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Monika Landgraf
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Press Release 038/2011

Gerd Schön Is Granted Fritz London Memorial Prize

KIT Scientist Is Honored for His Theoretical Work on Superconductivity in Nanostructures
Professor Dr. Gerd Schön, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, erhält den renommierten Fritz London Memorial Prize. (Foto: KIT)
Professor Dr. Gerd Schön, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, is granted the renowned Fritz London Memorial Prize. (Photo: KIT)

Professor Dr. Gerd Schön, holder of a chair of the Institut für Theoretische Festkörperphysik (Institute for Theoretical Solid-state Physics) of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, is granted the renowned Fritz London Memorial Prize of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics for his contributions to the understanding of superconductivity in nanosystems. Apart from Schön, two other scientists are honored: Professor Humphrey Maris from the Brown University, Rhode Island, USA, and Professor Johan E. Mooij from the Technical University of Delft, the Netherlands. The prize will be handed over in August at the International Conference on Low-temperature Physics in Beijing, China.

Research of the physicist Gerd Schön covers the electronic transport properties in nanostructures at low temperatures. This includes non-equilibrium effects and collective modes in supercon-ductors. Together with coworkers, he developed a theoretical de-scription of dissipation in quantum mechanics for the specific example of superconducting tunnel contacts. Already at an early stage, he focused on the theory of single-electron effects in nanoscale systems. Today, these effects are seen in many experiments and play an increasingly important role in applications as measurement instruments. With his team, Schön realized that nanoscale superconducting contacts may serve as components of quantum computers (qubits) or for other applications in the field of quantum information, and he has studied their properties.

After his studies at the Universities of Karlsruhe and Dortmund and at Stanford University (USA), Gerd Schön received the PhD in 1976 at Dortmund. He then worked as assistant and Heisenberg fellow in Karlsruhe, Jülich, Cornell University, the University of California Berkeley, and the University of California Santa Barbara. In 1988, he was appointed full professor by the TU Delft, the Netherlands. Since 1991, he has been holding a chair at the KIT Institut für Theo-retische Festkörperphysik. In addition, since 1998 he has been head of a working group at the Institute of Nanotechnology and he is a founding member of the DFG Center for Functional Nanostructures (CFN) at KIT. From 2002 to 2004, he was dean of the Department of Physics. Presently, he is spokesman of the Condensed Matter Sec-tion of the Germany Physical Society and member of a review board of the German Research Foundation.

Fritz London Memorial Prize
Gerd Schön is granted the Fritz London Memorial Prize in recogni-tion of his theoretical work theoretical contributions to the under-standing of superconductivity in mesoscopic systems, including work on dissipative quantum mechanics of junctions and the proposal of the superconducting charge qubit. Together with Schön, Humphrey Maris, Brown University, Rhode Island, USA, and Johan E. Mooji, Technical University of Delft, the Netherlands, will be honored. The activities of Hans Mooji and Gerd Schön have much in common: Schön’s work on non-equilibrium superconductivity, single-electron effects, and superconducting qubits was carried out parallel to the experimental work by Mooji at Delft. It also resulted in several joint publications.

The Fritz London Memorial Prize commemorates the German-American physicist Fritz London and his excellent contributions to low-temperature physics. The prize is awarded by the IUPAP (Inter-national Union of Pure and Applied Physics) every three years.


Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,300 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 24,400 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

jh, 03.03.2011

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The press release is available as a PDF file.