50 years GSI, five decades of cutting-edge research: anniversary of foundation date


The GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung is celebrating 50 years of existence this year – five decades of research history with outstanding scientific successes and discoveries. During this time, GSI has developed from a national research institute with worldwide collaborations into an international campus with global relevance. Now, it is the 50th anniversary of the founding day of GSI, 17 December 1969.

It was a historic day, that Wednesday 50 years ago, when Federal Science Minister Hans Leussink and Hessian Minister President Albert Osswald signed the decisive contract for the founding of GSI in Bonn. The federal government and the state of Hesse agreed to jointly build and operate a heavy ion accelerator in Darmstadt: the beginning of the Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung.

GSI has been carrying out cutting-edge research for 50 years now, and the FAIR project is currently shaping the future. With the future accelerator center FAIR, the international dimensions of research will be significantly expanded once more. People from all over the world will be able to conduct world class research on the Darmstadt campus for decades and to explore the universe in the laboratory. Many activities in the anniversary year therefore span from history to the future. For the anniversary day, there is the opportunity to travel back in time by photo slider on the GSI and FAIR homepage: an interactive past-today-show in which the images virtually overlap and thereby illustrate how things used to look like on campus in the past and how they look like today. The results provide exciting insights, for example into the linear accelerator, the control room or the experimental halls.

An even more detailed tour through half a century is offered by the digital GSI timeline where highlights of the GSI history are presented. Users can click their way through 50 years of GSI, and take a look into the future of FAIR. The great scientific achievements such as the discovery of six new chemical elements or the development of a new type of tumor therapy using ion beams can be found as well as the most important milestones for FAIR, from the international agreement for the worldwide unique project to the completion of the first shell constructions for the large FAIR ring accelerator.

The successes of GSI in these 50 years are based on the knowledge, passion and creativity of its staff members. Many of them have taken an active part in the anniversary year events, e.g. they chose their favorite photo in the campaign "50 years, 50 pictures" or sent their very personal memories of their time at GSI as short stories. The most interesting anecdotes and the favorite photographic moments can currently be seen in a public exhibition on campus.

To round off the diverse anniversary activities, next spring there will be a festive event for the employees and the scientific community, where representatives from politics, universities and partners from international scientific collaborations will also participate. (BP)

More information

An overview of the information offers, activities and special editions around the anniversary can be found here.