Press release 2022/130 from

Leipzig University is attracting more and more bright minds from abroad. Four scholars from India, the US and Egypt have just begun their time as researchers at Leipzig – each with a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

The theoretical physicist Dr Lokrshi Prawar Dadhichi from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Hyderabad (India) will spend the next two years conducting research at Leipzig University on a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Dadhichi specialises in unusual phase transitions in so-called active matter. Its molecular building blocks are permanently supplied with individual energy. This allows them to move autonomously. This property, commonly found only in living organisms, is increasingly being mimicked in “bottom-up” synthesised materials. With such unusual active materials, it is then possible to defy certain iron rules of physics that apply to passive, inanimate materials. For example, active materials exhibit what is known as reverse Ostwald ripening, which turns the universal phase transformation process – so named after the Leipzig Nobel Prize winner Wilhelm Ostwald – on its head.
Dadhichi comes from one of the world’s leading groups in this rapidly expanding field of research, to which he himself contributed important pioneering work during his doctoral studies. Where Ostwald himself once worked before him, he now hopes to advance his theories in collaboration with the local theoretical and experimental groups led by Professor Klaus Kroy of the Institute for Theoretical Physics and Professor Frank Cichos of the Peter Debye Institute for Soft Matter Physics.
Further information: Professor Klaus Kroy, Institute of Theoretical Physics at Leipzig University, tel.: +49341-9732436, email

Professor Nahla Tawfik, professor at the German department of the Faculty of Languages at Ain Shams University in Cairo, recently began researching at Leipzig University’s Herder Institute thanks to a fellowship for experienced researchers from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. She will spend a year studying German-Arabic language contact phenomena in written and oral language use in the present. In particular, she wants to investigate code switching phenomena in texts, blogs, and oral texts by native Arabic speakers living in Germany. “The project could give a powerful boost to interculturality research in the German-Arabic context. The research project may similarly help German studies in Egypt to become more outward-looking and to develop new research potential in the field of language contact research and multilingualism,” she says. The project will also foster cooperation with Leipzig University, which has long-standing ties with Ain Shams University. The two universities already run joint master’s programmes in German as a Foreign Language in the Arabic-German Context and Technical Translation Arabic-German. “We are very pleased to be able to further deepen our already intensive cooperation in this way, also in the field of linguistic research,” says Professor Christian Fandrych of the Herder Institute. Professor Tawfik will be associated with his chair during her stay in Leipzig.
Further information: Professor Nahla Tawfik, Herder Institute, email

Dr Glenda Satne from the University of Wollongong in Australia has been conducting research at the Institute of Philosophy at Leipzig University since June on a research fellowship for experienced researchers. Her academic interest is in collective action. This plays an important role in our lives, for example in team sports, music groups, protests, traffic jams and efforts to protect the climate. In all these cases, a group of individuals achieves a result that no one could achieve alone. At first glance, however, these forms of collective action appear very different: some are competitive, others cooperative; some are predominantly instrumental, others seem to have no practical use at all; some are done knowingly and willingly, while others are largely unintentional; some involve complex decision-making methods and written procedures, others are spontaneous and short-lived. In her project, Dr Satne aims to develop a new conceptual framework for the study of collective action. This should give rise to novel conceptual tools for comparing collective actions along different dimensions of analysis and for examining how collective and individual actions differ or resemble each other. 
Further information: Dr Glenda Satne, Institute of Philosophy, email

Also awarded the Humboldt Research Fellowship for experienced researchers, Professor John Schwenkler, an expert in theoretical philosophy from Florida State University in the US, is conducting research at Leipzig University. He, too, will be a visiting scholar at the Institute of Philosophy in the coming months.