Wallenberg venture in talented young researchers

​New materials with exotic states. Software verification. Classification of mathematical objects. Hunting for life in other solar systems with captured light. And portable electronics that charge with body heat. This is research that now will be funded at Chalmers through Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.
Yasmine Sassa, Niki Vazou, Hannes Thiel och Kristina Davis can all take a place in the Wallenberg program for young researchers. With that comes a five-year research grant of between SEK 5 and 15 million per researcher. At the same time will Christian Müller, who is professor in Polymer Science, be promoted to the Wallenberg Scolar programme.

“It is extremely satisfying to see that 15 of this year’s 27 Wallenberg Academy Fellows are women. Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation has been working actively to encourage universities to nominate more women for the funding it awards. This year’s call was the eighth and, with this, the Foundation has funded 230 Fellows, of whom 46 percent are women. We must emphasize that they have been selected due to their qualifications. All applications are made in competition and the evaluation process only considers scholarly merits,” says Peter Wallenberg Jr, chair of Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

Yasmine Sassa

Portrait of Yasmine Sassa.The development of computer and energy technologies is beginning to slow down. New magnetic and electronic materials are needed for it to regain momentum. As a Wallenberg Academy Fellow Chalmers researcher Yasmine Sassa is developing new combinations of materials that display exotic magnetic states, skyrmions, which could play an important role in future technologies for data storage.
​Today's electronic is built upon semiconducting silicon, and its unique properties gave electronics and information technologies an explosive development. New hi-tech materials are needed for continued development.
”I think this research project will push forward our understanding of the skyrmionics field and, in turn, help to develop energy-efficient and sustainable future memory and logic devices. It will give another approach to quantum computing.” says Yasmine Sassa.

Niki Vazou

Developers can currently choose between two methods for verifying that software works correctly: one is impractical to use, but rigorous; the other is easier to use, but less reliable. As a Wallenberg Academy Fellow, Niki Vazou wants to develop a method that is both easy to use, and rests on a rigorous foundation. 
In her research, Niki Vazou, currently working at the IMDEA Software Institute in Spain, aims to make concepts of program verification mainstream and integrate them with functional programming. This will lead to the development of more reliable and maintainable programs that are also easier to develop. 
"The impact will appear in all areas of society that rely on software, ranging from social networking, to monetary transactions and development of safe medical equipments" says Niki Vazou. 

Hannes Thiel

Portrait of Hannes Thiel.
Just as biologists classify plants and animals, mathematicians need to be able to classify and organize mathematical objects. When researchers classify objects, they create an order that may contributes to new knowledge. For example, when chemists organized the elements into the periodic table, they improved the understanding of the elements’ properties. Biologists classify flora and fauna to understand how they are related. Wallenberg Academy Fellow Hannes Thiel will contribute to the understanding of the structure of C*-algebras using methods he has developed in order theory.
"I will use this opportunity to address one of the most prominent open problems in the field, the solution of which will significantly improve our understanding of the fine structure of C * algebra", says Hannes Thiel at the University of Kiel, Germany, who will move to Chalmers

Kristina Davis

Portrait of Kristina Davis.
Researchers must be able to analyze the light from remote planets’ atmospheres if they are to discover whether life exists on planets in other solar systems. Wallenberg Academy Fellow Kristina Davis is developing sensitive systems for optical imaging that make this possible.
​If there is life on a planet, these living organisms will affect which gases are in its atmosphere. In turn, the composition of atmospheric gases affects the wavelength of the light reflected by the planet. However, capturing light from planets in other solar systems, known as exoplanets, is difficult. 
"One of the biggest questions that we as humans have is “are we alone?” The most realistic way of answering that question is by searching for signatures of biological processes that affect the host planet’s atmosphere, for example seeing water vapor, oxygen, and other chemicals in the atmosphere that mimic our own composition." 

Christian Müller

Portrait of Christian Müller.Christian Müller, Professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, and his research group are focused on developing new organic materials for portable electronics, where temperature differences such as our own body heat can be converted into electricity. The materials could be woven into a fabric and charge various miniature gadgets that need to be loaded. This type of electronic textile can improve our lives in several different ways, where one important area is healthcare. He is now being promoted from Wallenberg Academy Fellow to Wallenberg Scholar.
“This is a great confirmation of the potential that the foundation sees in our research. In concrete terms, it also means that we get more resources with which we can acquire new instruments and hire another postdoc ", says Christian Müller.

The Wallenberg Foundation programmes

Wallenberg Academy Fellows, the career program for young researchers launched by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation in 2012, provides long-term funding for young, promising Swedish and foreign researchers from all academic fields. 

The Wallenberg Scholar program focuses on Sweden’s leading senior researchers. It was implemented because researchers need long-term funding without the distraction of pressure to secure external grants in order to carry out world-class research.

Text: Anita Fors, Lisa Gahnertz, Anneli Andersson, Robert Karlsson och Jenny Holmstrand

Page manager Published: Thu 02 Dec 2021.