Prof. Dr. Peter Gumbsch, Director

Peter Gumbsch studied physics at the University of Stuttgart and economics at the Fernuniversität Hagen. He completed his doctoral thesis at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research and Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore, and received his doctoral degree from the University of Stuttgart in 1991. After postdoctoral research stays at Imperial College, London and Oxford University, he established the group "Modeling and Simulation of Thin Film Phenomena" at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research Stuttgart. In 2001, he took the chair of mechanics of materials at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT and the position as head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg.

Peter Gumbsch conducts research in the field of mechanics of materials on questions of material behavior under load. His focus is on understanding materials, components, and systems at the limits of their load-bearing capacity. His goal is to make materials and components safer, more reliable and more durable and to improve the material and energy efficiency of technical systems.

Peter Gumbsch studies the structure and properties of materials from their atomic composition to their macroscopic behavior. His research is directed towards understanding and mathematically modeling the behavior of materials. In addition to deformation and fracture processes, he is particularly interested in friction and wear. His concepts of multiscale material modeling link nano- and microstructural processes inside the material with its macroscopic behavior. Peter Gumbsch and his team are pioneering the integration of materials data and materials modeling into product development. He has an important role in the development of multiscale material modeling and in creating a national research data infrastructure for materials science.

Peter Gumbsch has received numerous awards and honors including the Masing Memorial Award in 1998, the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Award of the German Research Foundation in 2007, the Hector Science Award in 2009, and the DGM Award of the German Society for Materials Science in 2013. In 2016, he was appointed Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara UCSB. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the German Academy of Engineering Sciences acatech and the National Academy of Engineering NAE of the United States of America. In 2015, he was appointed to the to the German Council of Science and Humanities and served as chairman of its Scientific Commission from 2017 to 2021. Since 2019, he has been a member of the Presidential Board of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft as Chairman of the Fraunhofer Group MATERIALS.


Prof. Dr. Peter Gumbsch
Phone +49 761 5142-100
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