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Professor Dr

Peter Gumbsch

Year of election: 2008
Section: Engineering Sciences
City: Freiburg (Br.)
Country: Germany
CV Peter Gumbsch - Deutsch (PDF)
CV Peter Gumbsch - Englisch (PDF)


Research priorities: Mechanics of materials, multiscale materials modelling, deformation and fracture, tribology, materials and energy efficiency

Peter Gumbsch is a German materials scientist working in the field of mechanics of materials on questions concerning materials behavior under load on microscopic and macroscopic scales. The focus is on a better understanding of materials, components and systems at their limits. His aim is safety and reliability in the use of materials and components, and to improve material and energy efficiency in technical systems.

Peter Gumbsch investigates materials, their internal structure and their properties. His research is directed towards the understanding and the mathematical modeling of deformation and fracture processes with the aim of making materials and components safer, more reliable and durable. His concepts of multiscale materials modeling, which link mechanisms at the nano-, micro-and macro-scale, are internationally recognized.

He and his team are pioneering the integration of materials data and materials modeling into the product development process. His current interests are directed towards the investigation of friction and wear processes, where complex interactions of mechanics, physics and chemistry are important.


  • since 2016 Visiting Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara UCSB
  • since 2015 Research Unit Chair at the Institute of Nanotechnology INT, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT
  • since 2001 Head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM Freiburg, Germany
  • since 2001 Full professor for Mechanics of Materials and Head of the Institute for Applied Materials IAM, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT, Germany
  • 2012 Researcher in Residence, International Center for Materials Research, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • 2006 Visiting Professor, School of Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • 1997-2001 Head (C3) of the Research Group “Modelling and Simulation of Thin Film Phenomena”, Max-Planck-Institute for Metal Research, Stuttgart, Germany
  • 1992-1996 Research Associate (Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter), Max-Planck-Institute for Metal Research, Stuttgart, Germany
  • 1992 Visiting Scientist at the Department of Materials University of Oxford, UK
  • 1991-1992 Research Associate, Imperial College for Science, Technology and Medicine, Department of Mathematics, London, UK
  • 1991 Dr. rer. nat. (with distinction), University of Stuttgart, Germany for thesis entitled (in English) Atomistic Study of two dimensional Defects in Metals: Cracks and Interfaces
  • 1988 Diploma in Physics, »Structure of hetero phase interfaces in the Ag/Ni system«
  • 1982-1990 Student of Economics, University (Gesamthochschule) Hagen, Germany
  • 1981-1988 Student of Physics, University of Stuttgart, Germany


  • since 2019 Member of the National Academy of Science and Engineering acatech
  • since 2016 Member of the Senate of the Fraunhofer Society
  • since 2016 Member in the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), USA
  • since 2015 Member of the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat), since 2017 Chairman of the Scientific Commission
  • since 2011 Advisory Professor of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
  • since 2008 Elected Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (2011 - 2016 Chairman of the Section Technical Sciences and member of the Senate)
  • since 2002 Member of the Scientific and Technical Council (WTR) of the Fraunhofer Society, since 2013 Member of the Main Commission
  • since 2001 Member of the Board of Directors of the Fraunhofer Group MATERIALS, since 2019 Chairman
  • 2004-2013 Member of the Expert Committee (Projektkomitee) »Component Behaviour« of the German Society for Reactor Safety (GRS)
  • 2008-2012 Elected member of the Expert Committee (Fachkollegium) “405 materials technology” of the German Research Foundation DFG
  • 1999-2001 Elected Member of the Scientific Council (Wissenschaftlicher Rat) and the CPT-Section of the Max Planck Society

Honours and Memberships

  • since 2019 Member of the National Academy of Science and Engineering acatech
  • 2019 Zhou Huijiu Forum Achievement Award of Xi´an Jiaotong University, China
  • since 2016 Member in the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), USA
  • 2013 DGM-Award, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Materialkunde DGM
  • 2009 Hector Fellow, Hector Foundation II
  • since 2008 Member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • 2007 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft
  • 1998 FEMS Lecturer, Federation of European Materials Societies
  • 1998 Masing Memorial Prize, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Materialkunde DGM
  • 1997 Peter Haasen Prize, Institut für Metallphysik, Universität Göttingen in association with Peter-Haasen-Stiftung
  • 1992 Otto Hahn Medal, Max-Planck-Gesellschaft




Emil-Abderhalden-Str. 35
06108 Halle (Saale)

Phone 0345 - 47 239 - 122
Fax 0345 - 47 239 - 149
E-Mail archiv (at)leopoldina.org

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