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One biologist and two physicists appointed 2016 honorary doctors

Press Release   •   Feb 24, 2016 06:00 GMT

Pioneering research on proteins that can lead to better treatment of neurodegenerative diseases – for this Susan Lindqvist is awarded a 2016 honorary doctorate degree at Chalmers University of Technology. She is accompanied by two world-leading physicists with strong ties to Chalmers: Hermann Nicolai and Gerald D. Mahan.

Hermann Nicolai
Professor Hermann Nicolai is director at Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Albert Einstein Institute, in Potsdam, Germany. He has worked there since the start of the institute in 1997 and is the head of the group in quantum gravity. He worked earlier as staff member at CERN and as professor at the universities in Karlsruhe and Hamburg.

Hermann Nicolai has for many years been a world-leading scientist in quantum gravity, i.e. the research that tries to unify quantum mechanics with Einstein's gravity theory (general relativity) two of the most important discoveries in physics during the 20th century and a key to understanding the fundamental laws of the universe. Hermann Nicolai has won the Albert Einstein Medal for his work in this field.

He has during a long period of time developed a close collaboration with Chalmers's scientists in this field. A number of graduate students and more senior scientists from Chalmers have stayed longer or shorter periods at the Albert Einstein Institute and several have later been post-doctoral fellows there.

Susan Lindqvist
Susan Lindquist, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is a leading researcher in the field of protein folding and cell proteostasis, studying how changes in protein structures are involved in the development of new biological properties, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and infections. Her work and discoveries are covering a broad spectrum of organisms: from simple organisms such as yeast, flies, worms to plants, mouse and human cells.

Susan Lindquist is receiving an honorary doctorate for her groundbreaking research on proteins called chaperones. Her work could ultimately lead to better understanding and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Susan Lindquist is collaborating with Associate Professor Dina Petranovic and Professor Bengt Norden from Chalmers, mainly through the organization Molecular Frontiers. She has visited Chalmers several times and lectured both for researchers and students.

Gerald D. Mahan
Gerald D. Mahan graduated in Physics from Berkeley, PhD 1964, and is Distinguished Professor at Pennsylvania State University since 2001. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Gerald D. Mahan is appointed Honorary Doctor for his world leading research on the theory of condensed matter physics. He has spent two sabbatical years at Chalmers: at the Physics Department in 1977 and at MC2 in 2009; in addition, his work on thermoelectricity has created contacts at the Department of Chemistry. Over the years, Gerald Mahan has maintained living relations with Chalmers through many visits and concrete collaborations with a long line of Chalmers researchers.

During the coming years Gerald Mahan’s broad perspective and overview of condensed matter physics will contribute to a development with great practical potential for important Chalmers areas of advance. He will also be an inspiring mentor for many students.

For more informations, please contact:
Erika Hansson,

Chalmers University of Technology conducts research and offers education in technology, science, shipping and architecture with a sustainable future as its global vision. Chalmers is well-known for providing an effective environment for innovation and has eight priority areas of international significance – Built Environment, Energy, Information and Communication Technology, Life Science Engineering, Materials Science, Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Production, and Transport.
Graphene Flagship
, an FET Flagship initiative by the European Commission, is coordinated by Chalmers. Situated in Gothenburg, Sweden, Chalmers has 10,300 full-time students and 3,100 employees.