The 2020 Physica Award has been awarded to professor Martin van Hecke. He performs innovative research on complex behavior of seemingly simple systems. His work combines high-level physics with comprehensible, everyday problems. Over the past few years, Van Hecke has greatly contributed to the new specialization “Designer matter”. His work shows how fundamental and application-based research can go hand in hand.
Van Hecke studied physics at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and obtained his PhD at Leiden University in 1996. He was installed as a professor in Leiden in 2008. Since 2014, he also works for the NWO institute Amolf in Amsterdam, where he heads the Mechanical Metamaterials group. He has become a thought leader in the field of inverse problems: designing simple materials with complex behavior.
Van Hecke receives the prize for the excellence and originality of his research, the innovative character for Dutch physics, his efforts for the younger generation and his excellent outreach. He regularly publishes in leading magazines, but also attends to visualizing his findings in videos, thereby involving a broader audience with the new developments.
The Physica Award is presented yearly to an eminent physicist working in the Netherlands. The jury consists of the chairman of the Netherlands’ Physics Society, the chairman of the Stichting Physica and a previous winner. Van Hecke will get the award during the Fysica 2020 congress, 17 April at the University of Twente.