On June 5, 2014, Martin Stratmann assumed the office of President of the Max Planck Society. The Senate of the Max Planck Society elected him for the 2014-2020 term of office.
Martin Stratmann was born on 20 April 1954 in Essen, Germany, and grew up in Traben-Trarbach. After completing his Abitur in 1974, he studied chemistry at Ruhr-Universität Bochum with a grant from the German National Academic Foundation, completing his chemistry degree in 1979. He then commenced his doctoral studies at the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH (MPIE) in Düsseldorf on “electrochemical investigations of phase transitions in rust layers”, which he completed in 1982. This was followed by a two-year postdoctoral grant at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland (USA).
Back in Germany, Stratmann took up a position as a scientific staff member and later became Leader of the Corrosion Research Working Group at the MPIE. He attracted considerable attention when he used the scanning Kelvin probe for the first time to investigate corrosion processes - also under ultra-thin electrolyte films and insulating layers. With the aid of this method it was possible to elucidate to a large extent the atmospheric corrosion of iron and ferric alloys, as well as the de-adhesion of polymer coatings from reactive metallic surfaces. This research paves the way for the development of synthetic coatings that can protect steels and other metals from rust and heal themselves if they become damaged.
From 1994 to 1999, Stratmann worked at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, where he took over the chair for Corrosion and Surface Engineering from Helmut Kaesche. In 2000 he returned to the MPI as Scientific Member and Director of the Department of Interface Chemistry and Surface Engineering, becoming Chairperson of the Board of Directors two years later.
From 2006 to 2008, Stratmann took over the Chair of the Chemistry, Physics and Technology Section of the Max Planck Society, becoming Vice President in 2008. Since 2008, he has also been the Scientific Director of the Minerva Foundation, which was established as a subsidiary of the Max Planck Society in the 1960s and is the flagship of German-Israeli scientific cooperation. In 2008, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Advanced Materials Simulation (ICAMS) was founded in Bochum at Martin Stratmann’s initiative. Stratmann is currently Chairman of the ICAMS Scientific Advisory Board. In addition, he is a member of the Cluster of Excellence RESOLV at Ruhr-Universität Bochum.