Precision measurements lead to breakthroughs: HZB is planning the construction of a new accelerator-based light source

At the event, the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, emphasised the role of research in solving social problems. The HZB holds a top position in Berlin, he said.

At the event, the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, emphasised the role of research in solving social problems. The HZB holds a top position in Berlin, he said. © HZB / M. Setzpfandt

A conversation between Anna and Hermann von Hemholtz took the audience back to the time of the social salons. The performance by the Portraittheater Wien closely followed the original sources (such as letters).

A conversation between Anna and Hermann von Hemholtz took the audience back to the time of the social salons. The performance by the Portraittheater Wien closely followed the original sources (such as letters).

From left to right: Jan Lüning (Managing Director HZB), Otmar D. Wiestler (Helmholtz President), Joachim Ullrich (President of PTB) discussed the necessity of "discovery machines" for research. Moderation: Ina Helms (l.)

From left to right: Jan Lüning (Managing Director HZB), Otmar D. Wiestler (Helmholtz President), Joachim Ullrich (President of PTB) discussed the necessity of "discovery machines" for research. Moderation: Ina Helms (l.)

In her keynote speech, Angela Bittner-Fesseler highlighted Helmholtz's outstanding role as a communicator and networker. He still sets an example today.

In her keynote speech, Angela Bittner-Fesseler highlighted Helmholtz's outstanding role as a communicator and networker. He still sets an example today.

For the 200th birthday of Hermann von Helmholtz, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) is celebrating by hosting a festive event in Berlin-Adlershof. The polymath Helmholtz still inspires researchers to this day, now notably in the planning of an accelerator-based light source of the latest generation, which HZB is presenting at the event. It will generate light of special quality for research. Governing Mayor Michael Müller has stressed the importance of a new light source for the research location Berlin.

Hermann von Helmholtz was born in Potsdam, Germany, on 31 August 1821. With a festive event on 30 August 2021, HZB is honouring Helmholtz’s accomplishments in the presence of Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller. HZB has invited the president of the Helmholtz Association, Prof. Dr. Otmar D. Wiestler, and the president of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Prof. Dr. Joachim H. Ullrich, to be guests for the panel discussions.

Helmholtz was one of the most important natural scientists of the 19th century, and a proponent of applied research. He was keenly aware that progress in research can be driven forward by increasing accuracy in measurements and experiments. As a co-founder of the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt (predecessor institute to PTB), Helmholtz paved the way for precision measurements that eventually led to the observation of quantum mechanical effects. His visionary approach still shapes HZB research to this day: scientists are discovering and developing new materials and technologies that are helping to achieve the transition to a climate-neutral economy.

Governing Mayor of Berlin and Senator for Science and Research Michael Müller emphasises:

“HZB is one of the leading institutions for energy and materials research, and is an important component in the innovation location Berlin. In the spirit of its namesake, Hermann von Helmholtz, whose 200th birthday we are celebrating this year, it conducts excellent scientific research and thus also drives the positive development of our city. With its internationally recognised research, HZB is a central partner for developing solutions for the energy transition. It delights me that the HZB researchers are laying the necessary foundations for their indispensable research with their plans for the new electron storage ring BESSY III."

 “The legacy of Helmholtz obliges us to think with scientific foresight and vision,” says the spokesperson for HZB management, Prof. Jan Lüning. “With our accelerator-based light source BESSY II, we already provide researchers from the greatest range of disciplines with the best possible light for their research – but we are also thinking of the future. By planning a successor source, we are ensuring that research and industry will continue to have access to the indispensable soft X-ray light of the highest quality over the next decades to come. This will lead to breakthroughs in societally relevant fields.”

This “discovery machine for new materials” is being planned with the involvement of strategic partners such as the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), the Federal Institute of Materials Research and Testing (BAM) and many international research groups. This assures that the X-ray light from the successor source will meet the exact needs of the diverse user groups: from energy and materials research, to information technology, to health research.

Silvia Zerbe