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Principal Investigators

Almudena Arcones works at the interphase of astrophysics and nuclear physics combining pioneering hydrodynamical simulations of core-collapse supernovae and neutron star mergers with forefront nucleosynthesis calculations to explain the origin of heavy elements in the universe. In 2016, she was awarded an ERC Starting Grant (EUROPIUM) to investigate the origin of heavy elements in neutron star mergers and core-collapse supernovae.

Michaela Arnold (Deputy Representative of WA3) is head of operations of the S-DALINAC, the superconducting recirculating electron linear accelerator of the Technische Universität Darmstadt since 2017. She has been the project leader for the establishment of the first Energy-Recovery LINAC (ERL) in Germany. Within her research she specialized upon beam dynamics and beam operation, magnet design, radiation safety, and ERLs. She has published more than 50 scientific articles (thereof 7 refereed) on the science and technology of electron accelerators, including scientific articles on the field of geodesics for the precision positioning of electron accelerator components.

Thomas Aumann is internationally recognised as a leader in experimental nuclear physics with radioactive beams. As such, he also holds a leading role in the biggest international experiments with high-energy radioactive beams, the R3B Collaboration at FAIR, Germany (Chair of Collaboration Board), the SAMURAI Collaboration at RIBF, Japan (Member of the Steering Board), and the EXL Collaboration at FAIR (Spokesperson). He served also as member of the Board of FAIR Collaborations and the Board of Representatives for the NuSTAR Collaboration. The scientific research of Thomas Aumann focuses on experimental nuclear physics with exotic-ion beams and real-photon beams with emphasis on nuclear structure, nuclear astrophysics, reactions, and associated detector developments. He conducts experimental programs at several accelerator facilities including GSI, Germany, RIBF at RIKEN, Japan, RCNP in Osaka, Japan, HI

Andreas Bauswein (Deputy Representative of WA2) is working in tis working in the field of compact star mergers performing hydrodynamical simulations of these events. His research focuses on the gravitational wave signal, black-hole formation, the nucleosynthesis and electromagnetic counterparts of mergers. Andreas Bauswein is in particular interested in the connection between nuclear and high-density matter physics and the observables of neutron star mergers. In particular, his reserach explores possibilities to detect signatures of the hadron-quark phase transition in neutron star mergers. His work is supported by an ERC Starting Grant.

Michael Block is internationally recognised as a leading figure in superheavy elements research, applying in particular low-energy methods from atomic physics such as Penning trap mass spectrometry and laser spectroscopy to precision measurements of atomic and nuclear properties of the heaviest nuclides. Hiss research interest also comprises nuclear spectroscopy of heavy and superheavy nuclei. Major achievements were pioneering mass measurements of the nobelium and lawrencium isotopes with SHIPTRAP and the first optical spectroscopy of an element above fermium. Michael Block has also been strongly involved in technical and methodical developments for mass spectrometry. For example, the phase-imaging ion-cyclotron-resonance technique, a major breakthrough in mass spectrometry of radionuclides, has been developed at SHIPTRAP at GSI. He has published more than 150 papers on various refereed journals, many of which as Letters (4 in Nature, 14 in PRL, and 4 in PLB). The complete list can be found under the ORCID link given above. Publons reports more than 3,400 citations with h-index 34.

Jens Braun works at the interface of the theory of the strong interaction, ultracold atomic gases, and low-energy nuclear physics, transferring knowledge and methods between these fields to explain the phase structure and thermodynamics of imbalanced fermionic matter. Since 2018 he is a DFG Heisenberg Professor at TU Darmstadt. He has published about 60 papers in refereed journals, including 6 papers in Physical Review Letters. The complete list can be found on INSPIRE, which also reports more than 3000 citations with h-index 28.

Francesca Cuteri (Deputy Representative of WA1) is a theoretical particle physicist working in the field of lattice field theory. Her main research topics are the Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) phase diagram at zero, imaginary-baryon and realisospin chemical potential, as well as the confining flux tube structures in the hadron phase of QCD and their “melting” across the deconfinement phase transition. She published 8 papers in various refereed journals and about 10 papers as contributions to proceedings. The complete list can be found on the inspire-hep server, which also reports more than 150 citations with h-index 8.

Hannah Elfner (Representative of WA2) is an internationally recognised expert on the dynamical description of heavy-ion reactions. Her recently developed non-equilibrium transport approach SMASH is part of the JETSCAPE framework, a US-based NSF initiative to combine state-of-the-art models with Bayesian multi-parameter comparison. She received the Zimanyi medal, the highest international award for young scientists in theoretical heavy-ion physics, for her work on initial state fluctuations and hybrid relativistic hydrodynamics and transport approaches. She has published more than 90 publications in peer-reviewed international journals and edited multiple proceedings issues. In addition, she has written 2 invited review articles and delivered 2 invited plenary talks at Quark Matter (2012 and 2017). Inspire HEP reports 2660 citations and an h-index of 28.

