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FAIR goes down under: Scientists on all continents are involved in the FAIR research program

Photo: Dr. Georgi Georgiev, CSNSM Orsay, Frankreich

At the experiment

Photo: Department of Nuclear Physics, ANU

Andrew Stuchbery



The global network for FAIR continues to expand. With the inclusion of Australia, all of the world’s continents are now involved in the research program at the future accelerator center FAIR. Scientists from the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra will play a leading role in a new international partnership at NUSTAR, one of the four key experiment programs at FAIR.

This participation is Australia’s first contribution to the research at FAIR and demonstrates the science program’s global appeal for a world-spanning community of researchers. NUSTAR is the world’s largest research partnership in the field of nuclear physics. With the inclusion of Australia, 39 countries are now involved in the program, whose approximately 850 members work at more than 180 institutes all over the globe. Other than Antarctica, all of the world’s continents are represented in the partnership.

“FAIR will be a magnet for around 3,000 guest researchers in the future and it’s already a coveted partner for international partnerships, as the involvement of ANU shows. The Australian team will find unparalleled research opportunities at the FAIR accelerator center, but will also contribute its unique expertise and increase the NUSTAR project’s discovery potential,”says Karlheinz Langanke, Scientific Managing Director of the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt, where currently the FAIR accelerator facility is being built.

The NUSTAR program aims to transport a piece of outer space into the lab and solve the mysteries of the creation of the elements in their “birthplaces”: massive stellar explosions. For example, the NUSTAR scientists want to determine the properties of rare and highly unstable nuclides that contain large numbers of neutrons. Such nuclides are created inside supernovae.

NUSTAR encompasses a very broad research program, involving plans for more than 60 individual work packages. The participation of the Australian team now rounds out this main subject of NUSTAR and marks an important step in the overall planning of research at FAIR. In the next step, the team headed by Professor Andrew Stuchbery will get organized, specify its research objectives, and precisely define the instruments it needs. Stuchbery, who is the Head of the Department of Nuclear Physics at the Australian National University, is already looking forward to the opportunities he’ll find in Darmstadt. “FAIR will be one of the most attractive research facilities in the world,” he says. “It will be very exciting for us to perform experiments there. We can already start preparations to get detailed information about the structure and characteristics of exotic nuclei by g-factor measurments.”

“We’re delighted that our Australian colleagues are participating in FAIR. Their expertise will be of great benefit for the NUSTAR experimental program. It also emphasizes the global significance of the NUSTAR research program at FAIR,” says Björn Jonson from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenberg, who serves as the spokesperson of the international NUSTAR Collaboration and is a former chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee. Jürgen Gerl, the coordinator of the NUSTAR project at GSI, is also delighted about the new partnership. “The individual experiments supplement one another, so that we can study the structure and forces that hold nuclides together from all angles,” he says. “We are very happy to have the Australian colleagues onboard.”

Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR)

FAIR will be one of the largest and most complex accelerator facilities in the world. The centrepiece of the facility is a ring accelerator with a circumference of 1,100 metres. Engineers and scientists are working in international partnership to advance new technological developments in a number of areas – such as information technology and superconductor technology. Around 3,000 scientists from all over the world will be able to conduct top-level research at FAIR. Their outstanding experiments will generate new fundamental insights into the structure of matter and the evolution of the universe.

At the experiment
Andrew Stuchbery
Professor Andrew Stuchbery is the head of the nuclear physics department at the Australian National University. He says: "FAIR will be one of the most attractive research facilities in the world."
Professor Andrew Stuchbery is the head of the nuclear physics department at the Australian National University.
Photo: Dr. Georgi Georgiev, CSNSM Orsay, Frankreich
Photo: Department of Nuclear Physics, ANU