Professor Martina Havenith-Newen was the first to use Terahertz (THz) spectroscopy to investigate how water molecules behave around biomolecules. Since almost all biological processes take place in solution, i.e. with the participation of water, their dynamics are of great importance. To honor this pioneering work, the Optical Society of America, OSA for short, elected the RESOLV's Speaker and Chemist from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) as a Fellow on 15 September 2020. The Fellowship is reserved for persons who have made outstanding contributions in the field of optics and photonics.
The active role of water
Martina Havenith's outstanding results in this field begin with two groundbreaking publications in 2006 and 2007, followed by a large number of papers, many of which have been published in high-ranking journals.
The award was granted “for her pioneering work in developing THz spectroscopy as a sensitive method for understanding solvent effects. This has helped to elucidate the role of water in biological processes," said the OSA in the prize motivation.
Havenith’s work has set the stage for the development of a new field of research, which will keep a generation of scientists busy. "Owing to her work, we must give water a much more active role in the function of hydrated molecules, which we are beginning to understand with a deep theoretical insight. This has being recognized widely in the scientific community and has led to the set-up of similar research groups and new water initiatives in institutes around the world," says OSA.