Turbulence meets active matter

Fulbright-Cottrell Award 2018 for Michael Wilczek from the Göttingen MPI for Dynamics and Self-Organization

June 27, 2018

Dr. Michael Wilczek, physicist at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, receives the Fulbright-Cottrell Award 2018 for his innovative research and teaching project "Turbulence Meets Active Matter". The award is one of the most important transatlantic prizes for excellence in teaching and research. It is awarded by the German-American Fulbright Commission and provides 63,000€ funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for a three-year teaching and research project. Wilczek is also invited to participate in the annual Cottrell Scholars Conferences in the USA. The official award ceremony took place during the Fulbright-Cottrell Second Junior Faculty Professional Development Workshop in Berlin.

In his project, Wilczek is investigating the interaction of active matter, such as microorganisms, with complex flows to answer questions like 'What are the organization principles behind the fascinating flow patterns of swarms of bacteria?', or 'How does plankton navigate turbulence in the ocean?'

Prof. Carla Frohlich (co-organizer of the workshop and Cottrell prize winner 2014), Dr. Michael Wilczek (Fulbright-Cottrell prize winner 2018), Prof. Yana Vaynzof (Fulbright-Cottrell prize winner 2018), and Jun.-Prof. Olalla Vázquez (co-organizer of the workshop und Fulbright-Cottrell prize winner 2016) (from left)

The Fulbright-Cottrell Award offers a unique opportunity to combine research and teaching in one project. "I look forward to exploring these questions not only with my research team but also with students in the classroom. Bringing current research topics into the classroom is a good way to motivate students and to endow them with the skills needed to embark on a scientific career," says Michael Wilczek. "I feel very honored to receive an award that places a special focus not only on research but also on excellent teaching."

Michael Wilczek studied physics at the University of Münster. After his doctorate, he spent several research stays in the USA, including at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara and at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. In 2015 he founded a Max Planck Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Göttingen. His group is dedicated to the investigation of complex flows, ranging from fully developed turbulence, atmospheric flows and convection to the complex flow behavior of microorganisms.

The Fulbright Cottrell Award:

With the Fulbright-Cottrell Award, which was presented for the first time in 2016, the Fulbright Commission has brought a very successful funding program first established in 1994 by the American Research Corporation for Science Advancement to Germany. The award is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research with 63,000 € and honors excellent research and teaching. The award is intended to help young scientists establish themselves as successful teacher-scholars in the international scientific landscape and strengthen transatlantic relations in science.

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