Last week, the members of ELEMENTS came together for their first Annual Conference at the Frankfurt Institute of Advanced Studies and Giersch Science Center. After opening words from spokesperson Luciano Rezzolla, the attendees were welcomed by Vice President Bernhard Brüne (Goethe University) and President Tanja Brühl (TU Darmstadt) in person while Vice President Alexander Goesmann (JLU Gießen) and Scientific Managing Director Paolo Giubellino (FAIR/GSI) joined online.
The first day of the conference was dedicated to our Work Area 1, focusing on the microscopic dynamics and the Equation of State of dense nuclear matter. After an overview by the Work Area Representative Achim Schwenk and a variety of talks by Early Career Researchers (ECRs), invited speaker Laura Fabbietti (TU Munich) gave exciting insights into strong interaction studies at the Large Hadron Collider. The afternoon was filled with lively discussions at the poster session, where 19 ECRs presented their projects. During the last session, the project officers of ELEMENTS introduced themselves and their approach for Equal Opportunities, Research Data Management and Science Communication. Finally, our ECRs had the chance to get to know each other at a social event.
The second day started with a session on Work Area 2, which Representative Hannah Elfner opened with an overview of Heavy Ion Collisions and Collisions of Neutron Stars. Invited speaker Giulia Stratta (INAF Bologna) took a look into the future of Gamma Ray Bursts and other electromagnetic counterparts that will help detect Binary Neutron Star mergers and mergers of Black Holes and Neutron Stars. Again, a number of Early Career Researchers had the chance to give talks. At noon, Nobel laureate Reinhard Genzel (MPE Garching) joined our conference and inspired everyone with this “Forty Year Journey” of testing General Relativity and the Massive Black Hole Paradigm. At night, he also gave a talk to the public, which marked a great outreach success for ELEMENTS.
The final day targeted our Work Areas 3 and 4. Representative René Reifarth (Work Area 3) presented a review of Nucleosynthesis of Heavy Elements, followed by ECR talks. Hans-Thomas Janka (TU München) was invited to talk about Nucleosynthesis in Core-collapse Supernovae and Neutron-star Mergers. After the lunch break, Stefan Schippers (Representative of Work Area 4) introduced the attendees to Electromagnetic Signals from Compact Stars before ECRs took the stage again. Last but not least, invited speaker Andrey Surzhykov (TU Braunschweig) elaborated on Quantum electrodynamics in strong fields.
At the end of the conference, Dr. Liliana Cortes (TU Darmstadt), Leonard Isberner (JLU Gießen) and Nils Saß (Goethe University) were awarded with ECR Awards for Best Postdoc Talk, Best Poster and Best PhD Talk, respectively. Everyone was invited to celebrate a successful first ELEMENTS conference over dinner. Special thanks go to our local organising committee!