2007 Helmuth Möhwald

Helmuth Möhwald (Golm) left

Helmuth Moehwald (1946) got his first degree in physics at Göttingen University in 1971, and a PhD at the Max Planck Institute of Biophysical Chemistry also at Göttingen in 1974. After postdoctoral research at IBM in San Jose he started on his habilitation in physics in Ulm which he obtained in 1978. In 1981 he was appointed professor of Experimental Physics at the TU Munich and in 1987 he took up the chair of Chemical Physics at Mainz University. His early work concerned surface phase diagrams of lipids on water, and he discovered the richness of shapes assumed by the domains under the action of various surface forces. This seminal work on 2D colloids is still exemplary in the field. In 1993 he became Director and Scientific Member at the newly founded Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces and in 1995 Honorary Professor at the Potsdam University. Here he inspired many young researchers, and together with them he took the discovery of self-assembly of oppositely charged polymers from a laboratory curiosity to a truly new material, progressing from fundamental issues, such as the equation of state of complexes, to applications in self-healing materials really on test in the aircraft industry. He is a very creative scientist and prolific writer with over 500 original papers on his record. Moreover, his work is cited extensively as it is innovative and ground-breaking. He has been awarded many prizes throughout his excellent career (e.g., Physics Prize German Physical Society, Liesegang Prize of the Colloid Society, Chaire de Paris (2000) Medal) and is corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. He has been active in various learned societies, recently also as President of ECIS. 

    Helmuth Moehwald has served the science of colloids and interfaces with enormous energy and dedication, even under adverse circumstances, and his scientific record is truly impressive. The jury therefore wholeheartedly decides to award him the 2007 Overbeek Gold Medal.