Prize winners 2014
The European Physical Society, through its Nuclear Physics Division, has awarded the Lise Meitner Prize 2014 jointly to Prof. Johanna Stachel (Physikalisches Institut der Universität Heidelberg, Germany), Prof. Peter Braun-Munzinger (GSI, Germany), Dr. Paolo Giubellino (INFN Torino, Italy and CERN, Switzerland) and to Dr. Jürgen Schukraft (CERN, Switzerland). The prize is given every two years for outstanding work in the fields of experimental, theoretical or applied nuclear science.
The prize was awarded "for their outstanding contributions to the experimental exploration of the quark-gluon plasma using ultra-relativistic nucleus-nucleus collisions, in particular to the design and construction of ALICE and shaping its physics program and scientific results bringing to light unique and unexpected features of a deconfined state of strongly-interacting matter at the highest temperatures ever produced in the laboratory."
The Quark-Gluon Plasma (QGP) is the state of deconfined and thermalized QCD matter at high temperature. It is a fundamentally new state of matter that permeated the early universe after the electro-weak phase transition, i.e. from picoseconds to about ten microseconds after the Big Bang. The unambiguous proof of its existence and the precise determination of its properties including critical temperature, degrees of freedom, speed of sound, and, in general, transport coefficients, advances our understanding of QCD as a genuine multi-particle theory. In addition, complex issues such as deconfinement and chiral symmetry restoration are closely related. This field uniquely bridges nuclear and particle physics with connections to astrophysics and cosmology. Nucleus-nucleus collisions at high energies offer the only way to create matter under extreme conditions of energy density, pressure and temperature in the laboratory.
The aim of ALICE as one of the large-scale experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN is the investigation of such a state of matter. The first period of LHC data taking has just been completed bringing to light unique and unexpected features of a deconfined state of strongly interacting matter at the highest temperatures ever produced in the laboratory. Striking highlights of results from ALICE include the bulk production of charmonium exhibiting novel mechanisms of hadronization; jet-quenching, with an unexpected momentum dependence of the production of identified particles at high momentum; substantial heavy-quark energy loss, as seen via the topological reconstruction of charmed D mesons; and the production of antimatter and antihypernuclei. Also the field of lattice QCD has strongly benefitted from these new and exciting results.
Johanna Stachel, Peter Braun-Munzinger, Paolo Giubellino and Jürgen Schukraft have made outstanding contributions to the development of this field, in particular to the design and construction of ALICE and shaping its physics program and scientific results.
Prize winners previous years
2012 Karlheinz Langanke, GSI and TU Darmstadt and Professor Friedrich-Karl Thielemann, University of Basel
for "their seminal contributions to the description of nuclear processes in astrophysical environments that have changed our modern understanding of stellar evolution, supernovae explosions and nucleosynthesis."
2010 Juha Äystö, Department of Physics, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
for "Accurate determination of fundamental nuclear properties by the invention of innovative methods of ion guidance and its applications to radioactive ion beams". Most of the work, and the development of the ion guide method in particular, have been performed at the cyclotron laboratories in Jyväskylä at both the old and the new Physics Departments.
2008 Reinhard Stock and Walter Greiner, Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität and FIAS, Frankfurt
Reinhard Stock for his outstanding contributions to the development of the field of relativistic nucleus-nucleus collisions by initiating research through the innovative use of high-energy accelerators (BEVALAC at LBL, SPS at CERN) which indicated the existence of a new form of matter.
Walter Greiner for his outstanding contributions to the development of the field of relativistic nucleus-nucleus collisions by pioneering the ideas of shock waves and collective flow in nuclear matter, thus inspiring experimental studies of nuclear matter at extreme conditions of density and temperature.
2006 Heinz-Jürgen Kluge and David Brink
Heinz-Jürgen Kluge, Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung, Darmstadt
for his key contributions to our knowledge of the masses, sizes, shapes and spins of nuclei through a number of decisive, sophisticated and brilliant experiments which combine atomic and nuclear physics techniques.
David Brink, Department of Physics, Oxford, United Kingdom
for his many contributions to the theory of nuclear structure and nuclear reactions over several decades, including his seminal work on the theory of nuclear masses using Skyrme effective interactions, nuclear giant resonances, clustering in nuclei and quantum and semi-classical theories of heavy-ion scattering and reactions.
2004 Bent Herskind, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark and Peter Twin, Department of Physics, The University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
The Prize is awarded for their pioneering development of experimental tools, methods of analysis and experimental discoveries concerning rapidly spinning nuclei, in particular the discovery of superdeformed bands in wide regions of the periodic table.
2002 James Philip Elliot, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK and Francesco Iachello, Yale University, New Haven, USA
The Prize is awarded for their innovative applications of group
theoretical methods to the understanding of atomic nuclei.
2000 Peter Armbruster, GSI, Darmstadt, Gottfried Muenzenberg, GSI, Darmstadt and Yuri Ts. Oganessian, Flerov Laboratory, Dubna
The prize is awarded for their unique work over a long period on the synthesis of heavy elements, which has led to the discovery of the new elements in the region of nuclear charges of Z=102 to 105 (Dubnium), as well as Bohrium (Z=107), Hassium (Z=108) and Meitnerium (Z=109). These discoveries involved extensive developments of experimental techniques, and the use of a specific reaction mechanism, the "cold" fusion of two heavy nuclei. Measurements of the properties of these heavy elements provide an important cornerstone of the concept of deformed shells in nuclei, whose existence is responsible for the increased stability of the new nuclei. Because of this work the study of the properties of very heavy elements (Z=108-118) is a very active field in nuclear science.
Prof. Peter Braun-Munzinger
Dr. Paolo Giubellino
Prof. Johanna Stachel and
Dr. Jürgen Schukraft