Catalysis and Design – Jochen Block Prize for Sandra Luber, University of Zurich
The Jochen Block Prize 2019 of the German Catalysis Society (GeCatS) goes to Professor Sandra Luber of the University of Zurich / CH. It recognizes her outstanding contributions to the theoretical treatment of catalysts, in particular with regard to structure, dynamics and spectroscopy. The Jochen Block Prize honours the achievements of young scientists. It is endowed with 3,000 euros and will be presented at the Annual German Catalysis Meeting on 14 March 2019 in Weimar.
Sanda Luber’s work includes the detailed investigation of complex liquids and functional molecules both in the gas phase and on surfaces. One focus of her recent research is the in-depth exploration and intelligent design of novel bio-inspired catalysts for solar light-driven water splitting both in nature’s photosystem II and in artificial systems. Current efforts deal with development of computational methods for accurate (dynamic) study and smart design of efficient catalysts as well as new approaches for computational spectroscopy.
Sandra Luber studied chemistry at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg / D and at the ETH Zurich / CH, where she graduated with a Master’s degree (MSc ETH Chemistry) in 2007. She received her doctorate in 2009 (Dr. sc. ETH Zurich) in (relativistic) quantum chemistry and theoretical spectroscopy. After a postdoctoral stay at the Biocenter of the University of Basel / CH, she worked on quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics approaches and the photosystem II of nature at Yale University / USA. She gained her first industrial experience at BASF SE in Ludwigshafen / D and then became project group leader in computational chemistry and materials science at the University of Zurich. She completed her habilitation thesis in 2016 and holds a professorship from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) since March 2017.
In recognition of her research works, she was awarded the IBM Research Prize for Computer Modeling and Simulation in Chemistry, Biology and Materials Science, Forschungskredit, and the ETH Medal for an outstanding PhD thesis. In addition, she was the first theoretician to receive the Clara Immerwahr Award, the first female scientist to obtain the Hans G. A. Hellmann Award of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Theoretische Chemie, and the first woman who has received the Robin Hochstrasser Young Investigator Award. She is also the recipient of the Werner Prize 2018 of the Swiss Chemical Society.
The German Catalysis Society (GeCatS) is the platform for the entire German catalysis community in the area of research and application. Currently it has some 1100 members from industry and academia. GeCatS promotes the scientific and technical dialogue between industry, universities, non-university research institutes and research policy institutions and represents the interests of the catalysis community on a national and international level. The German Catalysis Society is supported by DECHEMA, VDI-GVC, GDCh, DGMK und DBG.
The Jochen Block Prize of the German Catalysis Society is awarded at irregular intervals. The prize is awarded to research projects and developments by young scientists in the field of catalysis who have not yet been appointed to a full professorship and who have stimulated the field of catalysis in a special way through fundamental and original investigations.