Eight Professors Appointed at EPFL

© 2012 EPFL

© 2012 EPFL

During the session of Mai 23 and 24 2012, the ETH Board announced eight appointments concerning EPFL.

William A. Curtin has been appointed as Full Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the School of Engineering (STI)
William A. Curtin’s research is mainly concerned with modeling the mechanical behavior of materials, with a particular emphasis on fracturing and multi-scale modeling. His contributions relate to a broad range of topics, such as the behavior, under direct observation, of the hardening mechanisms of nanocomposites. But he is also working on the creation of a new model to predict the dependence of stress and of temperature on dynamic ageing after strained-hardening occurs – i.e. the hardening of a metal when deformed – on the atomic scale. The systems currently being researched include aluminum-magnesium alloys, but also nickel and iron containing hydrogen and nanometric materials such as carbon composites.

Beat Fierz has been appointed as Tenure-Track Assistant Professor of Biophysical Chemistry at the School of Basic Sciences(SB)
Beat Fierz’s research work addresses, on the one hand, the development of peptide synthesis methods for studying the role of proteins, and on the other the identification of factors leading to modifications in the structure of chromatin – the DNA in the nucleus. In particular, he has highlighted the specific behavior of some peptides thanks to spectroscopic analysis methods. Beat Fierz has also developed chemical methods to produce and analyse specifically modified chromatins. He has revealed the function of particular enzymes in the regulation of the structure of chromatin. His research in this field pave the way for a better understanding of the regulation mechanisms for gene expression and DNA replication.

Adrian Ionescu has been appointed as Full Professor of Micro- and Nano-Electronics at the School of Engineering (STI)
Adrian Ionescu envisions new orientations and technologies for energy-efficient devices. An important part of his research is based on the development of intelligent systems combining computer science with sources of communication, detection and energy, where intelligence and autonomy will be essential in enabling the development of new applications. This is the basic idea behind the “Guardian Angels” project coordinated by Adrian Ionescu and Professor Christofer Hierold of ETH Zurich. It is one of six projects which have reached the final selection phase of the EU Flagship Initiatives. These research fields will benefit from a reinforced interaction, both with physicists (to understand, leverage and model new matter at the nanometric scale) and with researchers in the design of digital and analog circuits.

Félix Naef has been appointed as Associate Professor of Life Sciences at the School of Life Sciences(SV)
Félix Naef is an expert in chronobiology. A physicist working successfully in computational biology, his work has enabled the understanding of variations, at the level of gene expression, as they appear in circadian rhythms. Through these quantitative approaches, combined with well-targeted experimental data, he has been able to highlight new mechanisms in this field. His multidisciplinary profile as physicist and “quantitative biologist”, and as theorist and experimentalist, is an example for the students of the Life Science and Technology Section (SSV). Félix Naef’s research is mainly sponsored by very competitive extramural subsidies, such as the highly prestigious ERC-Starting Grant.

Andreas Pautz has been appointed as Full Professor of Nuclear Engineering at the School of Basic Sciences at EPFL (SB) and as Director of the Laboratory for Reactor Physics and Systems Behavior (LRS) of the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI)
During his successful career, Andreas Pautz has developed expertise in a wide-ranging field encompassing reactor physics, thermal hydraulics, fuel rods engineering, reactor safety, and accident inspection and analysis procedures. Within the current context of nuclear energy, his knowledge will be of the utmost importance and of undisputable value for Switzerland. Andreas Pautz will be one of the driving forces of the “Master in Nuclear Engineering” study cycle, common to EPFL, ETHZ and PSI. In particular, he will provide specialized teaching in this cycle. Andreas will be responsible for the LRS at PSI. He will develop research which takes into account the expertise and strong points of LRS in various fields such as neutronics, thermal hydraulics, thermo-mechanics and the future generations of reactors.

Ralf Seifert has been appointed as Full Professor of Technology Management at the College of Management of Technology (CDM)
Ralf Seifert is internationally recognized for this work on the topics of supply chain strategy, supply chain finance, as well as technology management and entrepreneurship. His expertise and advice are often highly valued by the campus start-ups. Since October 2003, he has held the post of Associate Professor at the College of Management of Technology (CDM) at 50%, occupying the Chair of Technology & Operations Management (TOM). He also works at 50% at IMD. In performing this double function, Ralf Seifert fulfills a key role in the development of the relationships between these two prestigious institutions. At EPFL, Ralf Seifert quickly distinguished himself in the areas of research and in teaching. He is in charge of the Mastering the Technology Enterprise (MTE) programme. This prestigious course, created as a three-way partnership (EPFL-ETHZ-IMD) and available since 1995, has gained international recognition and has over 500 alumni worldwide.

Prof. Dr. Konrad Steffen has been appointed as Full Professor at the Department of Environmental Systems Science of ETHZ and at the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering of EPFL (ENAC)
Konrad Steffen’s research, in which he performs ground, airborne and satellite measurements, as well as climate modelling, addresses mainly the climatic interaction between the polar and alpine regions. It also relates to the dynamic reaction of glacier masses on global warming, and the influence of the latter on sea levels. Professor at the department of Geography of the University of Colorado at Boulder (USA) since 1997, Konrad Steffen has, since 2002, also been managing the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES). The Federal Council has appointed Professor Steffen as Director of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL). He takes over from James W. Kirchner.

Alfred Wüest has been appointed as Full Professor of Aquatic Physics at the School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC)
Alfred Wüest has been Head of the Department of Aquatic Physics at Eawag since 2006. In parallel with his work at Eawag, the scientist has been actively involved as an expert and consultant in the analysis of surface waters, mainly in Switzerland but also abroad.
At world level, Alfred Wüest has made a significant contribution to research in limnology – the study of inland waters – marrying fundamental theoretical approaches, field experiments and practical applications. His contributions to the study of lake turbulence are considered to be essential references. His achievements include the development of many modern techniques enabling the analysis of oceanographic physics and the understanding of the behavior of methane emissions from the ocean depths.