About MRS

Claudia Felser, Max Planck Institute

Candidate for MRS Board of Directors

Claudia Felser

Claudia Felser studied chemistry and physics at the University of Cologne, Germany, completing both her diploma in solid state chemistry (1989) and her doctorate in physical chemistry (1994). After postdoctoral fellowships at the Max Planck Institute in Stuttgart and the CNRS in Nantes, she joined the University of Mainz in 1996, becoming a full professor in 2003. Since 2011, Felser is the director of the solid-state chemistry department at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden. She was the managing director of the institute from 2014-2017, heading an institute of 250 employees.

Her research foci are the design and discovery of novel inorganic compounds, in particular, Heusler compounds for multiple applications in thermoelectrics, spintronics and as rare earth hard magnets and new topological quantum materials. Felser is a very active interdisciplinary scientist; she was a highly cited researcher in 2018 (cross area) and 2019 (physics). Felser was honored as a Distinguished Lecturer and Fellow of the IEEE Magnetics Society. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Physics, London and a member of the Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences. In 2020, she became fellow of the Acatec (German National Academy of Engineering) and International Member of National Academy of Engineering (NAE).  Felser received the Alexander M. Cruickshank Lecturer Award of the Gordon Research Conference, a SUR-grant Award from IBM and the Tsungmin Tu Research Prize from the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, the highest academic honor granted to foreign researchers. In 2019, she was awarded the APS James C. McGroddy Prize for New Materials together with Bernevig and Dai. 

She has served on many boards, including the board of the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing); The Perspective Commission; Max Planck Society (as junior group leader for recruiting); German Chemical Society (GDCh); Advanced Science Research Center, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Tokai, Japan; European Research Council Advanced Grant; IEEE Magnetic Society; EFRC Center of Inverse Design; NREL USA; Magnetic Materials and Magnetism Conference IEEE Series; McGroddy Prize for New Materials Committee of the APS; Senate of the University Kaiserslautern; Körber Prize Committee of the Körber Foundation; Advisory Editorial Board member for Journal of Magnetism & Magnetic Materials; external member of the Professorial Committee Institute of Science and Technology Austria; Ziegler Prize Committee of the GDCh, etc. 

Currently, she is the president of the Division of Solid-State Chemistry & Materials Research of the GDCh and vice spokesperson of the Magnetism division in the German Physical Society. Felser received the Order of Merit of the state Rhineland Palatinate for her engagement for young women. She was the founder of the Ada Lovelace project in Mainz, and founder and the scientific head of the NaT-Lab for secondary school students at the University of Mainz (2000-2010). Felser is a regular referee for several international Science foundations, the German Science Foundation DFG, for the DOE, the Gordon and Betty Moore foundation, ICREA, Spain, and the ERC.

Candidate's Statement

The Materials Society is the leading scientific society world-wide dedicated to materials and its meetings are the largest and most impactful in the world.  In this regard, I am very pleased that I co-organized several MRS symposia and that I am currently one of the Congress Chairs of the International Materials Research Congress (IMRC) 2020 (unfortunately postponed to 2021) in Mexico, an annual international congress co-organized by the MRS. Since my research is very interdisciplinary, I am active in various research organizations ranging from chemistry (GDCh), and physics (APS, DPG), to engineering (IEEE, magnetic society) and materials science (MRS). This reflects my scientific vision that modern materials science combines many of these different research areas and creates new ideas beyond what one can achieve in a single discipline. Therefore, I think it is the right time to be more engaged in an international organization like the MRS which brings all these different interdisciplinary aspects of materials science together. If I were elected to the MRS board, I would focus on expanding membership in Germany and Europe, enhancing diversity, and encouraging world-wide networking, to solve pressing problems of great import to the world. A few comments about myself: I am working in Germany with high level management responsibilities in several organizations and communities and with strong international and American connections, with strong experience in public outreach activities and with a broad knowledge in materials science including materials for energy conversion, spintronics and quantum technologies.  Quantum technologies is not so well represented in the MRS and I would like to especially contribute to this area with my expertise.

In the area of energy conversion, sustainability is an absolute must. Modern materials must be sustainable – there are many ways to achieve this goal. A holistic view of materials taking the whole life-cycle, resources and emissions into account is one way to go. Do we really need the most efficient material or can we use a slightly less efficient material that is more environmentally friendly and sustainable? With a background in very different areas I would like to support the MRS in moving in this direction, and, for example, in defining new figures of merit beyond efficiencies for smarter materials. Smart materials can be multifunctional, with varied responses to external stimuli, can be programmable, and could have long lifetimes via regeneration or recycling. 

Finally, digitalization of the materials community is another key interest of mine. If one could take all the knowledge that exists within the world of materials community, and digitize it to make it accessible, one could accelerate the discovery of quantum and smart materials and thereby help to find solutions that would improve the quality of all of our lives.

In summary, I believe that the MRS is a powerful instrument of change and I would be honored to help to continue the Society’s excellent work, to expand the interdisciplinarity of its programs and to increase its focus on sustainability.