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Early career prize for UHasselt researcher Karel Proesmans    May 08, 2019

Early career prize for UHasselt researcher Karel Proesmans
May 08, 2019


De heer Karel PROESMANS



Karel Proesmans is awarded the prestigious Early Career Prize by the European Physical Society. The UHasselt researcher received the award for his outstanding contribution in the field of physics with his PhD thesis that revolved around the thermodynamics of microscopic systems.


“Thermodynamics is a funny subject” – Arnold Sommerfeld.

Thermodynamics is the branch of physics that looks into temperature and heat and how these relate to concepts such as energy, work, radiation and properties of matter. “When we speak about small systems, we are zooming in on the molecular level and look at biomolecules, enzymes, and tiny particles”, Karel explains. “In order to do this, advanced mathematical and statistical methods with a large number of variables are required. The collection of these random variables is called the stochastic process, hence the name stochastic thermodynamics.”

“During my PhD, I specifically looked at the efficiency fluctuations in small systems. I asked questions such as: are there limits to these fluctuations, what is the maximal power output you can achieve, and what is the efficiency of such a system? Although my research is mostly theoretical in nature, our findings also have a lot of practical implementations and can be, for example, used to study biological processes and nanotechnology. On top of that they are not limited to smaller systems but can also be implemented in large macroscopic ones.”

 “The fact that my hard work is being recognized feels great. I am very grateful for being awarded such a prestigious prize by the European Physical Society and am looking forward to continue my research in this interesting field.”