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Alumni & emeritus professors

Radovan Černý

Radovan Černý received his PhD in condensed matter physics in 1987 from Charles University in Prague. After a year as a DAAD fellow at the Institute of mineralogy and crystallography at the University of Göttingen, he joined the crystallography Laboratory of the University of Geneva in 1991 as a post-doc and developed his scientific career there until he became an associate professor. Radovan Černý is a world expert in crystallography by powder diffraction methods and is mainly interested in diffraction methods applied to polycrystalline samples. He initiated the Fox software (https://fox.vincefn.net/), which has become very popular in the inorganic world. In particular, he discovered new minerals and received a special distinction in 2002 when a mineral composed of copper, iron, arsenic, and oxygen hydrides was named “Radovanite” in his honor. In addition to intermetallic compounds – one series has been named Cerny phases -, his material science interests focused on materials for hydrogen storage and on solid electrolytes, especially for sodium-ion batteries. He is emeritus professor.


Dirk van der Marel

Dirk van der Marel received his PhD es science from the University of Groningen, in 1985. He worked as a research associate for Philips in Eindhoven and then joined the University of Delft as an assistant professor and later as an associate professor. In 1992, he became full professor at the University of Groningen and in 2003 at the University of Geneva. He was director of the condensed matter physics department in Groningen and then in Geneva, president of the Physics section in Geneva and member of the research council of the Swiss National Science Foundation. His research focused on collective electron behavior, superconductivity, magnetism, metal-insulator transitions, quantization of conductivity and optical phenomena related to superconductivity and magnetism. He taught courses in thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, condensed matter, superconductivity, and physics of music. He received the Frank Isakson Prize for Optical Effects in Solids “For insightful experiments and analyses on a wide variety of quantum solids with strong electronic correlations in general, and cuprate superconductors in particular, using optical spectroscopy”. He is emeritus professor.


Didier Jaccard

Didier Jaccard obtained his PhD from the University of Geneva in 1976. Appointed senior research and teaching assistant at the UNIGE in 1981, he became later researcher at the CNRS Centre de recherche sur les très basses températures in Grenoble from 1982 to 1984, and visiting professor at the University of Grenoble. Back at the UNIGE, he was appointed senior lecturer in the Department of condensed matter physics. He was a member of the “European high pressure research group” from 2002 to 2006 and was invited to Osaka University as a visiting scientist in March 2006. In 2009, he was appointed adjunct professor at the University of Geneva. Didier Jaccard is a world-renowned experimentalist and one of the leading specialists in high-pressure transport measurements. His best-known results include the first demonstration of the superconductivity of a heavy fermion compound just at its antiferromagnetic instability – one of the highlights of unconventional superconductivity – and the detailed study of pressure-induced superconductivity of iron.


René Flükiger

René Flükiger obtained his PhD from the University of Geneva in experimental physics in 1972. After working as a postdoc in the Department of Condensed matter physics at UNIGE, he worked for a year as invited scientist at MIT (USA). In 1979, he joined the Nuclear Research Center in Karlsruhe (Germany), where he built up and directed the group of applied superconductivity. He was appointed full professor at UNIGE in 1990 and was president of the Physics section from 2000 to 2005. His scientific activity was originally centered on the fundamental properties of superconductors but was later extended to applied superconductivity. During his whole career, he worked in the field of metallurgy of superconductors, searching for an optimization of their properties in view of various applications. He developed new methods for studying details of high temperature phase diagrams in systems containing the superconducting compounds A15, Chevrel phases and MgB2 (wires) and Bi2223 (tapes). A main part of his activity was concentrated on the development, the fabrication and the optimization of these systems in view of applications. In particular, he worked with Bruker Switzerland for developing superconductors for NMR magnets with fields >20T and with the watch industry. He has been recipient of several international awards: in 2005 for «Significant and Sustained Contributions in Applied Superconductivity » from the Institute of Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and 2011 for « Cryogenic Materials for Lifetime Accomplishments » from the international cryogenic materials conference in 2011. He worked up to 2017 as invited scientist at CERN.


Øystein Fischer (1942-2013)

Øystein Fischer obtained his PhD degree from the University of Geneva in experimental physics in 1971. The same year he was appointed assistant professor in the Department of condensed matter physics at the UNIGE and then full professor, in 1977. Øystein Fischer was the founder and director of the Swiss National Center of Competence MaNEP (Materials with Novel Electronic Properties), dedicated to exploring materials of the future. He dedicated much of his career to studying superconductors and their applications. In 1975, he synthesized the first superconducting compounds (Chevrel phases) containing a regular lattice of magnetic ions – a discovery which launched a decade of international research concerning the interaction between magnetism and superconductivity. This research culminated in 1984 with his discovery of magnetic field induced superconductivity in these same materials. He also made a sustained effort growing the first artificial superlattices of HTS cuprates which contributed to the now rapidly developing fields of oxide thin film heterostructures and oxide interface physics. The last two decades of his research mainly focused on applying the scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) to studying HTS materials. This enabled his team to observe the vortex cores and the pseudo-gap in cuprate high-critical-temperature superconductors, highlighting some of the key differences between these novel systems and classic superconductors. Committed to promoting Geneva’s development, Øystein Fischer initiated ‘The Centre of physical and mathematical sciences’, one of the leading projects of the University of Geneva. He received numerous awards and distinctions, including ‘Doctor honoris causa’ from the Universities of Rennes and Neuchâtel ; the Gunnar Randers Research Award ; the endowed ‘Tage Erlander’ Chair from the Swedish Council for Research and the prestigious Kamerlingh Onnes prize.