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Mathematician honoured with most valuable German research prize

Potsdam,
6. Dec. 2002

Mathematician honoured with most valuable German research prize: Professor Rupert Klein awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize.

The mathematician and climate researcher Professor Rupert Klein has been awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize - endowed with 1.55 million euros - of the German Research Association (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft - DFG). The DFG prize is the most highly endowed German research prize. Its award to Rupert Klein brings the number of Leibniz prize winners from Berlin's Free University to twelve.

"My mission here in Berlin and Potsdam is to build a bridge between applied mathematics and computer sciences on the one hand, and climate research and climate impact research on the other. The integration of the social and natural sciences in this respect is a challenge which particularly interests me," says the 43-year old, who has held a professorship in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at the Free University since 1997. Klein is also Head of the Department of Data and Computation at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). It speaks for Klein's capabilities in interdisciplinary research that in addition to his degree, doctorate, and habilitation in theoretical engineering at Aachen University, he participated as a DFG-scholarship holder in Princeton University's "Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics" under Professor Andrew J. Majda, and from 1996 to 1997 held a professorship for "Methods in security techniques/accident research" at Wuppertal University.

The 1995 Benningsen Award winner of North-Rhine-Westphalia developed a then novel numerical process to simulate atmospheric currents, and is working at PIK on the mathematical modelling of multi-scale interactions in natural and social systems. Modern Earth systems analysis and climate impact research rely on computer simulation as their most important tool. But the approaches they follow are - often for good reasons - not in harmony with existing and apparently directly applicable mathematical techniques. It is Rupert Klein's goal to do away with such discrepancies through further development of both mathematical concepts and concepts relating to the natural and social sciences, and thus to contribute towards putting interdisciplinary research on a more solid footing.

The purpose of the Leibniz Programme, established in 1985, is to improve the working conditions of outstanding scientists, expand their research possibilities, relieve them of administrative burdens and assist them in attracting particularly well-qualified junior scientists. Grants are awarded only on the suggestion of a third party. Prize winners are chosen by the Committee for Grants for General Research on the recommendation of the Nomination Committee for the Leibniz Programme.

"With the Wolfson Research Merit Award recently conferred on Professor H.J. Schellnhuber and the Comer Prize won by Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, the Leibniz Prize is the third valuable award bestowed on a scientist from PIK within the last year," says Professor Martin Claussen, current Director of the institute.

More information on Professor Rupert Klein can be found on the internet under www.pik-potsdam.de. More about the Leibniz Prize can be found (in German) under www.dfg.de. Professor Klein is currently abroad and will be back in Berlin on Monday, 16th December 2002. A background discussion will be organized jointly by PIK and the Free University Berlin on his return to Germany.

Contact for interviews:

Frau Gabriele Dress, Tel.: +49 331 288 2637

E-mail: Gabriele.Dress@pik-potsdam.de

The reproduction of this text is permitted free of charge.

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