Helmholtz Alliance 'Cosmic Matter in the Laboratory'

The Alliance Program of the Helmholtz Association

In the framework of the Alliance Program the Helmholtz Association offers financial and material resources to give their participating scientists and researchers opportunities to investigate new topics and to innovatively advance research topics of current interest. The alliances aim to strategically enhance the profiles of the participating Helmholtz Centres and to transfer successful developments into one of the Helmholtz Association's research programs. The research performed within the Helmholtz Alliances is collaborative and brings universities, Helmholtz Centres and other non-university research institutions together. Foreign research partners and companies can also be integrated into these alliances. Each Helmholtz Alliance has its own management structure and specifically develops measures to promote young researchers and to implement equal opportunity. The alliance's budget is jointly financed by the Helmholtz President's Initiative and Networking Fund and the participating Helmholtz Centres and their partners.

The Helmholtz Alliance 'Cosmic Matter in the Laboratory'

In November 2007 the senate of the Helmholtz Association decided to fund the Helmholtz Alliance "Extremes of Density and Temperature: Cosmic Matter in the Laboratory". The funding contribution from the Helmholtz Association amounts to 18.745 Mio. Euro for a funding period of 6 years. The Alliance started in April 2008.

The scientific aim of the Alliance is to perform forefront research in the area of matter under extreme conditions. This comprises in particular four key areas of the research field "Structure of Matter" of the Helmholtz Association:

  • properties of the quark-gluon plasma and the phase structure of strongly interacting matter
  • structure and dynamics of dense neutron matter
  • electromagnetic plasmas of high energy density
  • ultra-cold quantum gases and extreme states in atomic physics.

The relevant science themes range from the quark-gluon plasma as it existed shortly after the Big Bang, to hot and highly compressed classical bulk plasmas, and to the astrophysically relevant dense medium of nucleons and neutrons that governs the properties of the evolution of supernovae and neutron stars. The key idea is to conduct this research in a really interdisciplinary framework, based upon common underlying concepts for the theoretical and phenomenological understanding of the physical phenomena in the four areas.

Under the lead management of the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research the Alliance links 13 German and international research centers and universities as partner institutions.

In addition, the Alliance benefits from the expertise of internationally renowned scientist who are closely linked to it as Associated Partners for the four research fields. Currently, the Alliance has 30 Associated Partners, among them two Nobel laureates.

An important part of the strategic positioning of the Helmholtz Alliance "Cosmic matter in the Laboratory" is to establish a new, world-leading institute for research on matter at the extremes of density and Temperature: the ExtreMe Matter Institute EMMI hosted by GSI.