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Hannah Petersen receives Heinz Maier-Leibnitz-Award

Photo: U. Dettmar

Professor Hannah Petersen



This year’s recipients of the most  important award for young scientists in Germany have been chosen. In total 134 scientists from all scientific fields had been proposed for the award, of which 15 were shortlisted. Now the choosing committee installed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Federal Ministry for Eduation and Research (BMBF) decided in favour of five female and five male scientists to win the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz-Award 2016. The award is endowed with 20,000 Euro and will be handed over on 18 Mai 2016 in Bonn. One of the awardees is professor Hannah Petersen, who is head of a Helmholtz Young Investigators Group at GSI since 2012 and a W2-professor at the Goethe-University in Frankfurt since 2013.

In the field of relativistic heavy ion collisions Petersen works on new theoretical models of the so-called “little bang”. In heavy ion collisions a quark-gluon plasma with extremely high pressure is generated, leading to an explosive expansion. Inside conditions similar to those of the Big Bang are present. Petersen identified and examined as one of the first, that and how the course of this explosion is influenced by fluctuations in density and temperature due to quantum effects. By comparison of theory and experimental data Petersen developed a oft-quoted hybrid model, that describes the dynamics of the plasma and its viscosity in dependency of the initial state of the quantum fluctuation. With her “event-by-event” method of analysis she delivered new foundations for experimental measurements e.g. at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (Brookhaven, USA) and at the future Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (Darmstadt).

As a recognition and an incentive to pursue their scientific career straight-lined, the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz-Award is given to outstanding young scientists since 1977. Named after the atomic physicist and former DFG president – in whose term of office it was awarded for the first time – the award is not only the most important of its kind for young scientists in Germany. In a poll by the magazine “bild der wissenschaft” it was also voted the third most important scientific award in Germany in total – following the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Award of the DFG and the Zukunftspreis of the Federal President.

Further recipients are:
  • Aline Bozec, Rheumatologie, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen
  • Tobias Erb, Mikrobiologie, Max-Planck-Institut für terrestrische Mikrobiologie, Marburg
  • Daniel Gutzmann, Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaften, Universität Frankfurt/Main
  • Markus Krötzsch, Informatik / Wissensrepräsentation, Technische Universität Dresden
  • Christoph Lundgreen, Alte Geschichte, Technische Universität Dresden
  • Isabell Otto, Medienwissenschaft, Universität Konstanz
  • Ludovic Righetti, Robotik, Max-Planck-Institute für Intelligente Systeme, Tübingen
  • Tatjana Tchumatchenko, Theoretische Neurowissenschaften, Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung, Frankfurt/Main
  • Celine Teney, Empirische Sozialforschung, Universität Bremen
Further information:

Press release of the DFG (German)

Professor Hannah Petersen
Photo: U. Dettmar