Experimental physicist Heinz-Jürgen Kluge receives prestigious DPG award


Professor Heinz-Jürgen Kluge has been awarded the renowned Robert Wichard-Pohl Prize 2020. The German Physical Society (DPG) recently announced this at the DPG Day. The former head of the atomic physics division of the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung and research director will receive the award in March 2020 during the DPG annual conference in Bonn.

The Robert Wichard-Pohl Prize is awarded for “outstanding contributions to physics that have a special impact on other disciplines in science and technology as well as for outstanding achievements in the dissemination of scientific knowledge in teaching, instruction and didactics of physics”. In its explanatory statement, the DPG emphasized Jürgen Kluges “groundbreaking experiments and precision measurements in the field of atomic and nuclear physics”. "He not only proved himself to be a brilliant researcher, but also a motivating teacher. His creative societal commitment has also been reflected in the establishment of symposia for students."

Jürgen Kluge studied physics at the University of Bonn and the University of Heidelberg, where he received his doctorate in 1970. As postdoc, he worked at the European Nuclear Research Center CERN, where he used optical spectroscopy to investigate the characteristics of short-lived low-neutron mercury isotopes at the on-line isotope separator ISOLDE. In 1972 he became an assistant in experimental physics at the University of Mainz, where he was habilitated in 1975. He was appointed Professor of Physics at the Universities of Mainz (1978) and Heidelberg (1994).

Since the 1980s, Jürgen Kluge has been closely connected to GSI, from 1989 to 1992 as vice-chairman of the program committee, as an experimenter using the linear accelerator UNICAL, since 1994 as head of the atomic physics division and from 1999 to 2005 as research director of GSI. At CERN from 1983 to 1984 he was spokesman of the ISOLDE collaboration and from 1985 to 1987 head of the ISOLDE physics group as well as from 1984 to 1987 and from 2000 to 2004 member of the program committee PSCC respective INTC.

With his scientific work, Jürgen Kluge has achieved outstanding results in the field of optical spectroscopy and mass spectroscopy. He is regarded a pioneer in the development of high-resolution Penning traps for mass spectrometry of unstable nuclei at accelerators and developed new techniques for storing, cooling and studying radionuclides and highly charged ions. Together with his students from the University of Mainz he built the ISOLTRAP experiment at ISOLDE in 1985, which pioneered similar facilities at Argonne National Laboratory, USA, National Superconducting Laboratory, USA, TRIUMF, Canada, in Jyväslylä, Finland, and also TRIGATRAP at the reactor in Mainz and SHIPTRAP at GSI, which allows spectroscopy on the heaviest elements and which he proposed in 1988. In 1994, he initiated an innovative trap experiment at the University of Mainz to measure the magnetic moment of the electron of a single stored hydrogen-like 12C-Ion. This led to a more precise determination of the electron mass and to the proposal to build HITRAP behind the storage ring ESR at GSI. With this unique experimental facility for highly precise experiments on highly charged ions up to U91+, measurements for testing quantum electrodynamics in extremely strong electromagnetic fields are to be carried out.

For his outstanding research work, the experimental atomic and nuclear physicist already received numerous awards, namely 1990 the Helmholtz Prize for his work on trace analysis with lasers, 2005 he became a fellow of the American Physical Society, 2006 he was awarded the Lise-Meitner Prize of the European Physical Society, 2008 the IUPAP Senior Scientist Medal in Fundamental Metrology and 2013 the G.N. Flerov Prize. (BP)