Olivier Kahn International Award 2006

The MAGMANet network of Excellence and the members of the Olivier Kahn Award International Jury are pleased to announce that the laureate of the first Olivier Kahn International Award is Dr. Wolfgang Wernsdorfer.

Olivier Kahn was a pioneer in Molecular Magnetism, brilliant scientist and teacher, deeply concerned by the promotion of talented young scientists. The MAGMANet European Network of Excellence has decided to create a prestigious Award bearing his name, the Olivier Kahn International Award, to honour a young scientist who has received his Ph. D. less than ten years ago. The award, an Olivier Kahn Medal, designed by La Monnaie de Paris, is accompanied by a prize of 10,000 euros, to allow the laureate that can be used for research and to participate to major international conferences.

The laureate, Dr. Wolfgang Wernsdorfer, born in Wrzburg, Germany, in 1966, received his education in Physics in Wrzburg, Lyon, and Grenoble, where he is at present Research Director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. During the first years of his scientific career he has developed a unique device for measuring magnetic properties with a billion times higher sensitivity than commercial magnetometers. His instrument allows observing the magnetic behaviour of molecular nano-magnets containing less than a thousand magnetic centres.

Dr. Wernsdorfer has exploited this opportunity to get a deep insight into peculiar phenomena such as the tunneling of magnetization in molecular clusters. Almost all groups working worldwide on synthesizing molecular magnets benefit from the collaboration with him; about 250 systems with possible single-molecule magnet behaviour  have been studied so far in Wolfgangs laboratory. Dr. Wernsdorfer has played a leading role in pushing decisively the knowledge on molecular magnetism to where we are now.

Wolfgang Wernsdorfer says: Everyday life is full of useful magnets, solids, oxides, metals and alloys. On the contrary, molecules are most often considered as non-magnetic materials. However, recent discoveries show that molecules can bear large magnetic moments that can have a stable orientation like traditional magnets. They have therefore been called single-molecule magnets and they might be the ultimate limit for information storage. They do not only exhibit the classical macroscale property of a magnet, but also new quantum properties such as quantum tunnelling of magnetization and quantum phase interference, the properties of a microscale entity. Such quantum phenomena are advantageous for some challenging applications, e.g. molecular information storage or quantum computing. In order to explore these possibilities, I am building new and very precise setups, developing new methods and strategies, and studying the best candidate systems, together with my colleagues physicists, chemists and engineers.

The international jury delivering the Award met in Florence on Saturday, September 16th, and selected the laureate among ten young brilliant scientists, chemists or physicists, having contributed to the development of molecular magnetism in Europe and having provided the international community with outstanding scientific results.
The Award will be presented on the occasion of the First European Conference in Molecular Magnetism, organised by the MAGMANet European Network of Excellence, to be held in Tomar, Portugal, on October 10-15. The laureate will present an invited lecture on this occasion.

The next Olivier Kahn Award competition will take place in 2008.

MAGMANet network of Excellence
The members of the Olivier Kahn International Jury:
-Sine Larsen, Professor, University of Copenhagen, Denmark and Director of Research, European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, Grenoble, France
-Roberto Caciuffo, Professor,  Head Actinide Research, European Commission, Directorate General Joint Research Centre, Institute for Transuranium Elements, Karlsruhe, Germany, and Ancona University, Italy
-Ernesto Carmona Guzman, Professor, Sevilla University, Spain
-Philipp Gtlich, Professor, Mainz University, Germany
-Dragan Mihailovic, Professor, Ljubljana University, Slovenia
-Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Professor, CNRS, Strasbourg University, France

Contact :
MAGMANet (Olivier Kahn International Award)
Consorzio Interuniversitario Nazionale per la Scienza e Tecnologia dei Materiali (INSTM)
Via G. Giusti, 9, I-50121 Firenze, Italy
Tel. +39-055-23387.13 (direct line)
Fax +39-055-2480111
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