Graduate School of Excellence "Materials Science in Mainz" awards Visiting Professorships 2014

Stephan Link of Rice University and Andrei Slavin of Oakland University appointed as MAINZ Visiting Professors


The Graduate School of Excellence "Materials Science in Mainz" (MAINZ) at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has bestowed the MAINZ Visiting Professorship 2014 on two scientists from the USA. The two awardees are Professor Stephan Link of Rice University in Houston, Texas, and Professor Andrei Slavin of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. The MAINZ Visiting Professorships are a means to attract foreign scientists to the graduate school in order to undertake part of their research here and to work with doctoral candidates of MAINZ. Awardees spend up to twelve months working at MAINZ in the following three years. During this time they participate in lectures, workshops, or provide other training of doctoral candidates at the Graduate School of Excellence. They thus contribute important new educational stimuli at MAINZ and in turn help establish a relationship between MAINZ and their home universities.

Professor Stephan Link uses the methodologies of physics to explore aspects of nano research. He focuses on analyzing noble metal nanoparticles. When they are stimulated using light at various frequencies, these nanoparticles glow in different colors under the microscope. This is attributable to an effect known as surface plasmon resonance. To better understand the properties of these nanoparticles, Link's work group utilizes spectroscopy and imaging techniques with the aid of electron microscopes. Link studied chemistry in Braunschweig and became a professor at the private Rice University in Houston after working at the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Texas at Austin. Contacts with Mainz University Mainz have already made it possible for six students from JGU to go to Rice University for a semester and participate in the research of various work groups there. "It is my great honor to be chosen as a MAINZ Visiting Professor. I am looking forward to my stay in Mainz and to the interaction with the many great faculty and students here, as well as to building relationships with groups at MAINZ and Rice through scientific collaborations and student exchanges," said Link.

Professor Andrei Slavin is one of the leading theoreticians in the field of the dynamic properties of magnetic systems. The objective of his research is to explain linear and non-linear dynamic processes in magnetic systems, such as the dynamics of spin waves. Recently, he has also started to look at the dynamic processes that occur when electrons are exchanged between magnetic layers in nano objects. Slavin's research has enormous potential in terms of applications, such as for the development of ultrafast data storage systems. Thus, his research findings are of considerable interest to business. Slavin studied and started his academic career in St. Petersburg, Russia. He has been teaching and researching in the USA since 1991. Previous collaborations with scientists at MAINZ have produced 45 publications, in the production of which doctoral candidates were already actively involved. Slavin was recently named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) for his achievements. He is also a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and Distinguished Professor at Oakland University.

The MAINZ Visiting Professorships were established in 2013 and the first holders were Professor David Landau of the University of Georgia and Professor Hartmut Zabel of the Ruhr University Bochum. Landau, a solid-state physicist and computer simulation pioneer, officially accepted the prize at this year's award ceremony in October. "I travel a great deal internationally and my observation is that the MAINZ Graduate School of Excellence is the most forward-looking program that I have encountered any place in the world," emphasized Landau during the ceremony.

Funding of the Graduate School "Materials Science in Mainz" (MAINZ) was approved in the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments in 2007 and received a five-year funding extension in the second round in 2012 – a tremendous boost for the Mainz-based materials scientists and the sponsorship of young researchers at JGU. MAINZ combines work groups from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, the University of Kaiserslautern, and the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz. One of its focal research areas is spintronics, where cooperation with leading international partners plays an important role. MAINZ is dedicated to the training of excellent national and international doctoral candidates in the field of materials science.