Successful High-Energy-Density Physics with laser and ion beams Workshop, “PHEDM-Hirschegg”, in online format


About 220 experts from all over the world participated in the "PHEDM-Hirschegg Workshop 2021": With the new meeting format as an online event, the organizers were able to make accessible the five-day meeting to a large number of participants and at the same time take the corona situation into account.

For the last 40 years, the workshop on High-Energy-Density Physics with laser and ion beams has taken place as an annual event at the Darmstädter Haus of the Technical University Darmstadt in Hirschegg, Austria, where the number of participants is limited to 90. It provides an international forum to discuss high energy density physics including fundamental science, intense laser and particle beams interaction with matter and inertial confinement fusion. Many of the participants are active members of the HED@FAIR collaboration, one of the collaborations responsible for the implementation of the experimental program at the FAIR facility.

In total, this year's event included 56 talks, two poster sessions with 15 posters each, and two tutorial sessions for students, a format that was newly introduced this year. The workshop gathered participants spanning over 19 time zones, from New South Wales in Australia to California. This was made possible not only through the live streaming of the contributions but also via recording and swift availability of these through GSI’s server. At peak times, more than 120 participants were online together, and some of the researchers were connected directly from the GSI/FAIR campus in compliance with Corona rules.

FAIR has been at the forefront of preoccupations of the community gathering at the workshop for many years. As such, the presentation by the Scientific Managing Director of GSI and FAIR, Paolo Giubellino on the status of the project was highly expected and the news on the recent progress were very well received. Academician Vladimir Fortov, after his tragic death in 2020,  one of the fathers of plasma physics at GSI and high-energy density research at FAIR was celebrated by many speakers, in memory of his work and engagement for science.

Current topics this year included the properties of high-energy dense matter created by intense ion beams and lasers, beam-plasma interactions, diagnostic methods for high-energy density matter, and accelerator issues of intense beams. New and upcoming high energy density (HED) facilities were also a topic.

The four Poster Awards for young scientists were presented on the last day of the event. This year, the awards were given to students from Germany, India and Russia. Professor Paolo Giubellino on this occasion emphasized the significance of junior staff development: "It is important to promote young, international talents at an early stage in order to attract the scientists of the future and offer them opportunities to develop their talent. Today's students are tomorrow's researchers, who will also work in the field of high-energy density physics. For science and also for research at the future FAIR accelerator facility, it is existential to attract and motivate the best minds." (BP)