Pfeiffer Vacuum welcomes this year's Röntgen Award winner, Dr. Lars von der Wense

12 December 2018

The Justus Liebig University Giessen (JLU) is awarding the Röntgen Prize this year to Dr. Lars von der Wense. The award winner is a research associate at the Faculty of Physics at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. He is receiving the award for his outstanding contributions in the field of nuclear physics.

In the context of his dissertation, Dr. von der Wense has succeeded in directly detecting the thorium isomer Thorium-229m, which has been intensively searched for over 40 years. Dr. von der Wense laid the foundation for the future development of a nuclear clock. The isomer is characterised by the smallest known excitation energy of all atomic nuclei. A nuclear clock would use the low transition from Thorium-229m to the basic state as the clock. In contrast to optical atomic clocks, which use transitions in the atomic shell, a nuclear clock would allow much more accurate time measurement. The reason for this is that atomic nuclei are much less susceptible than the atomic shell to external disturbances such as electric and magnetic fields in the environment. A nuclear clock could even be used to investigate whether certain natural constants are actually constant or change minimally over time. A nuclear clock could be built relatively compactly and could then, for example, be sent into space in a satellite for the next-generation GPS navigator system.

Dr. Lars von der Wense received dissertation awards for his work from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich and the German Physics Society (DPG).

“Many research institutions have been Pfeiffer Vacuum's partners for decades. Our vacuum solutions are also being used successfully in the Faculty of Physics at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, and we are pleased that Dr. von der Wense was able to confirm his theoretical assumptions there,” said Dr. Ulrich von Hülsen, member of the Management Board of Pfeiffer Vacuum Technology AG, honoring the award winner.

The Röntgen Prize is awarded annually at an academic award ceremony at the Justus Liebig University for outstanding work on basic research into radiation physics and radiation biology. The award is named in memory of Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, who was a professor in Giessen from 1879 to 1888. The award primarily distinguishes the work of young scientists. The €15,000 prize is donated by Pfeiffer Vacuum and the Dr. Erich Pfeiffer Foundation and the Ludwig Schunk Foundation. On November 29, one day before the award ceremony at JLU, Dr. Lars von der Wense visited Pfeiffer Vacuum and reported on his research findings.

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