Nine new professors appointed

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Energy systems, cryptography and computer-aided simulation; interactions between people, animals and landscape, investigation of biosystems from the human brain to the nanometer scale: the incoming professors work in a wide range of cutting-edge research fields. Three ETH professors will soon leave the university.

All of the professors had already established themselves as experts in their fields before the ETH Board appointed or promoted them.

The new professors in brief:

Professor André Bardow (*1974), currently Professor at RWTH Aachen University, Germany, as Full Professor of Energy and Process Systems Engineering. André Bardow is an internationally acclaimed scientist. The main focus of his research lies at the interface between energy technology and process engineering, and his aim is to develop sustainable technologies for the transformation of energy and materials. He thus contributes to the development of renewable energy systems, including by utilising carbon from biomass and carbon dioxide. The appointment of André Bardow enables ETH Zurich to strengthen strategic areas of energy science and technology, as well as process engineering and the teaching of key disciplines.

Professor Laura De Lorenzis (*1974), currently Professor at the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany, as Full Professor of Computational Mechanics. Laura De Lorenzis is a recognised expert in computer-aided simulation methods. She applies them over different length and time scales in order to predict complex material behaviour. Her research, which has received an ERC Starting Grant (among other awards), takes a decidedly interdisciplinary approach and investigates topics such as failure mechanisms in a wide range of materials. By appointing Laura De Lorenzis, ETH Zurich will be able to expand its competencies in the fields of solid mechanics, modern simulation methods, and fracture and failure analysis.

Professor Teresa Galí-Izard (*1974), currently Associate Professor at Harvard Graduate School, Cambridge, USA, as Full Professor of Landscape Architecture. Teresa Galí-Izard’s research focuses on the interface between landscape architecture and agronomy and on regenerative interactions between people, animals and landscape. She is particularly interested in sustainability in this respect. Her results help to preserve the biological value and structure of landscapes, thus also helping to counter the rapid loss of biodiversity. Through the appointment of Teresa Galí-Izard, ETH Zurich is reinforcing the links between landscape architecture design and the areas of soil science, plant physiology and ecology.

Professor Dennis Hofheinz (*1979), currently Full Professor at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany, as Full Professor of Computer Science. Dennis Hofheinz is a specialist in cryptography who has wide links with the international research community. His research focuses on mathematical security definitions for various types of cryptographic processes and on the development of new methods for security proofs. Through his findings he makes significant contributions to topics such as e-voting, blockchain systems and digital money. The appointment of Dennis Hofheinz enables ETH Zurich to strengthen the increasingly important area of cybersecurity.

Professor Gabriela Hug (*1979), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Electric Power Systems. Gabriela Hug is an internationally acclaimed, prize-winning scientist. Her work lies in the field of designing and optimising the energy networks of the future. Its emphasis is on integrating renewable energies into the energy networks, thus supporting the gradual withdrawal from fossil fuels. She is striving to achieve the optimal control of network management by means of dispersed, decentralised control systems. Her strong practical orientation is demonstrated by prestigious industry partnerships. By appointing Gabriela Hug to a full professorship, ETH Zurich is securing a highly innovative and productive scientist with great potential.

Professor Giacomo Indiveri (*1967), currently Associate Professor at the University of Zurich, as Associate Professor of Neuromorphic Cognitive Systems. Giacomo Indiveri conducts research into natural neural structures and processes in the brain with a view to replicating them artificially and utilising them in the computer sciences. He aims to make use of neuromorphic principles in order to build autonomous cognitive systems such as cochlear implants - a type of auditory prosthesis for the deaf. Giacomo Indiveri’s work has already been awarded two ERC Grants. With his appointment to a dual professorship, ETH Zurich is strengthening its competencies in the field of neuromorphic engineering and deepening its collaboration with the University of Zurich.

Professor Christoph Müller (*1978), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Energy Science and Engineering. Christoph Müller is an internationally prominent scientist with excellent networks both in the scientific community and within ETH Zurich. He received an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2018. He works on research problems at the interface between the mechanical and chemical engineering sciences, with the aim of developing new energy conversion processes with massively reduced CO2 emissions. In his work, he has successfully developed both numerical and experimental methods. By appointing Christoph Müller as a full professor, ETH Zurich is securing a brilliant scientist who is highly committed to the development of the Federal Institute.

Professor Romain Quidant (*1978), currently Professor at the Institute of Photonic Sciences, Barcelona, Spain, as Full Professor of Nanophotonics. Romain Quidant’s work deals with nanophotonic principles and devices and he is a global leader in a number of key topics. For example, he developed the plasmonic nanotweezer, which can be used to handle samples of biomolecules and small viruses down to 10 nanometres in size. He was also one of the founders of nano-optomechanics, in which laser beams cause nanoparticles to float so that they can be investigated. Romain Quidant’s research adds an important dimension to the activities of ETH Zurich in the areas of biomaterials, biomechanics and robotics.

Professor Konrad Tiefenbacher (*1980), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at the University of Basel and at the Department of Biosystems at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Synthesis of Functional Modules (dual professorship with the University of Basel). Konrad Tiefenbacher’s research in the field of self-assembled catalytically active molecular capsules grapples with a very challenging supramolecular topic at the interface between organic chemistry and biochemistry. The outstanding quality and originality of Konrad Tiefenbacher’s research has been recognised by the award of an ERC Starting Grant, among others. With his appointment to an associate professorship, ETH Zurich is boosting its profile in a future-oriented field of study.

Dr Jürg Schweizer (*1960), currently Head of the WSL Research Unit for Snow Avalanches and Prevention in Davos, and Lecturer at ETH Zurich, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Jürg Schweizer is one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of snow mechanics, avalanche science and avalanche rescue. He has excellent connections both within Switzerland and internationally, and is a committed member of several national and international scientific bodies. His teaching at ETH Zurich is consistently rated by students as being very good.

Departures from ETH

Professor Marc Angélil (*1954), currently Full Professor of Architecture and Design, retired at the end of July 2019. Marc Angélil joined ETH Zurich in 1994 and was appointed to his present post in 1997. His research interests cover developments in urban design as well as the investigation of socio-spatial structures in metropolitan regions of Europe, Asia and the USA. His focus is on drawing up strategies to support sustainable urban development processes. He has always shown great dedication to ETH Zurich and his department, and has served in a variety of leading roles and functions. Alongside his successful academic activity, he works as an architect in an architecture firm that he manages with two partners, with offices in Los Angeles and Zurich.

Professor Hans Rudolf Heinimann (*1954), currently Full Professor of Forest Engineering, will retire with effect from 1 February 2020. Hans Rudolf Heinimann joined ETH Zurich in 1991 and was promoted to his present post in 1997. During his successful career he has built up an extensive international network. Until recently he was programme director of the Future Resilient Systems research programme at the Singapore-ETH Centre. His current research interests revolve around the question of how complex, techno-social systems can be designed to be more robust and resilient. Hans Rudolf Heinimann has shown exceptional commitment to the affairs of ETH Zurich, not only in teaching and research but also in academic self-government.

Professor Karin Würtz (*1978), currently Assistant Professor of Immunoengineering and Regenerative Medicine, is leaving ETH Zurich at the end of September 2019. Karin Würtz is a globally recognised expert in inflammatory processes in tissues of the locomotor system. Her aim is to control inflammation using natural and synthetic substances so as to prevent degeneration and encourage regeneration. Karin Würtz is leaving ETH Zurich in order to take up an appointment at another university.

From the editors