederichs awarded Helmholtz Professorship
February 6, 2012
Prof. Peter H. Dederichs of the Peter Grünberg Institute (PGI-2) was awarded a Helmholtz Professorship on 6 February 2012 at the New Year Reception for employees of Forschungszentrum Jülich. The professorship is an expression of the particularly high regard in which the scientific work of Prof. Dederichs is held. He is the third Jülich scientist to be honoured with the award, after the Nobel Prize winner Prof. Peter Grünberg in 2007 and Prof. Siegfried Mantl in 2011, both of whom were likewise from the Peter Grünberg Institute.
Peter Dederichs studied physics at RWTH Aachen and received his doctorate in 1965. He has been conducting his research at Forschungszentrum Jülich since 1971, continuing even after his retirement in 2004. He has earned his place among the German pioneers of research into solid state physics and is an expert on the theory of this field. Dederichs has published a total of 340 scientific papers, 67 of them after his retirement.
In his congratulatory speech, Prof. David DiVincenzo, Director at the Peter Grünberg Institute, emphasized among other things that the physicist had realised early on that new methods were necessary for the quantitative understanding of solid state physics. Together with his colleagues in the forerunner of the Peter Grünberg Institute, he developed and applied ab initio methods for the calculation of electron structures of solids, which today are an integral part of both materials and nanoscience.
DiVincenzo also highlighted the role of Peter Dederichs as a driving force in Jülich; in his long career as Group Leader at Forschungszentrum Jülich and Professor at the RWTH Aachen University, Dederichs had embodied the close partnership between these two institutions and made this alliance a reality long before the partnership was formally institutionalized. Even after his retirement, he remained just as active, and from 2004 to 2011, took on the role of Chairman of “Psi-k”. This European network for ab initio calculations has more than 1000 members and every year organizes more than 20 workshops, tutorials and summer schools all over Europe. Furthermore, Dederichs has certainly contributed with his reputation in science, to the fact that his colleagues at Forschungszentrum Jülich have been granted appropriate international recognition of their own scientific achievements.