Prof. Dr.-Ing. Erik Bitzek


  • Multi-Scale Modelling of Fracture
  • Nanomechanics and Small-Scale Plasticity
  • Mechanical Behavior of Interface-Dominated Materials
  • Deformation and Failure of Amorphous Materials
  • Plasticity and Fracture of Complex Crystals


Erik Bitzek joined the MPIE in September 2021 and is still affiliated with the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg. He studied physics at the University Stuttgart where he received his Diploma (Dipl. Phys.) with distinction in 2000. After starting his PhD in the group of Prof. Eduard Arzt at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research (now MPI for Intelligent Systems) in Stuttgart, he moved in 2002 with his advisor, Prof. Peter Gumbsch, to the newly founded Institut für Zuverlässigkeit von Bauteilen und Systemen (now IAM-CMS) at the technical university Karlsruhe (now KIT), from where he obtained his doctorate degree (Dr.-Ing.) with distinction in 2006. During his first Postdoc in the group of Prof. Helena van Swygenhoven at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland he was also visiting scientist at the Ohio State University, USA, in the groups of Prof. Peter Anderson and Prof. Yunzhi Wang. His second Postdoc with Prof. Ju Li brought him to the University of Pennsylvania, USA, to which he stayed connected as visiting professor after being appointed at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) in 2009 as assistant professor (“Juniorprofessor”). From 2015 to 2021 he was full professor at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Institute I. From 2013 till 2021 he was furthermore Chair of the international Elite Master’s Programme “Advanced Materials and Processes (MAP)”.
Prof. Bitzek is co-initiator and 2. speaker of the research training group GRK2423 “Fracture across Scales” and member of the board of the research training group GRK1896 “In-Situ Microscopy with Electrons, X-rays and Scanning Probes” at FAU. He is PI in the SFB/TR103 Superalloy Single Crystals, SPP1594 Topological Engineering of Ultrastrong Glasses and part of the
SPP2074 Fluidfreie Schmiersysteme mit hoher mechanischer Belastung and the Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) Project Fracture Across Scales and Materials, Processes and Disciplines (FRAMED).

Erik Bitzek serves the scientific community amongst others as member of the editorial board of the Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Materials and the Journal of Molecular Modeling, as coordinator of the German part of the International Research Network (GDRI) “Mechanics of Nano-Objects” (MECANO), member of the Executive Committee of the conference series “Dislocations”, and co-initiator of the working group 3D Materials Data Science of the German Materials Research Society (DGM). He is also member of the Consortium of the Nationale Forschungsdaten Infrastruktur Initiative NFDI4MSE, the European Materials Modeling Council (EMMC), the European Materials Characterization Council (EMCC) and expert on “Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology (AM&N) Modelling, Simulation and Design” for the LEIT programme of the European Commission. He furthermore serves as reviewer for the ERC, various organizations in Germany, Austria, Israel, Canada and the US, and for top-ranked journals in materials science and physics. He also has organized and co-organized more than 15 national and international workshops and symposia.

He is author and co-author of more than 50 publications in international peer-reviewed journals, of one patent application and has given invited presentation at more than 50 international conferences, workshops and seminars. In 2008 his work was designated as “Outstanding Research by Promising Young Researchers in Mechanics and Materials” by the Japanese Society of Mechanical Engineers, in 2009 he was awarded the Best Poster Award at the Gordon Research Conference on Physical Metallurgy and obtained in 2013 the starting grant of the Cluster of Excellence Engineering of Advanced Materials (EAM).

In 2016 he was awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant for his project Microscopic Origins of Fracture Toughness (microKIc).

Recent and upcoming organised events

  • DPG Spring Meeting 2022, Dresden, Germany, Co-organizer of the Topical Session on Data-Driven Materials Science and Member of the organizing committee of the Metal and Material Physics division

In the media:

  • „Der Herr der Risse: Zerstoeren fuer die Wissenschaft“, TV report in Franken-Fernsehen 
  • „Realistic simulations reveal atomic-scale details responsible for superalloy properties“, article in MRS Bulletin 
  • „Superlegierungen“, article in Chemie in unserer Zeit
  • „Simulation am Supercomputer“, article in Maschine und Werkzeug
  • „Warum Dinge kaputt gehen“ in Laborpraxis
  • „Simulation: Den Superkräften von Superlegierungen auf der Spur“, article in 
  • „Sinnvolle Zerstörung“, Nürnberger Nachrichten, 17./18. Juni 2017
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