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Farewell Ceremony for Excellent Early-Career Scientists

Jülich, 19 September 2016 – Sarah Finkeldei, Sergii Pud, and Stephan Wirths have been honoured with Forschungszentrum Jülich’s 2016 Excellence Prize. The three early-career scientists received the accolade last Saturday during the farewell ceremony for doctoral researchers. At the event entitled “JuDocs – Karriere made in Jülich”, a total of 39 doctoral researchers received their certificates. In 2015, a total of 332 women and 576 men were among the doctoral researchers supervised by Forschungszentrum Jülich. 320 of them came from abroad – from 57 different countries.

JuDocs 2016Unter dem Motto:"JuDocs – Karriere made in Jülich" erhielten 39 Doktorandinnen und Doktoranden ihre Urkunden.
Copyright: Wolfgang Hoyer

“‘Germany at its best’ – this is how German Federal President Joachim Gauck recently described Forschungszentrum Jülich. This recognition is both an obligation and an incentive for all of us to not simply maintain Forschungszentrum Jülich as it is, but to also push forwards,” said Chairman of the Board of Directors Prof. Wolfgang Marquardt during his welcome address. Marquardt kicked off the evening together with Scarlet Stadler from the DocTeam. The DocTeam is an interest group for doctoral researchers at Forschungszentrum Jülich and is active on various Jülich bodies in an effort to improve conditions for doctoral researchers.

Forschungszentrum Jülich has been awarding the Excellence Prize, which is endowed with € 5000 for each winner, since 2009. The winners are young, internationally successful scientists. Through their ideas, they provide decisive stimuli in their research fields.

Winners of the 2016 Excellence Prize

JuDocs 2016Wurden mit dem Jülicher Exzellenzpreis 2016 ausgezeichnet: Sarah Finkeldei, Stephan Wirths (links) und Sergii Pud.
Copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich

Dr. Sarah Finkeldei

In her doctoral thesis, which has won several awards, Dr. Sarah Finkeldei provided new, quantitative insights contributing to the basic understanding of ceramic waste forms for nuclear waste management. The 30-year-old chemist studied why certain oxide ceramics – in this case ZrO2 -based pyrochlores – are characterized by their extraordinary stability, and she discovered that it results from structural uptake. This is a method of fixing radionuclides such as plutonium in the ceramics, which prevents their propagation into the environment.



Dr. Sergii Pud

In order to better understand how nerve systems work, Dr. Sergii Pud (ICS) addressed in his doctoral thesis the development of a novel biosensor based on silicon nanowires. This sensor is the first that is capable of measuring complex neuronal cell network activity. In contrast to conventional methods, it can measure numerous cells simultaneously. “Furthermore, my sensor is sensitive enough to conduct measurements from outside the cell so that it is no longer destroyed in the process,” explains Pud. The physicist is now a postdoc at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.



Dr. Stephan Wirths

At the Peter Grünberg Institute, Dr. Stephan Wirths developed a low-temperature growth process to improve the layer quality of germanium–tin alloys, making them usable for nano and laser components. As part of his doctoral project, the first germanium–tin laser was thus developed. “It was not previously possible to use main group IV elements, which can be easily integrated, to manufacture components that efficiently radiate light,” says Wirths, explaining the significance of his award-winning work. Since the beginning of this year, the 30-year-old physicist has held a postdoc position at IBM Research in Zurich.




Pictures of the event

More information

Institute of Energy and Climate Research, Safety Research and Reactor Technology (IEK-6)

Institute of Complex Systems, Bioelectronics (ICS-8)

Peter Grünberg Institute, Semiconductor Nanoelectronics (PGI-9)

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Erhard Zeiss, Press officer
Tel.: +49 2461 61-1841