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We are made of stardust - GSI scientist receives EU grant of two million euro

GSI scientist receives EU grant of two million euro

Photo: Gaby Otto/GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung

GSI-Scientist Yuri Litvinov



He is supposed to investigate how elements are created in stars: For researching the stellar element synthesis GSI scientist Yuri Litvinov receives two million euro of the European Research Council (ERC). With the „ERC Consolidator Grant“ he will finance a team of six scientists. Together they will perform experiments at the accelerator facility of GSI within the next five years to decode how the building blocks of life are created.

Yuri Litvinov could convince the ERC evaluation panel with his research proposal and succeded despite 2050 other applicants. The proposal is about the physics of stars in which the elements of the periodic table are created. Of special interest are exotic atomic nuclei which occur as intermediate elements but do not exist naturally anywhere on Earth and have to be created artificially with an accelerator. 

To produce and store exotic nuclei, Litvinov needs a facility like the one existing at GSI. With the help of the accelerator facility they can be produced and subsequently be injected into the experimental storage ring (ESR) where they can be investigated. The ESR, which has a circumference of 108 meters, will be supplemented by the storage ring „cryring“ with a circumference of 54 meters. The cryring is currently being installed in the GSI halls. It was delivered from Sweden and will later be part of the future accelerator facility of FAIR.

Litvinov wants to measure the exotic nuclei which will be stored in the rings with high accuracy: the masses and their lifetimes as well as their decay paths are important to understand their role in the stellar element synthesis. Therefore the physicist plans the development of new sensitive detectors. 

Litvinov’s experiments will pave the way for future experiments at the accelerator facility FAIR. At FAIR scientists will be able to produce hundreds of exotic nuclei, which are not accessible with today’s methods.

Litvinov studied physics in St. Petersburg and is a GSI researcher since 1999. In 2003 he completed his PhD at the university of Gießen and passed with distinction (doctoral supervisor Prof. Hans Geissel). Starting in 2009 he spent two years at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg and habilitated at the University of Heidelberg in 2011. Since then Litvinov is actively involved in the GSI department APPA/SPARC managed by Prof. Thomas Stöhlker. Among other tasks at GSI he is coordinator of the ESR experiments and head of the SPARC detector department within the FAIR project since 2012. 

GSI-Scientist Yuri Litvinov
GSI scientist Yuri Litvinov receives EU grant of two million euro
Photo: Gaby Otto/GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung