prof.dr. Martin van Hecke

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Group leader: Mechanical Metamaterials

CV / Biography

Martin van Hecke is a group leader at AMOLF, Amsterdam, and a professor of physics at Leiden University. He got his PhD in theoretical physics in 1996 at the University of Leiden. Since then he has worked on a broad range of topics in flexible and frustrated matter combining experiments, simulations and theory. The common thread in all this works is the fascination for the emergence of complex behavior in seemingly simple systems.

After been awarded the Vici grant in 2011, he focused his research on mechanical metamaterials, from patterned elastic media to origami. In particular he has developed new design techniques to make complex metamaterials that straddle the boundary between material and machine, and that form complex patterns or can self-fold when compressed. Based on these ideas and supported by an ERC-advanced grant (2021), he is now exploring if and how complex materials – from metamaterials to crumpled sheets – can store and process information. He works part-time at AMOLF, running a single group at two locations and spearheading the AMOLF ‘Modern Mechanics’ expertise center.