Copyright © 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
January 07, 2004
First Class Christmas Present for Prof. Wegner (Member of the Executive Advisory Board, Macromolecular Journals)
On December 18, 2003 Prof. Gerhard Wegner, who founded the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz received the Federal Cross of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz*). This decoration is awarded to Prof. Wegner on account of his great merits for science.
The Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) is the worldwide leading research centre for new materials made of polymers. A workforce of more than 400 scientists and technicians perform fundamental research on polymers for new fields of biomedicine, electronics, automotive applications as well as packaging materials.
Prof. Wegner, who was born in 1940, is one the founding directors of this institute. The institute was established 20 years ago. It was initially temporarily located in buildings of the University of Mainz. Nowadays the institute operates on its own premises next to the campus of the University of Mainz.
Having received his PhD degree from the University of Mainz in 1965, Prof. Wegner went to Yale University, U.S.A., as research fellow in 1966.
Returning to Mainz he worked at the University's Institute of Physical Chemistry together with Prof. E.W. Fischer, who became his colleague at the MPI-P later on.
In 1974 Wegner moved to the University of Freiburg where he held the most reputable chair in Macromolecular Chemistry in Germany for ten years. Returning to Mainz in 1984, Prof. Wegner and Prof. Fischer started the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in June of the same year.
Educating young scientists has always been Prof. Wegner's main objective. In more than 30 years Wegner established a worldwide network of cooperations with numerous scientific and industrial partners. In the course of globalisation he succeeded in establishing intensive contacts to China; Prof. Wegner is chairman of the China-Coordination Board of the Max Planck Society and the German Science Foundation.
Gerhard Wegner is the speaker of the International Max Planck Research School for Polymer Materials Science that is devoted to the training for German and international PhD students in cooperation with leading foreign research institutions in the field of polymer science.
With over 450 publications in leading research journals Prof. Wegner dealt with novel structures of macromolecules in context of materials for new technologies.
Gerhard Wegner served as Chairman of the Chemistry, Physics and Technology Section (1991 to 1994) as well as Vice-President of the Max Planck Society (1996 to 2000).
He repeatedly acted as Managing Director at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research. Furthermore, he played a major role in establishing numerous Max Planck Institutes in Germany's New Laender in the course of the re-unification.
Prof. Wegner has received many awards for his work in polymer research at home and abroad; e.g. the Hermann-Staudinger-Medal awarded by the German Chemical Society (GDCh) as well as awards of the American Chemical Society and the Japanese Polymer Society.
At present Prof. Wegner is head of the "Solid State Chemistry"-group at the MPI-P with about 60 co-workers.
On December 18, 2003 E. Jürgen Zöllner, Minister of Research in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, awarded Prof. Wegner with the First Class Federal Cross of Merit.
Gerhard Wegner is married and has four children. In his spare time he enjoys hiking through the Rheingau and Palatinate and wherever good wine can be found.
* The Bundesverdienstkreuz is an official decoration awarded by the Federal President of the Federal Republic of Germany. It is awarded to people who actively contributed to the cultural, social, scientific as well as political life of Germany.