Over EUR 9 Million Funding for Research Projects by Heidelberg Nuclear and Particle Physicists

Press Release No. 161/2012
3 July 2012
Federal Ministry of Education and Research approves resources for continuation of successful work in basic research

Research groups at Heidelberg University’s Faculty of Physics and Astronomy are to receive funding to the tune of over EUR 9 million for basic research in hadron, nuclear and elementary particle physics. These resources were approved in July by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research for a period of three years. They are earmarked for work at the European Nuclear Research Centre CERN in Geneva, the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt and the research centre of the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) in Japan. Over EUR 6 million are destined for research on experiments conducted with CERN’s particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). As was the case three years ago, this puts Heidelberg University up among the leaders in Germany’s so-called integrated research funding.

Thanks to the resources provided by the Ministry, research groups at the Kirchhoff Institute for Physics, the Institute for Physics, the Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Institute of Computer Engineering (ZITI) will be able to carry on with their successful research work at CERN, GSI and KEK. This work is designed to help answer fundamental questions on the structure of matter and its role in the origin of our universe. The scientists involved in the ATLAS experiment at CERN hope to cast light on the question of the origins of particle mass and the nature of Dark Matter. The researchers working on ALICE are analysing the properties of so-called quark-gluon plasma, which the universe may have consisted of shortly after the Big Bang. The LHCb experiment investigates the differences in behaviour between matter and anti-matter, which is the basis for the existence of our world. Research teams from Heidelberg University are crucially involved in all three experiments. The successful start-up of the Large Hadron Collider in 2010 and over two years of data collection have already come up with many interesting results. Other spectacular findings are expected for this year’s summer conferences. But the experiments with the Large Hadron Collider are still at the outset of a research programme that will take 20 years. The funding for the next stage has now been made available in Heidelberg.

In addition, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is financing projects at the future accelerator centre of the GSI, the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR). Here too, new complementary insights into the structure of matter and the evolution of the universe are expected. For example, Heidelberg scientists are involved in the set-up of the CBM experiment devoted to the investigation of nuclear matter at very high densities, as found in neutron stars or the nuclei of supernova explosions. A major part of the approved resources will also serve the development and set-up of the Belle-II experiment at KEK in Japan. Here, as of 2014, electron-positron collisions will be analysed to supply new insights into the mystery of matter-antimatter symmetry in the universe. “This generous Ministry funding for nuclear and elementary particle physics in Heidelberg underlines once again the outstanding position that research in this area has achieved for itself in Germany,” says Prof. Dr. Hans-Christian Schultz-Coulon of the Kirchhoff Institute for Physics. “It will enable Heidelberg’s physicists to go on playing an essential role in research on the structure of matter and in the enhancement of our understanding of the universe.”

Prof. Dr. Hans-Christian Schultz-Coulon
Kirchhoff Institute for Physics
phone: +49 6221 549281

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