Jana Gregor

Inselstraße 22
04103 Leipzig

+49 (0) 341 - 9959 - 650

+49 (0) 341 - 9959 - 658


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Episode 4 - A cool paperclip (30.04.2021)

A very cool and clever paper clip is the protagonist of this video, which we published in 2008 on the occasion of the Science Year of Mathematics. This paper clip is extraordinary because it has a memory. Even if you bend it, it can remember its original shape. All it needs is hot water, and it's back to its old self. The reason for this is its unique material, a so-called shape memory material.

The research group around our former director Prof. Dr. Stefan Müller, developed mathematical models to explore materials with these novel properties. The key is the tiny microstructures of the metal.

More than 500 partners from science, culture and politics participated in the 2008 Science Year of Mathematics. Under the motto "Mathematics. Everything that counts," a total of more than 760 events, exhibitions, competitions, and festivals invited people to experience mathematics. They all showed: Mathematics is fun!

P.S. The paper clip is still alive. and it enjoys great popularity in our public relations campaigns and projects with students. :)


Prof. Dr. Stefan Müller is one of the founding directors of our institute. From 1996 to 2008 he led the research group "Mathematical foundations of materials science, microstructures, micromagnatism, continuum mechanics, singular perturbations, non-linear partial differential equations and the calculus of variations". Since 2008 he holds a professorship at the University of Bonn. He is also Hausdorff Chair and Associate Director of the Hausdorff Research Institute for Mathematics at the Bonn Cluster of Excellence Hausdorff Center for Mathematics.

Prof. Dr. Anja Schlömerkemper was a Ph.D. student in the group of Prof. Stefan Müller and received her Ph.D. in 2002 on "Magnetic forces in discrete and continuous systems". Her research stays led her to the University of Oxford, to the University of Stuttgart and from 2005 to 2009 again back to our institute. After holding positions at the Universities of Bonn and Erlangen-Nuremberg, she was appointed Professor and at the University of Würzburg, where she now holds the Chair of Mathematics in the Sciences and is also Vice President of the University.

Prof. Dr. Patrick Dondl was a postdoc in the research group of Prof. Stefan Müller. Now he holds a professorship for Applied Mathematics at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. His scientific interests still focus on the mathematical modeling and analysis of problems arising in the physical sciences. In particular, his group conducts research on interfaces in random media, phase-field models for thin elastic structures, and microstructures in plasticity.


Please read also the following scientific article published on March 4, 2004 in the journal Nature (Volume 428).
Kaushik Bhattacharya, Sergio Conti, Giovanni Zanzotto, and Johannes Zimmer:
Crystal symmetry and the reversibility of martensitic transformations.

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Jana Gregor
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Paul Heine
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Jörg Lehnert
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02.12.2021, 14:12