Empa appoints «Distinguished Senior Researchers»

A passion for research

«Empa ambassadors» – this is the unofficial title for two of Empa's researchers. Karl-Heinz Ernst and Oliver Gröning were recently appointed as «Distinguished Senior Researchers». That is why both researchers will each be giving a promotional lecture to Empa in Dübendorf in the coming weeks, providing insights into their specialist areas.

The newly nominated Distinguished Senior Researchers Karl-Heinz Ernst (left) and Oliver Gröning (right)


A panel consisting of Empa managers and external business partners selected the two researchers and conferred on them the title of «Distinguished Senior Researcher». This is an accolade for scientists and engineers whose reputation and work over many years has been advantageous to Empa – either through outstanding pure research or in later application and implementation with industry partners.
Oliver Gröning was delighted with the new title. «It is important to show the outside world who we are as Empa and what we do; I am really pleased to represent that.» Gröning has been involved with Empa since 2001 and was influential in the formation of the then new department ». Amongst his research areas are the synthesis of carbon nanotubes (CNT) and the investigation of their properties. In his «promotional lecture» on 2 February he will provide insights into an exciting topic of pure research, namely the synthesis, properties and use of materials derived from graphs – so research that is at the interface between chemistry and materials research. Gröning finds the advances in this field fascinating. Even just a few years ago, type-based carbon nanotubes were considered to be an impossibility. «And now you can buy them.»

Shaping progress
Karl-Heinz Ernst is also convinced of the importance for researchers to present themselves to the outside world.  «As a researcher nowadays, you can no longer sit in your ivory tower. You have to make your work available to the public,» he explained in response to his new title as «Empa ambassador». He saw himself as such even before the award, but to receive such recognition by colleagues - as this appointment shows - is something special. Ernst has been conducting research at Empa for 22 years and made a major contribution to transforming the former testing laboratory into a modern research institute.  He was one of the first to submit a pure research project to the Swiss National Science Foundation in 1995 and so laid the foundation stone for further Empa research work. His «promotion lecture» on 4 March also takes a look at the past – although a bit farther back in time - by linking molecular theory at the end of the 19th century to nanoscale materials science today.



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Empa «Promotion Lectures»