The award for „Best Innovation“ was named after physicist Dr. Konrad Ruthardt (1906-1973), founder and head of the Heraeus physical laboratory since 1935 and co-developer of high-vacuum technology including vapor deposition.
He was managing director and a shareholder after the Second World War. Konrad Ruthardt filed over 60 patents. He was the co-developer of silver-palladium alloys and other precious metal alloys used for switching contacts. The semi-mechanical electric switching contacts were very successful until they were superseded by purely electric contacts in the 1970s. His achievements in the development of precious metal-based contact materials continue to exist in modern forms today.