Flerov Award for GSI scientists
The GSI scientists Professor Heinz-Jürgen Kluge and Dr. Michael Block received the Flerov Award 2013. The Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (Russia) rewards them and two other scientists for their „high-precision spectroscopy based on the Penning traps“.
Penning traps are very precise scales that can be used to weigh rare particles with a high accuracy. The foundations for this method were laid by GSI scientist Professor Heinz-Jürgen Kluge. Michael Block works with Penning traps on a regular basis. He just weighed superheavy nuclei with the magical neutron number N=152 for the first time. With this method he and his team could measure the binding energies that result from special shell effects. Professor Klaus Blaum from the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg and Professor Yuri Novikov from Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute made further developments with the Penning trap for other experiments and therefore were also awarded with the Flerov prize.
In a Penning trap it is possible to store a single ion by overlapping electric and magnetic fields. Inside the trap the ion moves in a circle with a characteristic cyclotron frequency. By measuring this frequency it is possible to determine the ion's mass with high precision, as long as state of charge and magnetizing force are known. Based on Einstein’s principal of mass-energy equivalence scientists can predict nuclear binding energies which are crucial for the existence of the heaviest elements.
The award will be given to the four winners in Dubna, Russia on 24 May 2013. Every two to three years the prize is awarded in memory of the physicist Georgy Nikolaevich Flerov, who significantly contributed to the synthesis of new superheavy elements and after whom the 114th chemical element was named Flerovium. This year the winners were announced on the occasion of Flerov’s 100th birthday anniversary in March.