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Prof. Dr. Peter Gumbsch, Director

Peter Gumbsch received his degree in physics (1988) and his doctoral degree (1991) from the University of Stuttgart. After extended visits at the Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, California, postdoctoral work at the Imperial College, London and the University of Oxford, he returned to the Max-Planck-Institute in Stuttgart as a group leader and established the group “Modeling and Simulation of Thin Film Phenomena”. In 2001 he took the chair for 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 is a German materials scientist working in the field of mechanics of materials on questions concerning materials behavior under load. The focus is on a better understanding of the behavior of materials, components and systems at the limits of their load bearing capacity. His aim is safety and reliability in the use of materials and components, as well as the improvement of 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 more durable. His concepts of multiscale materials modeling, which link mechanisms at the nano, micro and macro scales 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.

Amongst other accolades he was awarded the Masing Memorial Award (1998), the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize (2007) and the DGM-Prize (2013). In 2009 he was nominated as a Hector Fellow, in 2011 he was appointed as Advisory Professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China and in 2016 as Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara UCSB. He is member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Science and Engineering acatech, and the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE). 2015 he was appointed to the German Council of Science and Humanities and chaired its Scientific Commission from 2017 until 2021.

Since 2019 he serves as Chairman of the Fraunhofer Group MATERIALS. Peter Gumbsch is a member of the presidium (executive committee) of the Fraunhofer Society. 2016 until 2020 Gumbsch was an elected member of the Senate of the Fraunhofer Society.


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