Navigation and service

Leading the Pack with Computer Memories and Skin Cells

Forschungszentrum Jülich awards Günther Leibfried Prize for successful scholarly communication

[29. August 2009]

Jülich, 28 August 2009 – Moving cells, atomic storage, fragile spins and the building blocks of life: these were the topics of this year's Günther Leibfried Prize at Forschungszentrum Jülich, a member of the Helmholtz Association. This year, two young researchers share first prize. Christina Schindler and Christoph Möhl were awarded the prize for their lively and easy-to-understand presentations on novel computer storage and self-organizing skin cells.

Being able to give a popular scientific talk on a subject so that the interested general public can also understand the basics – nothing less is required to win the Günther Leibfried Prize worth a total of ¤ 6,500. Forschungszentrum Jülich awards the Prize on an annual basis to former PhD students. In today’s final round, four excellent young scientists presented their research in a lively and entertaining manner.

Christina Schindler and Christoph Möhl were jointly awarded 1st prize, each receiving ¤ 2,000. The jury praised the two prize winners for packing their topics into such interesting presentations. Both of them used different but equally effective approaches to address their public and present their research. Schindler and Möhl showed that even abstract research topics can reach a wide target group.

During work on her PhD, Christina Schindler built "atomic bridges to the storage cells of the future". Between nanometre electrodes, silver ions form conductive and non-conductive memory states, which do not require a continuous flow of current. This makes non-volatile computer storage possible which in turn means that computers no longer have to be turned on and off.

In his presentation, Christoph Möhl tracked “cells on their travels through tissue”. He explained the important role of proteins in the cell wall for selective movement. This is the basis for self organization when bodies are growing or when wounds are healing.

Second place went to Jan Marienhagen who received ¤ 1,500. Jan Marienhagen investigated how cells can be used as "factories" for the industrial production of amino acids. Using "cellular production lines for the building blocks of life", it is possible to fabricate proteins and amino acids on a large scale, such as is required for the production of medications and food supplements.

The third prize worth ¤ 1,000 was awarded to Doan Binh Trieu. In his presentation, Doan Binh Trieu focused on "fragile spins and robust algorithms". Spins are quantum-mechanical properties of atoms which can be exploited for new forms of information processing: quantum computing. In an original presentation, he explained how skilful error correction of the sensitive systems by means of special mathematical procedures could pave the way towards their widespread use.

The winners will receive their prizes during Open Day on Sunday 6 September 2009. The prizes will be awarded by NRW Innovation Minister Prof. Andreas Pinkwart and Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research Thomas Rachel.


The winners of the Günther Leibfried Prize 2009 and the first well-wishers (from left to right): Achim Bachem (Chairman of the Board of Directors of Forschungszentrums Jülich), Sebastian Schmidt (Member of the Board of Directors), Christoph Möhl, Christina Schindler, Doan Binh Trieu, Jan Marienhagen, Ulrich Samm (Chairman of the Scientific and Technical Council).

Press contact:

Kosta Schinarakis
tel. +49 2461 61-4771