The Europhysics Prize, presented biennially by the Condensed Matter Division of the European Physical Society, acknowledges outstanding scientific achievements in condensed matter physics over the past five years. This esteemed award stands as one of Europe’s most renowned honours in the field, often preceding Nobel Prizes in Physics or Chemistry for its laureates.
The latest recipient of this prize is Prof. Dr. Claudia Felser, who serves as the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids and holds the title of Distinguished Invited Professor (DIP) at ICFO. Felser, alongside Prof. Dr. B. Andrei Bernevig, a physics professor at Princeton University, was honoured with this prestigious accolade during the 30th General Conference of the EPS Condensed Matter Division in Milan. Their remarkable contributions to classifying, predicting, and discovering innovative topological quantum materials have earned them this well-deserved recognition.
Felser embarked on an impressive academic journey that began with the pursuit of knowledge in chemistry and physics at the University of Cologne. Graduating with a diploma in solid state chemistry in 1989, she earned her doctorate in physical chemistry in 1994. Her scholarly path led her through esteemed institutions, including postdoctoral fellowships at the Max Planck Institute in Stuttgart, Germany, and the CNRS in Nantes, France. In 1996, she assumed the role of an assistant professor at the University of Mainz, eventually ascending to a full professorship in 2003. Currently, as a Scientific Member and Director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden, Felser’s research is at the forefront of quantum materials, with a specific focus on Heusler compounds and topological materials for applications in energy conversion and spintronics. Her contributions to science have not gone unnoticed, as evidenced by an array of prestigious awards and honours, including membership in esteemed academies and recognition from the global scientific community, culminating in the 2022 Max Born Prize and Medal of DPG, IOP, and the Wilhelm-Ostwald-Medal of the Saxon Academy of Science. Her journey is a testament to the pursuit of excellence and dedication to advancing the frontiers of science.
In her capacity as a Distinguished Invited Professor (DIP) at ICFO, Felser will actively engage in research associated with QTwist, a novel overarching initiative at ICFO that has secured funding from the Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain. Within the ambit of QTwist’s ambitious research agenda, she will collaborate closely with ICREA Professor Dr. Frank Koppens at ICFO and Dr. Pablo Jarillo-Herrero, a Professor at MIT and a fellow DIP at ICFO. Together, they will spearhead cutting-edge investigations into the fundamental characteristics of emerging synthetic quantum materials, which encompass two-dimensional substances. These materials hold immense promise for potential future applications in the realm of nano-optoelectronics. An eminent panel of distinguished scientists, including ICFO’s own Professors Dr. Adrian Bachtold and Dr. Carmen Rubio-Verdú, in conjunction with leading experts from renowned institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Princeton, Pisa, and the Weizmann Institute, will also contribute their extensive knowledge and experience to advance the objectives of this program.
Featured image: Prof. Dr. Claudia Felser, Max-Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids and ICFO DIP