Opening ceremony held at the TU Berlin with Nobel Prize winner Gerhard Ertl and Berlin State Secretary for Science Knut Nevermann
The Gerhard Ertl Center of the Berlin-Brandenburg Cluster of Excellence "Unifying Concepts in Catalysis” (UniCat) was officially opened on the 8th of October at the Technische Universität Berlin. The Gerhard Ertl Center will serve as a think tank, a host institution for outstanding guest scientists, a location for strategy meetings, and the home of the Cluster of Excellence Graduate School and research projects in the field of catalysis, such as the “UniCat-BASF Joint Lab”.
The Berlin State Secretary for Science, Dr. Knut Nevermann, highlighted the significance of the Excellence Initiative for the Federal State of Berlin. “The Gerhard Ertl Center of the UniCat Cluster of Excellence symbolizes not only the scientific importance of the research carried out here, but also the significance of science as a whole as a catalyst for the successful development of this city,” he said.
“The Gerhard Ertl Center will provide an emblematic home for the UniCat Cluster of Excellence at the center of the TU Berlin campus. It will become an important focal point for the public portrayal of and identification with the Cluster of Excellence. In addition, we are very pleased to count an excellent and highly renowned scientist who has given his name to the Center and who has made lasting contributions to research into catalysis and to Berlin as a center for scientific knowledge as our partner. The opening ceremony of the Center marks a further milestone in the successful development of the Cluster. I would like to thank all participants for the implementation of this project,” said TU President Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg Steinbach.
The Chair of the Cluster, Prof. Dr. Matthias Driess, added, “Now we can continue on a vigorous program of expansion of research into catalysis in the Berlin region beyond the funding period of the Excellence Initiative. I hope that the Gerhard Ertl Center will act as a stimulus to the teaching of basic sciences in the participating universities in general, and that it will continue to produce very exciting results in interdisciplinary research.”
Winner of the Nobel Prize Prof. Dr. Gerhard Ertl, who has given his name to the Center, was visibly moved when the lettering above the entrance door and a two-meter large neon sign bearing his signature inside the building were unveiled during the opening ceremony. The latter piece of art was donated by Bayer Healthcare. Gerhard Ertl is a physicist and won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2007. “Since I wrote my doctoral thesis, interdisciplinary research in catalysis has been a central pillar of my academic career. I am happy that there is now another institute besides the Fritz Haber Institute where catalysis is a priority, and even more so that the new Center bears my name.”
The Villa Bell on the Charlottenburg Campus was renovated expressly to house the Gerhard Ertl Center. A “Science Lounge” and a seminar room have been included in the design to encourage scientific and social exchange. The Graduate School “Berlin International School of Natural Sciences and Engineering” (BIG-NSE) will be provided with spacious premises for the doctoral students studying there.