Prof. Dr. Astrid Lambrecht
On 1 August 2023, Prof. Astrid Lambrecht took over as Chair of the Board of Directors of Forschungszentrum Jülich. Already in 2021 she joined the Board of Directors for Scientific Division I, for which she continues to be responsible on an provisional basis.
She had previously been Research Director at CNRS – an academic title equivalent to “professor” in Germany. From 2014 to 2015, she was Deputy Director of the LKB, and from 2016, she was Deputy Scientific Director at the CNRS headquarters for the Institute of Physics, which she has headed since 2018.
Born in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Prof. Astrid Lambrecht first studied physics at the University of Essen and at Imperial College London. In 1995, she completed her doctorate at the Kastler–Brossel Laboratory (LKB) in Paris on the topic of cold atoms and quantum fluctuations. After a post-doctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching, she moved to the Institute of Physics at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris in 1996. In 2002, Lambrecht obtained her habilitation from the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris.
Lambrecht’s main research was on quantum fluctuations and the forces excited by them. Lambrecht paid particular attention to the microphysical Casimir effect, which, in simple terms, causes two parallel metal plates to attract each other in a vacuum. This effect is of interest in fields such as microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) – miniature plates used in smartphones, airbags, and inkjet printers. Lambrecht also researched related phenomena in fields such as atomic physics and nanophysics – and she investigated what role the force of the Casimir effect plays in physical matters in fields such as biology and chemistry. Lambrecht’s research enjoys international influence and ranges from basic research to application. During her career, Lambrecht has produced around 150 publications – including popular science works on modern physics.
Lambrecht also brings a great deal of experience from numerous international scientific organizations and committees to Jülich. She has been active in funding organizations such as the French National Research Agency (ANR), the American National Science Foundation (NSF), the British Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), and the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). She has also already contributed her expertise to the German Physical Society (DPG), the US Department of Energy, the French Parliamentary Office for Scientific and Technological Assessment (OPECST) and the French research organisation CEA. At CEA, she is a member of the supervisory board. From 2007 to 2014, Lambrecht was also co-editor of the scientific journal EPL for the field of physics.
Lambrecht’s most significant awards include the 2005 Aimé Cotton Award from the Société Française de Physique (SFP), the 2013 CNRS silver medal, and the 2016 Gentner-Kastler-Prize from the SFP and DPG. In 2019, she was also awarded the French Legion of Honour order of merit.