Aalen University: new president, new professor for optical engineering
Founder of Laser Application Center (LAZ) took the highest university office on January 1st
On January 1, 2022, Prof Dr Harald Riegel took office as the new president of Aalen University. The physicist succeeded in the application process for the highest management position at the university and was elected by a large majority of the Senate and University Council last April. Before that, Riegel, who has been teaching at Aalen since 2009, was vice-president for teaching, communication and international relations for seven years. “I’m really looking forward to leading the fortunes of this successful university,” says Riegel. He succeeds Prof Dr Gerhard Schneider, who, after two terms as president, resigned as planned at the end of 2021.
It is of great concern to the native Franconian to support the industry in the corresponding transformation processes with regard to ongoing digitization. The university plays a very important role here with its application-oriented research and its corresponding transfer to the industry, according to Riegel, who in this context also refers to the research strength of the university and the campus as a “biotope for foundations and start-ups.” Riegel predicts, "a lot will happen there,” and adds with a laugh: “My vision is, to put it bluntly, that people will come running at me with the question of where on this campus they can put a building for spin-offs.”
As a passionate researcher who has raised around 6.5 million euros so far for research activities and has successfully established the Laser Application Center (LAZ) at Aalen University, it is important to him not to neglect basic research. “I am also very much looking forward to continue filling the new research buildings with life. We really have a great research infrastructure there,” says Riegel enthusiastically. In 2020, he was awarded Aalen University’s research prize for his great commitment.
After studying physics, he had worked in the industry for 13 years, including at the measuring device manufacturer Endres+Hauser in Gerlingen and at the automotive supplier Mahle Behr in Stuttgart. At the same time, he took on teaching opportunities before applying for a professorship in physics at Aalen University in 2009.
“Constantly expanding one’s own spectrum”
The university’s research center for optical engineering and applied photonics welcomes Anne Harth as newly appointed professor. The native of Frankfurt grew up in Lower Saxony and when studying physics, joined a young professor in Hanover who was setting up laser physics at the university.
After her PhD dealing with XUV lasers, she received an offer to work in Sweden through the research group she knew, before changing to the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics where she measured electrons that are ejected by the XUV. She worked in Heidelberg until the end of October 2021, when she was appointed as a new professor of optical engineering and applied photonics at Aalen University and the associated Center for Optical Technologies (ZOT). In addition to teaching, she chairs the “Computation Optics & Light Matter Interaction” research group.
Hochschule Aalen – Technik und Wirtschaft
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