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Herbert Spohn receives Max Planck Medal

2016-11-25 – News from the physics department

Prof. Herbert Spohn receives the Max Planck Medal, the most prestigious German award in the field of theoretical physics. The gold medal will be presented in March at the annual meeting of the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG, German Physical Society) in Münster.

Prof. Herbert Spohn receives Max Planck medal
Prof. Herbert Spohn (m) receives the Max Planck medal 2017 from the president of the DPG, Prof. Rolf-Dieter Heuer (l), and the chair of the conference Prof. Michael Klasen. – Photo: Grewer / DPG

Herbert Spohn receives the award “for his important contributions to statistical physics regarding the transition from microscopic physics to macroscopic phenomena.”

His seminal contributions include his derivation of kinetic and diffusive behaviour from classical and quantum systems, and his work on the fluctuation behaviour of surface growth models. One prevailing theme of Herbert Spohn’s research is the study of non-equilibrium statistical mechanics. He worked on fundamental questions like the derivation of macroscopic laws from microscopic dynamics as well as the study of “hydrodynamic limits”, i.e. deriving laws for the macroscopic behaviour of systems from their microscopic description, often as an ensemble of interacting particles. Spohn has worked in this field with great innovativeness and independence. His results have a major impact on the field of statistical mechanics of non-equilibrium systems.

Herbert Spohn studied physics at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU), continuing up to his PhD in 1975 with his supervisor Georg Süßmann. He then moved to Yeshiva University in New York as a post doc to the group of Joel Lebowitz. He also spent a time at Princeton, before finishing his habilitation back at LMU. After an associate professorship at LMU he was appointed to the Chair of Mathematical Physics at TUM’s mathematics department in 1998. Additionally he joined the physics department. Since 2012 he is TUM Emeritus of Excellence.

Herbert Spohns research has already won him several awards. Among others in 2014 he received the highest distinction of the Deutsche Mathematiker-Vereinigung (German association of mathematicians, DMV), the Cantor medal, which is awarded once every two years. In 2015 the Henri Poincaré prize was awarded at the International Congress of Mathematical Physics.

Dr. Johannes Wiedersich


Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Herbert Spohn
Zentrum Mathematik, M5
Technische Universität München
Boltzmannstrasse 3
85748 Garching
Tel.: +49 89 289-17010 (Sekr.)
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