March 21, 2019
The Executive Committee of the Leopoldina has appointed Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Wiegand, Professor of Media Technology at the TU Berlin and Executive Director of the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI, as a member. During a ceremony in Halle, he and eleven other scientists received the membership certificate. The election as a member of the Leopoldina is regarded as one of the highest scientific honors awarded by a German institution. In the future Wiegand will contribute to the section Information Sciences.
Thomas Wiegand has been Executive Director of the Fraunhofer HHI since 2014. In his research area, scientific work is carried out in the fields of Video Coding, Wireless Communication, Machine Learning, the Human Visual System and Computer Vision. The spectrum of research projects covers everything from basic and technical research to demonstrators and prototypes. Wiegand and his research groups at the TU Berlin and the Fraunhofer HHI have intensively dealt with the topic of encoding video data. Thereby, he has consistently transferred his research results into international standardization. Thus, he was able to contribute to the standards H.263, H.264/MPEG-AVC and H.265/MPEG-HEVC with his proposals. Furthermore, he is contributing in addition to his scientific and technical research. Particularly in the case of H.264/MPEG-AVC, he was able to make a substantial contribution to the success of the standard in his role as co-chair of the standardization group and as editor of the standard. Today, more than 50 percent of the bits on the Internet are encoded with H.264/MPEG-AVC. Since 2018 Wiegand is additionally heading the ITU/WHO focus group "Artificial Intelligence for Health" (FG-AI4H), which evaluates AI algorithms in the health sector. Thomas Wiegand has received numerous international awards for his work in the research, development and standardization of Video Coding. Together with his research team, he has received four Emmy Awards in recent years. He has also been honored with the Vodafone Foundation Innovation Award, the Eduard Rhein Foundation Technology Award, the Karl Heinz Beckurts Award, the IEEE Masaru Ibuka Technical Field Award and the ITU 150 Award.
Founded in 1652, Leopoldina is one of the oldest science academies in the world. More than a quarter of its members are from outside the country. With currently more than 1,500 members in more than 30 countries, the Leopoldina is the academy with the largest number of members in Germany.