Born in 1966 in Cologne, Leif completed his degree and doctorate in Karlsruhe. After spending time as a postdoctoral researcher in Wisconsin, USA, in 1999 he habilitated with Leibniz Prize winner Hans-Peter Seidel in Erlangen-Nuremberg, after which he joined the staff of the Max Planck Institute for Computer Science in Saarbrcken. In 2001, at the age of 34, Kobbelt became the youngest professor at C4 grade at RWTH Aachen University, since which time he has held the Chair of Computer Graphics. In 2003 he was appointed Director of the Steinbeis Transfer Center for Geometry Processing and Computer-Aided Geometric Design. He is the recipient of several national and international awards, including the DFG's Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize in 2000 and an ERC Advanced Grant in 2013. As a lecturer, Kobbelt inspires students and doctoral researchers from all over the world. He also believes in making his findings available not only to the research community but to a wider audience, for example through open-source software libraries on the internet.
Prof. Dr. Laurens Molenkamp (57), Experimental Solid-State Physics, University of Wrzburg
Through his most important work, Laurens Molenkamp helped to establish an entirely new field of research. Having made a series of fundamental contributions to experimental solid-state physics and in particular semiconductor spintronics, in 2007 he achieved the first experimental verification of what was previously only a theoretically predicted new quantum state of matter: topological insulators. The quantum spin Hall effect experimentally verified by Molenkamp is related to the quantum Hall effect, the most significant discovery in solid-state physics of the 1980s. Unlike this effect, however, the quantum spin Hall effect occurs without an external magnetic field. Instead it uses a strong spin-orbit coupling, opening up a range of potential applications, for example in information technol
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