Tetyana Galatyuk (Deputy Spokesperson) is internationally recognized as an expert in studying microscopic properties of QCD matter at high densities with heavy-ion collisions, study of electromagnetic structure of baryons with hadron beams, phenomenology of HIC and instrumentation. She has published more than 80 papers (1 Nature Physics, 8 Phys.Rev.Lett., 14 Phys. Lett. B, 29 Phys. Rev., 22 Eur.Phys.J. A) and about 65 papers as contributions to proceedings. The complete list can be found on the, which also reports more than 2,500 citations with h-index 28.

Yury A. Litvinov (Representative of WA3) is a recognised expert in the application of heavy-ion storage rings for precision experiments with stored, highly-charged heavy stable as well as radioactive ions at the intersection of nuclear structure and atomic physics. Furthermore, he leads a research group pursuing nuclear astrophysics experiments at the ESR and CRYRING facilities of GSI as well as of the future FAIR. Internationally, Yury A. Litvinov is in collaboration boards of all operational heavy-ion storage rings. Since 2017, he is an Associate Professor at the University of Heidelberg teaching atomic, nuclear and accelerator physics. He is a co-author of more than 350 publications, which were cited more than 6500 times by more than 2500 scientific articles.

Gabriel Martínez-Pinedo (Deputy Representative of WA4) works in a broad range of topics of nuclear astrophysics exploring the impact of advances in microphysics in core-collapse supernova and neutron star mergers and their associated nucleosynthesis and electromagnetic signals. She has published over 230 papers in refereed journals (including ApJ, PRL, PLB, MNRAS, RMP) with more than 10,500 citations and an h-index of 57. The complete list can be found on the ORCID link above.

Guy D. Moore is an internationally recognized theorist in the fields of relativistic heavy ion physics, nonabelian plasmas away from equilibrium, and early Universe cosmology, especially electroweak baryogenesis and axionic dark matter. He has pioneered high-order and resummed perturbative calculations of transport phenomena and the approach to equilibrium in Quantum Chromodynamics, and has worked on the interface between real-time dynamics and lattice gauge theory methods. He has published more than 110 papers in refereed journals, including 9 papers in Physical Review Letters. According to INSPIRE, he has over 11,400 citations and an h-index of 60. Guy D. Moore also co-authored a book, “The Standard Model: a Primer,” published by Cambridge University Press, which has become a standard textbook for advanced graduate courses in particle physics and is often referenced in PhD theses, with over 50 citations.

Alexandre Obertelli (Representative of WA1) works on understanding bound nuclear systems and the in-medium interactions among their constituents. He designs and carries experimental programs with radioactive beams at CERN, GSI/FAIR and RIKEN. The investigation of nuclei away from stability provides essential information to understand the link between interactions and nuclear-structure phenomena. He initiated and has been developing new instruments for high-resolution tracking (MINOS ERC, 2010) and experiments with antiprotons (PUMA ERC, 2018). He investigates new experimental approaches to produced and study hypernuclei, very short-lived bound baryonic systems containing strangeness, which tell us more about exotic nuclear matter. Since 2018, he is Alexander von Humboldt Professor at TU Darmstadt.

Owe Philipsen works on quantum field theory, quantum chromodynamics and lattice gauge theory, as well as on selected topics in cosmology. He has pioneered several approaches to circumvent the sign problem prohibiting simulations of dense quantum chromodynamics, and is currently working to make those applicable to realistic parameter values. He has published over 70 papers in refereed journals (including JHEP, Phys.Rev., Phys.Rev.Lett., Nucl.Phys., Comput.Phys.Commun.) and a text book on quantum field theory (Springer). The complete list of research papers can be found on the INSPIRE server, which also reports more than 6,000 citations with h-index 41.

Norbert Pietralla (Spokesperson) is a nuclear spectroscopist and accelerator scientist. He studied physics at the University of Cologne, had been a postdoc at Yale University, and professor for nuclear physics at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and at the University of Cologne. Since 2006 he is Full Professor at the Technische Universität Darmstadt and Director of its Institute for Nuclear Physics. He is well-known for his research on isovector vibrational valence-shell excitations of heavy nuclei, on photonuclear reactions, on nuclear shape phase transitions, and for the establishment of the first Energy-Recovery LINAC in Germany. He has co-discovered the competitive double-Ɣ decay as a new radioactive decay mode of atomic nuclei. Norbert Pietralla has published more than 500 scientific articles. His research has been cited more than 8,000 times by more than 3,300 scientific articles. He has supervised the completion of 48 doctoral theses by now. Some of his former PhD students are already professors and academic leaders, themselves. Norbert Pietralla’s support for the establishment of international cooperation in science, in particular with south-east European countries, has been recognized by his honorary doctorates of the University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest (Romania) and by the St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia (Bulgaria). He is married and has two daughters.

Rene Reifarth is internationally recognised as a leading figure in experimental nuclear astrophysics. He has published more than 390 papers on various refereed journals, many of which as Letters. The complete list can be found on the Web of Science server, which also reports 4800 citations with h-index 38.

