Nicola Spaldin receives the Hamburg Prize for Theoretical Physics
Hamburg, 09 November 2022. The British scientist Nicola Spaldin received the Hamburg Prize for Theoretical Physics. At the Planetarium Hamburg, the materials researcher from ETH Zurich was honoured for her outstanding work, which led to the development of a new class of materials – the so-called multiferroics. These could facilitate ground-breaking microelectronics applications, such as the building of ultra-fast data repositories or supersensitive sensors. The Joachim Herz Foundation awards the prize with the Wolfgang Pauli Centre of DESY and Universität Hamburg, the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY and the Clusters of Excellence “CUI: Advanced Imaging of Matter” and “Quantum Universe” at Universität Hamburg.
At the award ceremony, Sabine Kunst, chair of the Joachim Herz Foundation, paid tribute not only to Spaldin’s scientific pioneering achievement but also to her openness to interdisciplinary work: “With her research, Nicola Spaldin finds herself at the interface between theoretical physics, chemistry and materials research. She sets an example for interdisciplinary and international collaboration. I hope her stay will also provide new impulses for Hamburg as a centre of science and research.” Nicola Spaldin will be coming to the Hanseatic city for teaching and research visits in the coming months.
Science Senator Katharina Fegebank: "Professor Nicola Spaldin is a pioneer for the development of a new class of materials, her work has created a completely new field of research. I am very pleased that the Hamburg Prize for Theoretical Physics goes to a woman for the first time and honors Professor Spaldin's pioneering work and theoretical analyses. I wish her an exciting research stay in our Science City Hamburg Bahrenfeld and congratulate her warmly on this well-deserved award. My thanks also go to the Joachim Herz Foundation and all those involved."
Researching a new class of high-tech materials
Nicola Spaldin laid the foundation for the focused research of a new class of materials – the multiferroics – with a ground-breaking scientific article in 2000. Multiferroics are materials that can be both permanently magnetised and electrically polarised. These physical properties almost never co-exist in nature. Her theoretical analysis pointed out the way for producing customised crystals that are both ferromagnetic and ferroelectric. The experimental breakthrough came in 2003. Nicola Spaldin has been driving the development of the new materials class in her research group at ETH Zurich.
Multiferroics could allow for the building of ultra-fast data repositories and supersensitive sensors The versatile magnetoelectric materials also promise further ground-breaking applications: in computers, for example, by eliminating the need to physically separate the electrical processing of information in the processor and its magnetic storage on hard drives. This would ensure a higher processing power and lower power consumption, leading experts to hope that multiferroic materials could be useful in beyond-silicon microelectronic devices.
The Hamburg Prize for Theoretical Physics
The Joachim Herz Foundation has been awarding the Hamburg Prize for Theoretical Physics since 2010 together with the Wolfgang Pauli Centre of DESY and Universität Hamburg, the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY and the two Clusters of Excellence at Universität Hamburg: “CUI: Advanced Imaging of Matter” and “Quantum Universe”. The prize for outstanding research achievements in theoretical physics, endowed with 137,036 euros, is one of Germany’s highest endowed awards for physics. The prize sum is an allusion to Sommerfeld’s fine structure constant, which plays an important role in theoretical physics.
You can download a press photo of Nicola Spaldin at www.joachim-herz-stiftung.de/service/presse/pressefotos/.
Pictures of the award ceremony will be available from Thursday, 10 November 2022, at 11:00 a.m. at www.joachim-herz-stiftung.de/service/presse/pressefotos/.