The Einstein Foundation Berlin has selected renowned chemist Professor Sebastian Hasenstab-Riedel as its new Einstein Professor at Freie Universität Berlin. Hasenstab-Riedel is one of the world’s leading researchers in the area of halogen chemistry, which is essential for a wide range of applications, from modern plastics to innovative substitutes for greenhouse gases.
Professor Hasenstab-Riedel’s academic contributions span from basic scientific research to practical applications, as proven by the 19 patents and cooperative relationships with leading companies in the chemical industry he currently has to his name. His main areas of specialization include developing sustainable halogen chemistry, researching very high oxidation states, and synthesizing extremely strong acids. He combines different technologies and methods from quantum chemistry, spectroscopy, and preparative halogen chemistry in his work
Sebastian Hasenstab-Riedel was born in 1975 and completed an apprenticeship as a chemical technician at Siemens and Degussa in Hanau-Wolfgang from 1993 to 1996. He went on to study chemistry at the University of Siegen and the University of Würzburg from 1998 to 2003. He completed a doctorate in theoretical chemistry on the maximum oxidation states of transition metals under Professor Martin Kaupp at the University of Würzburg in 2006. Hasenstab-Riedel received fellowships to conduct research at the University of Helsinki in Finland and McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, between 2006 and 2008. He was awarded his postdoctoral university instruction qualifications (Habilitation) in inorganic chemistry at the University of Freiburg in 2013. That same year, he was appointed full professor of inorganic chemistry at Freie Universität Berlin, where he advanced halogen chemistry as a subject and contributed significantly to the success of the second funding period of the research training group "Fluorine as a Key Element." When the work of this group was concluded in 2018, Hasenstab-Riedel, together with researchers from all across Berlin, was able to acquire funding for the Collaborative Research Center 1349 "Fluorine-Specific Interactions." That year, he received a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to fund his project "HighPotOx" over five years in order to research particularly strong oxidizing agents. The quality and quantity of Professor Hasenstab-Riedel’s scientific publications over the last decade have proved nothing but extraordinary.
The aim of the Einstein Professorship program is to provide support for recruiting top international researchers at Berlin universities. It also supports efforts to retain researchers at their current universities in the event that they receive offers elsewhere.
The Einstein Foundation Berlin is an independent and science-driven nonprofit institution, which has been established as a foundation under German civil law. The foundation aims to promote science and research of top international caliber in Berlin and to establish the city as a center of scientific excellence. So far, it has funded over 172 researchers, including three Nobel Prize winners, 71 projects, and seven Einstein Centers. The Einstein Foundation Berlin was named German Research Foundation of the Year 2021 on the basis of its significant contribution to promoting the city as a leading international research hub.