Dr. Uta Bilow and Prof. Kai Zuber from TU Dresden honored by the European Physical Society
The European Physical Society (EPS) today announced this year’s winners of the High Energy and Particle Physics Division Prizes. With Dr. Uta Bilow and Prof. Kai Zuber, there are two people from the Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics at the Technische Universität Dresden who can look forward to one of these prestigious awards.
Dr. Uta Bilow, group leader at the Institute for Nuclear and Particle Physics (IKTP) at TU Dresden, receives the Outreach Prize together with former Dresden Fellow Ken Cecire for their long-term coordination and extensive expansion of the International Particle Physics Masterclasses. With the Outreach Prize, the EPS honors outstanding achievements in outreach, including education and the promotion of diversity, in connection with High Energy Physics and/or Particle Astrophysics.
Since 2008, Dr. Uta Bilow has coordinated the successful outreach program of the International Particle Physics Masterclasses with Ken Cecire (University of Notre Dame, USA). In the beginning, about 85 universities and research institutions in 21 countries participated. Now there are more than 220 research institutions in 60 countries worldwide.
Every year in March and April, young people have the opportunity to immerse themselves in current physics research for a day. Together with scientists, they analyze data from large-scale experiments conducted at CERN in Geneva or at Fermilab in the USA. This gives the young people an impression of modern research and enables them to understand how scientific findings are made. On the one hand, the program conveys an authentic picture of modern physics research and thus contributes to study and career orientation. On the other hand, active participation in basic research can help to strengthen young people’s confidence in science.
„The EPS Outreach Prize once again brings science communication into focus as an integral part of research. For me, the prize is an incentive to further expand the program. Important goals are to promote the International Particle Physics Masterclasses in more countries – there is still great potential in Africa and Asia, for example. We also want to keep our finger on the pulse of research, i.e. make current data from experiments available and include new discoveries – such as the Higgs particle in 2012,“ says Uta Bilow about her award.
This year’s Giuseppe and Vanna Cocconi Prize goes to the Borexino collaboration, which also involves Prof. Kai Zuber and his team members Dr. Mikko Meyer and Jan Thurn from the IKTP. The international team receives the prize for “their ground-breaking observation of solar neutrinos from the pp and CNO chains that provided unique and comprehensive tests of the Sun as a nuclear fusion engine.” The Cocconi Prize is awarded by the EPS to recognize an outstanding contribution to Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology in the last fifteen years, in an experimental, theoretical or technological area.
With the experimental detection of solar neutrinos from the so-called CNO cycle, the Borexino collaboration achieved a milestone in neutrino research last year. More than 80 years ago, the cycle was theoretically predicted by the physicists Hans Bethe and Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, but it had not been experimentally confirmed so far. For Prof. Kai Zuber and his collaborators involved in Borexino, the EPS award is a great recognition for the complex work of the collaboration: „Compared to all previous and ongoing solar neutrino experiments, Borexino is the first and only experiment worldwide that is able to measure these different components individually and in real time. However, the evaluation of the measured data is extremely complex and borders on searching for a needle in a haystack. All the greater is the joy of success at the end,“ comments Kai Zuber.
About the EPS High Energy Particle Physics Prizes
Every two years, the European Physical Society awards five prizes in the field of High Energy and Particle Physics. In addition to the Giuseppe and Vanna Cocconi and the Outreach Prize, there is also the High Energy and Particle Physics Prize, the Young Experimental Physicist Prize and the Gribov Medal.
This year’s award ceremony will take place online on July 27, 2021, during the European Physical Society Conference on High Energy and Particle Physics.
Dr. Uta Bilow
Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics