Wide range: Research papers from GSI/FAIR published in "Nature Reviews”


Two important research contributions from GSI and FAIR have been prominently published side by side in the world-renowned online journal "Nature Reviews". Both topics represent special GSI and FAIR research competence at the highest international level: The "Perspective" section deals with "New directions in hypernuclear physics", while the "Review Article" section focuses on "Physics and biomedical challenges of cancer therapy with accelerated heavy ions".

"The closeness of the publication of the two contents exemplifies the extraordinarily broad thematic spectrum of cutting-edge research at GSI and FAIR, from basic research to applied research. I am very pleased about the outstanding and broad-based science on our research campus," says the Scientific Managing Director of GSI and FAIR, Professor Paolo Giubellino.

Medical research is the subject of the article by Professor Marco Durante, Head of the GSI Biophysics Department , which he published together with two renowned radiation oncologists: Professor Jürgen Debus, Scientific Medical Director of the Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Center (HIT) and Medical Director of the Clinic for Radio Oncology and Radiotherapy at the University of  Heidelberg, and Professor Jay Stephen Loeffler, chair of Radiation Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

The article describes the state-of-the-art of heavy ion radiotherapy that GSI first started in Europe. Clinical results from Japan and Germany are promising, but R&D in accelerators and beam delivery is necessary to make the machines smaller and cheaper and to exploit new, fascinating treatment modalities such as FLASH and radioactive ion beams for image-guided therapy. Durante and co-workers suggest that, rather than a “silver bullet”, combination of light and heavy ions can provide optimal biological effects, and underline the necessity of more pre-clinical research in these fields.

The article by Professor Takehiko R. Saito, leading scientist in the GSI/FAIR research pillar NUSTAR, which he published as first author together with several research colleagues, is about basic research. From GSI/FAIR, Vasyl Drozd, Dr. Shizu Minami and Professor Christoph Scheidenberger were involved.

The researchers are directing the attention to hypernuclei; these are nuclei that, in addition to protons and neutrons, contain a further nuclear building block with a so-called strange quark. The investigations of such hypernuclei by means of energetic heavy ion collisions have revealed some surprises in the case of the light hypernuclei with only a few protons or neutrons and a Λ-hyperon - the latter containing the strange quark - e.g. the unexpected existence of a bound state of two neutrons with such a Λ-hyperon. “Solving these puzzles will not only impact our understanding of the fundamental baryonic interactions with strange quarks but also of the nature of the deep interior of neutron stars. We summarize ongoing projects and experiments at various facilities worldwide and outline future perspectives,” the authors explain. (BP)

Further information

Publication "Physics and biomedial challenges of cancer therapy with accelerated heavy ions" in Nature Reviews Physics

Publication "New directions in hypernuclear pysics" in Nature Reviews Physics