Born on April 18, 1965 in Hilden. Study of music, metallurgy and metal physics (summa cum laude) RWTH Aachen; doctorate (summa cum laude) RWTH Aachen (1992), Staff Scientist and Group Leader at the Institute for Metal Physics, RWTH Aachen (1992-1997), German Habilitation, RWTH Aachen (1997), Visiting Scientist Dpt. for Materials Science and Engineering Carnegie Mellon Univ. Pittsburgh, USA, Director and Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research (since 1999), Professor at RWTH Aachen and at the Dpt. for Materials Science and Engineering Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, USA.
Amongst others he holds the following offices and prizes: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Award (2004), election among the TOP-10 of the most eminent German researchers below the age of 45 years; Member of the Academy of Sciences of North Rhine-Westphalia (2008); Lee Hsun Lecture Award of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2008); member of the Board of Governors of Acta Materialia (2007-2014); Member of the Science Advisory Board of the German Government (Wissenschaftsrat, 2010-2016); chief executive officer of the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research (2010); Weinberg Lecture Award, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada (2011); DGM Award (Award of the German Society for Materials Science)(2011); ERC Advanced Grant (2012); Member and Chairman of the Board of Governors (Hochschulrat) of RWTH Aachen University (since 2012); member of the National Academy Leopoldina (2014) and Honorary Professor at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.