Georges Hadziioannou#

Laudatio by Muhsin N. Harakeh#


Hadziioannou has during his career, characterised by a strong commitment to fundamental research at different universities and research institutes as well as a highly important stay at IBM Research Laboratory in Almaden California, been at the origin of a substantial number of very innovative research initiatives. This has made him at this point in his career one of the world leading Polymer and Material scientists. His research effort led to more than 300 publications in internationally peer reviewed journals which belong to the top of his research field. His research area covers semi-conducting polymers, nanostructured polymer materials, polymer materials for the storage and transfer of information, plastic electronics - molecular electronics and systems thereof. His really outstanding accomplishments underline his international eminence in the field of Polymer Material Science.

He has a deep understanding of the methodology essential in material characterisation including the most modem scattering, scanning probe and optical techniques. He was at the origin of important methodology developments in the area of surface science, which can be considered as nanoscience ‘avant la lettre’. He also has shown by the choice of the systems investigated, most of the time synthesised within his research group, that he has an outstanding understanding of the relation between molecular structure and material properties. This is a key aspect in the present state-of-the-art know-how, and in how to realise these molecular structures.

Hadziioannou’s career can be divided in three periods. After his studies in Greece (undergraduate) and Strasbourg (doctoral studies) he joined the most prestigious polymer department in the US, Amherst, as a post doctoral fellow. After two years he got a research position at IBM Almaden Research Center where he directed a research group on dynamics of surface and interface related to Magnetic Storage Systems.

Based on his previously acquired know-how in synthesis and characterisation, new lubricants were developed and also novel methodology to measure forces between surfaces resulting in highly cited papers. This laid the ground for nanotribology, nanorheology and what is now generally called nanofluidics. ln collaboration with several now leading polymer chemists the first experimental evidence was found for limitations to polymer flow dynamics described by the reptation model.

In a second period he became full Professor at Groningen University taking over a very prestigious polymer chemistry chair. He rapidly built up an excellent research group and initiated and directed the Material Research Centre (MSC), now Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, which became a beacon of material science not only in the Netherlands but worldwide. Under his scientific leadership, the MSC was selected by the Dutch Ministry of Education as one of the six centres of excellence of all fields of science of the country. From l996 until 2000, he was President of the Committee of the National School of Polymer Research and Technology (PTN) of the Netherlands. During this period, he developed further the field of dynamics of confined polymers and started a new area of study of conjugated polymers and their interaction with light. In addition to the realisation of novel topological materials, he developed methodology essential in the study of surface dynamics, which led to a nanorheometer and very innovative research in scanning force microscopy with chemical sensitivity.

In 2000, he joined the Université Louis Pasteur and became Director of the Ecole Européenne de Chirnie. During the last nine years, his research focussed on building up know-how in an ambitious and successful attempt to gain fundamental insight in functional complex polymer materials from synthesis all the way to device prototype

This has since led to more than 80 papers, patents and even two start-up (spin-off) companies. In 2007, he was nominated as a Senior Member of the Institut Universitaire de France in the chair of "Physical chemistry of polymers”. In this capacity, he is working on the project "Photoalloys". It is a very ambitious project but underpinned to acquired know-how and expertise. In February 2009, he was attracted to the University of Bordeaux l at a newly created "Chair of Excellence" to further pursue his ambitious goals in fundamental Science and Engineering as well as Knowledge Transfer of "Advanced functional materials for new technologies of information, communication and energy".

He has been an invited and keynote speaker at many conferences. He has been through his career deeply involved in teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels and has guided a substantial number of young scientists. He supervised 37 PhD’s and hosted in his laboratory more than 60 post-docs and invited professors. He has 18 patents as a result of his research

In addition to education and research, Hadziioannou had numerous and important management positions and he participated in various administrative comities along his entire career. He has been and is member of many scientific advisor boards of many institutions and member of the editorial board of ChemPhysChem until 2004.

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