New professors: four women and four men

In the current round of appointments, four men and four women were appointed or promoted to ETH professors. Thematically, this time the focus is on mathematics and computer science. In addition, the new professorships strengthen the environmental sciences, physics and chemistry at ETH Zurich.

The appointments and promotions were made at the request of ETH President Joël Mesot by the ETH Board at its meeting on 8 and 9 July 2020. The ETH Board also awarded the title of professor to another ETH researcher.

Professor Beatrice Acciaio (*1978), currently Associate Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, United Kingdom, as Full Professor of Mathematics. With her research, Beatrice Acciaio has contributed to all the latest areas of financial mathematics. In 2019 the London School of Economics and Political Science presented her with an Excellence in Education Award for her outstanding work as a university lecturer and supervisor. She is particularly keen to encourage women mathematicians. By appointing Beatrice Acciaio, the Department of Mathematics is strengthening the interface between financial mathematics and machine learning. ETH Zurich will benefit greatly from her work, which moves beyond the boundaries of mathematics and into the realm of industry. (Departmental Affiliation: D-MATH)

Professor Andrea Carminati (*1977), currently Professor at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, as Full Professor of Physics of Soils and Terrestrial Ecosystems. Andrea Carminati’s work focuses on the retention and flow of water in soils, roots and plants. His research has demonstrated that physical processes in soil are of central importance to the ways terrestrial ecosystems react to extreme drought. By appointing Andrea Carminati, the Department of Environmental Systems Science is gaining further expertise in the area of soil physics and expanding an important field of research that looks at the interrelationships between climate change, land use and terrestrial ecosystems. (Departmental Affiliation: D’USYS)

Professor Niao He (*1990), currently Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Data Science. Niao He’s research explores the point at which the optimisation of large-scale systems intersects with machine learning techniques. By appointing Niao He, the Department of Computer Science will strengthen its strategic orientation in the areas of machine learning and artificial intelligence. ETH Zurich expects her appointment to boost the collaboration between the Departments of Mathematics, Computer Science, as well as Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, with particular reference to the Master’s course in Data Science. (Departmental Affiliation: D’INFK)

Professor Maksym V. Kovalenko (*1982), currently Associate Professor at ETH Zurich, as Full Professor of Functional Inorganic Materials. Maksym V. Kovalenko and his working group - which is partly based at Empa - are researching the synthesis and characteristics of different functional inorganic materials, with the goal of one day using these materials as quantum light sources, for example, or as components of high-performance batteries. He has received a number of awards, including an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2018 and ETH Zurich’s Rössler Prize in 2019 for his research on bright nanoparticles. (Departmental Affiliation: D-CHAB)

Professor Dylan Possamaď (*1985), currently Assistant Professor at Columbia University, New York, USA, as Full Professor of Mathematics. Dylan Possamaď’s work focuses on stochastic analysis, stochastic optimisation problems and economic equilibrium models. He has helped to achieve a better understanding of model uncertainties and the effects of transaction costs on the behaviour of market participants. With the appointment of Dylan Possamaď, the Department of Mathematics is strengthening its research and teaching in the area where probability theory, financial mathematics and economics intersect. Important synergies will also be created, promoting collaboration with the financial, insurance and energy sectors. (Departmental Affiliation: D-MATH)

Dr Shweta Shivaji Shinde (*1991), currently a post-doctoral scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Data Science. Shweta Shivaji Shinde’s research focuses on the overlaps between trusted computing, systems security and programme analysis. The particular orientation of her research will enable her to play a leading role in making tomorrow’s computing systems secure. By appointing Shweta Shivaji Shinde, the Department of Computer Science is strengthening its research in the field of information security and thus contributing to the expansion of the Zurich Information Security and Privacy Center (ZISC). (Departmental Affiliation: D’INFK)

Dr Anna Sótér (*1986), currently Lecturer and SNSF Ambizione Fellow at ETH Zurich, as Tenure Track Assistant Professor of Low Energy Particle Physics. Anna Sótér’s research is in the area of exotic atoms, where particle physics, atomic physics and quantum optics meet. She is an acknowledged expert in laser spectroscopy of exotic helium, in which an electron is replaced by an antiproton or a negative pion. The appointment of Anna Sótér gives the Department of Physics an ideal opportunity to develop synergies between the latest forms of particle detection, quantum optics and cryogenics in order to answer fundamental questions in disciplines ranging from particle physics to cosmology. (Departmental Affiliation: D-PHYS)

Professor David Steurer (*1984), currently Tenure Track Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich, as Associate Professor of Theoretical Computer Science. David Steurer’s research investigates fundamental questions regarding efficient computation (complexity theory), with particular reference to optimisation and data analysis. The many awards that David Steurer has won include the prestigious Held Prize from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and an ERC Consolidator Grant, both of which he received in 2018. David Steurer has considerable teaching experience in the areas of algorithms, complexity theory, optimisation theory and data analysis. (Departmental Affiliation: D’INFK)

Dr Martin Gossner (*1972), currently Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Systems Science at ETH Zurich as well as Group Leader and Senior Scientist at WSL, as Adjunct Professor at ETH Zurich. Dr Martin Gossner is an outstanding, internationally acclaimed and highly regarded animal ecologist. He is one of the leading proponents of biodiversity research both in Switzerland and globally, and has an excellent publication record.

Professor Joao Matos (*1979), currently Assistant Professor of Cellular Biochemistry, will leave ETH Zurich with effect from 31 August 2020. Joao Matos became an Assistant Professor at ETH Zurich in 2014. He and his group conducted research on DNA recombination and genome stability in relation to the various types of cell division. His research is particularly important for understanding, and thus potentially preventing, the development of certain inherited diseases and cancers. Joao Matos is leaving ETH Zurich in order to take up a full professorship at the University of Vienna.

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