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Reaching for the stars – with success; GSI-physicist Almudena Arcones receives € 1.5 million grant from the EU

Die GSI-Physikerin Almudena Arcones erhält EU-Förderung über 1,5 Millionen Euro

G. Otto, GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung

Almudena Arcones



Almudena Arcones, Head of a Helmholtz Young Investigator group at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research and junior professor at the TU Darmstadt, is to receive a € 1.5 million grant from the European Research Council for the next five years. The “European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant” will enable her to compile a team that will carry out new calculations on the creation of the elements in stars. In the competitive selection process, Arcones was one of a group of 300 entrants who were filtered out from the original total of just under 3000.

Almudena Arcones wants her team to decode the creation of the heaviest elements such as gold and platinum in the universe. Heavy elements like the ones we find on Earth today occur, for instance, in stellar explosions, known as supernovae, or when neutron stars collide. Under these extreme conditions, heavy elements can be created by core reaction paths. Thousands of unstable, largely unknown isotopes occur as intermediate elements.

The physicist and her team want to simulate astrophysical conditions and the reaction processes in detail in order to understand why the individual elements occur precisely in the observed quantities. The future FAIR acceleration system will allow them to examine the physics of the heavy cores experimentally.

“Her simulations of element synthesis are helping to advance our research, and strengthen the collaboration between the GSI and the TU Darmstadt. The theoretical work will also be of tremendous benefit in advancing our experimental research at the GSI and at the future acceleration centre FAIR,” Bengt Friman, head of the Theory department at GSI, is delighted to announce.

Almudena Arcones
Almudena Arcones, Head of a Helmholtz Young Investigator group at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research.
G. Otto, GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung