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Company News, 2005-10-25, 01:48 PM

1st Rhine-Ruhr International Materials Award goes to Frenchman Georges Martin

The world's most lucrative materials science award, worth 100,000 euros, this year went to France. On the evening of Monday, October 24, at the culmination of the 1st Rhine-Ruhr International Materials Conference at Villa Hügel in Essen, the award was presented to Dr. Georges Martin, scientific advisor to the High Commissioner of the French Atomic Energy Commission CEA (Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique). Martin received the award for his groundbreaking "driven alloys" material concept for the production of highly resistant materials. These materials have caused a sensation worldwide and can be used, for example, to enhance safety in transportation (TGV) and industrial facilities (nuclear power stations). Initiativkreis Ruhrgebiet, the organizers of the materials conference, also honored the lifetime achievements of one of Germany's greatest pioneers of solar energy: the Materials Science Life's Work Medal 2005 was awarded to Prof. Dr. Adolf Goetzberger, founder of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg and honorary director of the International Solar Energy Society ISES.

"The aim of the Rhine-Ruhr International Materials Conference and Award is to build for the future and stimulate materials innovations of international significance," said Prof. Dr. Ekkehard Schulz, Executive Board Chairman of ThyssenKrupp AG and moderator of Initiativkreis Ruhrgebiet, of the first materials conference, staged in Essen under the heading "Materials Research and Materials Technology - Energy for the 21st Century".

The materials summit brought together 130 international experts from the worlds of science, industry and politics to discuss global concepts for energy solutions - from fossil and renewable energies to nuclear fission and fusion to hydrogen technology and fuel cells. For example, the power generation and nuclear industries are developing new, ultra-heat-resistant materials which significantly increase efficiency, reduce emissions and improve safety; the solar industry is researching into materials for photovoltaic walls and windows; and the wind energy sector is planning to connect high-performance North Sea and Baltic wind farms to the power grid. Nuclear fusion - a technology employing the same principle as the sun to create energy - is close to a breakthrough. The use of new materials will help achieve both economic and ecological objectives in the production of energy and prevention of emissions. A further subject discussed at the congress was the global energy future: the sustainability of energy supply in all parts of the world and, as Schulz put it, the willingness to innovate. "Meeting the challenges of the energy future in the 21st century calls for investment in research and development and the acceptance of new technologies."

The 1st Rhine-Ruhr International Materials Conference marked the start of a cycle of international materials congresses which, as a "Davos for materials", will focus on further areas of materials science in the coming years, such as transportation, medicine, IT and building technology. The next Rhine-Ruhr International Materials Conference will take place in 2006 and will once again be staged at Villa Hügel in Essen. The theme for the conference will be "Materials and Weight Reduction".

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