November 23, 2010.-
I am deeply honoured to have been awarded the 2010 University Research Professorship
of Memorial University from President Dr. Gary Kachanowski. This is the highest honour that could
be bestowed on a scholar at Memorial, given to 0-2 professors each year, and I am gratified to
be in such illustrious company, such as with my colleague, Dr. Mary L. Courage of Psychology, the
other winner of this year's selection.
A few words are in order here to acknowledge the many students that I had the opportunity to accompany
for some time, many of whom have done research and published with me. This award would not be bestowed
on me without them and their creativity and energy put forward to research. It is always invigorating
to see young minds inquire and critically examine old wisdoms, and to see them learn and gradually
expand their reach.
I would also like to acknowledge the postdocs with whom I had the fortune to work, Drs. Peter Dittrich,
Jens Ziegler, Andre Leier, Taras Kowaliw, Simon Harding, Garnett Wilson, Miguel Nicolau and Lidia Yamamoto.
They have not only worked with me on many very interesting research topics, but taken up many duties as
well, helping me to fulfill my obligations when I was off organizing some event, or when I had to delegate
I should not forget to mention the many colleagues that helped me along the way during my career,
both here at Memorial and elsewhere, and
the many friends I have in the research community who were willing to collaborate with me, and with whom
it is so much fun to interact. What would Science be without these friendships, that carry through
the highs and the lows? I hesitate to name them here, for fear of disappointing some that could not
Yet, I have to mention my academic advisors and mentors, Prof. Dr. Harald Fritzsch, University of Munich (Germany),
Prof. Dr. Julius Wess†, then University of Karlsruhe (Germany), Prof. Dr. Hermann Haken, University of Stuttgart (Germany),
Dr. Takashi Nakayama, Mitsubishi Electric (Japan), Dr. Kazuo Kyuma Mitsubishi Electric (Japan),
Dr. Lazlo Belady, Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs (USA), Prof. Dr. Hans-Paul Schwefel, Technical University of Dortmund
(Germany). They have given me the freedom to follow my intuitions, they supported me when I asked for help,
and they helped me unfold my talents in the scientific world.
But most importantly, there is my family, my children Teresa, Benedikt and Sofia, and my wonderful wife Pia, who all in their
way provided the nurturing environment for me to pursue a career in academia. Without the warmth of our home, I would
have long since given up. And there are my parents, without whose tender care I would not have even done the first
steps on the way that brought me to today. As in many families, I was the first in my family to have gone to
university, and the emotional and material support of my parents made all the difference.
Finally, if there is someone out there who reads these lines and feels has contributed to this success,
I would like to thank you as well.
Last updated: Jul 30, 2012