Award for young scientists of RWTH

  Awardee © Andreas Endermann/AWK NRW Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, Dr.-Ing. Wenwen Song and President of the Academy Professor Wolfgang Löwer at the ceremony in Düsseldorf (from left to right)

Two RWTH junior scientists have now been accepted into the Jung Kolleg of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts.

Wenwen Song, who holds a doctorate in engineering, conducts research at the Institute of Ferrous Metallurgy, and Dr. rer. nat. Malte Göttsche is a junior professor of experimental physics at the Physics Institute III B and a junior research group leader at the AICES graduate school. Academy President Professor Wolfgang Löwer and NRW Science Minister Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen personally congratulated Wenwen Song on this award. Malte Göttsche was unable to attend the ceremony.

Junior Professor Dr. rer. nat. Malte Göttsche

Malte Göttsche studied physics at the University of Hamburg before working on his doctoral thesis on neutron measurements at the Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker-Center for Science and Peace Research at the University of Hamburg from 2012 to 2015. From 2015, he spent two years as a postdoctoral researcher in the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University on measurement techniques to verify the authenticity of nuclear warheads. Since December 2017, he has headed the AICES junior research group "Verification and Nuclear Disarmament" at RWTH as a junior professor, which he was able to establish through a Freigeist Fellowship from the Volkswagen Foundation.

Verification is indispensable for promoting nuclear non-proliferation and enabling arms control and disarmament, as it enables confidence to be built in treaty compliance. Estimates suggest global stockpiles of about 500 tons of plutonium and 1,400 tons of highly enriched uranium, a large portion of which is available for nuclear weapons construction. However, there are large uncertainties in these estimates. As part of the AICES Verification and Nuclear Disarmament Research Group, Göttsche is developing verification concepts and techniques to address future challenges, particularly to enable progress in nuclear disarmament. The scientific and technical focus of his work is complemented by political science perspectives. One research focus is the reconstruction of fissile material production histories, as current estimates of inventories are sometimes subject to large uncertainties.

Dr.-Ing. Wenwen Song

Wenwen Song completed a master's degree in materials science and a bachelor's degree in business administration at Shanghai University before earning her doctorate with "summa cum laude" at RWTH in 2014. She then conducted research at the University in Aachen as a postdoc in the Steel Institute (IEHK). After a stay as a visiting scientist at the University of Cambridge, she established her research group "Nanostructured Materials" at IEHK from 2016. Song leads the sub-project A5 there in international collaboration and leads the Cloud III of the DFG-funded Sonderforschungsbereich (SFB) 761 Steel ab initio as scientific director.

Current research activities focus on the development of new concepts for microstructure designs of alloys to significantly improve material properties. The main objective is to investigate the mechanisms of phase transformations and deformation behavior within materials. The research is carried out by combining experimental studies of material characteristics at the nanoscale and the use of different simulation applications. State-of-the-art technical techniques such as atom probe tomography, synchrotron diffraction experiments, and small angle neutron scattering are used to analyze the nanostructures. Simulations include theoretical ab initio calculations, the CALPHAD method, and the simulation of phase transformations.

The Jung Kolleg

The admission to the Jung Kolleg is one of the most important awards for young scientists in North Rhine-Westphalia. It was founded in 2006 to promote young scientists, initially with financial support from the Mercator Foundation and since 2014 supported by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Up to 30 representatives from all disciplines can be appointed for a maximum of four years. They receive an annual stipend of 10,000 euros and participate in the life of the academy. Prerequisites for membership are, in addition to a doctorate, outstanding scientific achievements at a university or research institution in NRW. At the time of admission, members must not be older than 36 and must not yet hold a permanent university teaching position. In the Jung Kolleg, they have the opportunity to discuss their projects in interdisciplinary working groups.