Luciano Rezzolla (Spokesperson) is internationally recognised as a leading figure in relativistic astrophysics, combining the mathematical rigour of general relativity with the interpretation of high-energy phenomena from astrophysical compact objects such as black holes and neutron stars. In 2013 he has co-authored a book on “Relativistic Hydrodynamics” published by Oxford University Press that is normally recognised as the standard reference on this topic. Together with coPIs Falcke and Kramer, he has been awarded in 2014 an ERC Synergy Grant (BlackHoleCam) for the theoretical study of supermassive black holes that has lead to the first image of a supermassive black hole in the giant galaxy M87. In 2020 he was awarded an ERC Advanced Grant (Jetset) to study the launching and propagation of relativistic jets. He has recently started an activity in science outreach with a publication of a book on gravity (The irresistible attraction of gravity) published in several languages. He has published more than 220 papers on various refereed journals and has received several prizes and international recognitions.

Dirk H. Rischke (Deputy Spokesperson) is internationally recognised as a leading figure in the physics of strong-interaction matter under extreme conditions. He currently works on the microscopic foundations of relativistic fluid dynamics and on the functional renormalisation group approach to describe thermodynamic as well as transport properties of hot and dense strong-interaction matter. In the past, he has studied exotic color-superconducting phases in strong-interaction matter, which may be relevant to neutron stars, as well as properties of hadrons in vacuum and in hot and dense strong-interaction matter, with the aim to identify signatures for chiral symmetry restoration in such matter. Together with Gabriel Denicol, he has co-authored a monograph on “Microscopic Foundations of Relativistic Fluid Dynamics”, published as Springer Lecture Notes in Physics. From 2017 to 2021, he was spokesperson of the DFG-funded Collaborative Research Center TransRegio 211 “Strong-interaction Matter under Extreme Conditions”. His more than 200 publications have been cited more than 12.000 times.

Laura Sagunski is theoretical physicist whose research lies at the unique interface of gravitational-wave physics, particle physics and cosmology. The target of her research is to solve the very fundamental open questions in the evolution of our Universe, namely the mysteries of dark matter and dark energy (or possible modifications of general relativity). To address this tremendous challenge, however, she does not only use cosmological tools and astrophysical data, but also a powerful new tool to explore the Universe: gravitational waves. In her research, she turns merging black holes and neutron stars into cosmic labs and uses their gravitational wave signals to test the very foundations of general relativity and the unknown particle nature of dark matter.

Stefan Schippers (Representative of Work Area 4) is an internationally recognized expert on atomic collision physics using interacting electron, ion, and photon beams at heavy-ion storage rings and synchrotron light sources. He is the spokesperson of the BMBF funded ErUM-FSP T05, a large collaboration of German university goups actively pursuing the construction and scientific exploitation of the APPA experiments at FAIR. Moreover, he and his research team are currently also active at the cryogenic storage ring CSR of the Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg and at the PETRA III synchrotron light source operated by DESY.

Achim Schwenk is one of the leading scientists in modern nuclear-physics theory, who has pioneered several new research directions. He has made outstanding contributions to understanding and predicting strongly interacting many-body systems in the laboratory and the cosmos, connecting the frontiers in experimental nuclear science and beyond with advances in the theory of the strong interaction. Achim Schwenk has published 173 scientific publications with 13,400 citations, h-index 64 (according to Google Scholar), with 33 Phys. Rev. Lett. and 5 Nature/Nature Physics. He has given over 170 colloquia and invited/plenary talks at workshops and conferences.

Thomas Stöhlker is internationally renowned experimental physicist in strong field QED and strong field phenomena related to heavy, highly charged ions and strong laser fields. He has particular expertise in experiments with stored and trapped highly charged ion and atomic photonic, photonic collisions with emphasis on atomic physics and the border between atomic and nuclear physics, such as relevant for the investigation of astrophysical phenomena. More over his expertise expands to ion storage techniques, ion sources, particle detectors, gaseous targets, x-ray detection techniques, x-ray imaging techniques, particle cooling techniques, and applications of high-power lasers. Thomas Stöhlker has published more than 506 papers on various refereed journals, many of which as Letters (e.g., 41 in Physical Review Letters). The h-index amounts to 43 (ISI web of science) with 7557 citations (Google scholar: h-index 53 with 11413 citations)

Joachim Stroth is internationally recognised as a leading figure in relativistic heavy-ion physics, in particular for establishing a highly visible research program of HADES on the exploration of the QCD phase diagram in the region of highest net-baryon density. He is also well recognized for his contributions to instrumentation. He has contributed to a broad field of accelerator driven experiments including atomic physics (“atomic heavy-ion reaction clock”), nuclear structure (“double giant dipole resonance”) and extreme QCD matter physics (“thermal dilepton radiation”). He co-authored more than 445 papers in refereed journals (15 in PRL). Google scholar reports a h-index of 45 and a total of 8630 citations.