Günter Gottstein - 2021 Acta Materialia Gold Medal Recipient
Günter Gottstein - 2021 Acta Materialia Gold Medal Recipient

The recipient of the 2021 Acta Materialia Gold Medal is Prof. emeritus Dr. Dr. h. c. Günter Gottstein, Distinguished Senior Professor of RWTH Aachen University. Prior to his retirement, he was Professor and Director of the Institute of Physical Metallurgy and Metal Physics (IMM) at RWTH Aachen University.

Prof. Gottstein studied physics at RWTH Aachen University and obtained his diploma in 1969.  In 1973 he was promoted in metal physics to Dr. rer. nat., and became Dr. habil. of Physical Metallurgy and Metal Physics of the Faculty of Mining and Metallurgy of RWTH in 1979. In the same year he moved to the USA to work as a visiting scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, then as a visiting associate professor at MIT and, in 1983,  became an associate professor in the Department of Metallurgy, Mechanics and Materials Science of Michigan State University where he was promoted to full professor in 1985. In 1989 he returned to RWTH Aachen University to succeed Kurt Lücke as director of IMM. From 1993 through 1999 he was also appointed head of the Central Electron Facility of RWTH and served as Dean of the Faculty of Mining Metallurgy and Geosciences from 1996 through 1998. He became Professor Emeritus in 2013 and was appointed as the first Distinguished Senior Professor of RWTH Aachen University in 2014.

Prof. Gottstein dedicated his scientific activities to the fields of materials modeling and simulation, interface science, particularly grain boundary migration and the properties of grain boundary junctions, crystallographic texture, high temperature plasticity with focus on dynamic recrystallization, intermetallic matrix composites, and properties of magnesium alloys.

In 1994 he established the collaborative research center on ‘Integral Materials Modeling’ (now known as Integrated Computational Materials Engineering ‘ICME’), where computational tools were developed for through process modeling to predict the final material properties from the knowledge of a given process scheme on the basis of microstructural development. The research center was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft for 12 years and was succeeded by a transfer center to make the results available to industry. In fact, many of the tools and models are currently used in practice, particularly in the aluminum industry. In the field of crystallographic texture, he devoted his research to the measurement of microtexture, utilizing synchrotron radiation for crystallographic orientation measurements in microscopic volumes and applying advanced informatic tools, such as the Hough transformation, for an automated evaluation of diffraction patterns. With the advent of Electron Back Scatter Diffraction in Scanning Electron Microscopes he contributed to the early development of the semi-automated evaluation of Kikuchi-patterns, critically evaluated the statistical relevance of microtexture measurements and developed devices for macro-and microtexture measurements at very high temperatures, especially for in-situ measurements of transformation textures in steels. With his colleague, Lasar Shvindlerman of the Russian Academy of Sciences, he established a laboratory at IMM for the measurement of grain boundary properties.  Important results include the migration of grain boundaries under a magnetic driving force, high angle grain boundary motion enforced by an applied shear force and, jointly with Dr. Shvindlerman, the measurement of energy and mobility of grain boundary junctions. The measurements and theoretical analysis of junction properties and their relevance for grain growth, especially in nanocrystalline solids, constitute pioneering work in this field and are considered as seminal contributions to our current understanding of microstructural evolution during grain growth. Further fundamental contributions pertain to the role of annealing twinning for the occurrence of dynamic recrystallization and the fabrication of fiber reinforced NiAl composites for very high temperature applications beyond superalloys, or specific microstructural models tailored for modern computer architectures with very high computational speed to allow physical models to be utilized for process control.

Prof. Gottstein’s scientific accomplishments have been recognized with many awards and honors, including the Masing Award of German Metallurgical Society, 1982, the Heisenberg Research Fellowship, German Science Foundation, 1981-1983, the Max-Planck-Research Award of the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation and the Max-Planck-Society, 1998, the Sawamura Award of the Iron and Steel Institute of Japan, 2002, the Heyn Medal, German Materials Society, 2003, the Werner Köster Award, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Materialkunde, 2005, the Gold Medal Award, Federation of European Materials Societies, 2011, the Best Publication Award, Faculty of Georessources and Materials Engineering, RWTH Aachen University (2013), the C.S. Smith Award of the ReX&GG Conference Series, 2013, the Kurdjumov Medal, Russian Academy of Sciences, 2014, the TMS Distinguished Educator Award (2015), the AMAP Research Award (2015), and the Hans Bunge Award of the ICOTOM Conference Series, 2020.   He was honored as Honorary Professor, Moscow Institute for Steel and Alloys, Russia,  (2006), Honorary Professor, Northeastern University, Shenyang, China (2007), Honorary Doctorate, Technical University, BA Freiberg, Faculty of Materials Science and Materials Technology (2009),  Honorary member, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Materialkunde (2010), RWTH Distinguished Senior Professor (2014).  He served as editor of Acta Materialia (2004-2019) and was a member of the editorial boards of several journals.

Prof. Gottstein will receive the Acta Materialia Gold Medal at the 150th Anniversary TMS meeting to be held in Orlando, Florida in March 2021.