Faculty of Physics

Faculty of Physics

News from the faculty


MSCA postdoctoral fellowship for Dr. Pallavi Kumari

The European Commission has selected Dr. Pallavi Kumari for a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the framework of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) to work at the University of Göttingen starting in 2024. She will work with Prof. Dr. Sarah Köster at the Institute for X-Ray Physics, Faculty of Physics. Her research will focus on cell mechanics and in particular investigate the origin of stretchability in vimentin intermediate filaments and their direct interaction with actin filaments at the single filament level using state-of-the-art biophysical techniques.

How electron spectroscopy measures exciton “holes”

Semiconductors are ubiquitous in modern technology, working to either enable or prevent the flow of electricity. In order to understand the potential of two-dimensional semiconductors for future computer and photovoltaic technologies, researchers from the Universities of Göttingen, Marburg and Cambridge investigated the bond that builds between the electrons and holes contained in these materials. By using a special method to break up the bond between electrons and holes, they were able to gain a microscopic insight into charge transfer processes across a semiconductor interface.

Unexpected curveball in miniature

Whether you are familiar with the term “Magnus effect” or not, you have certainly seen it in action. It is when a spinning ball – for instance in football, cricket or baseball – bends away from its expected trajectory, often to the surprise of the opposing team. The principle also has engineering uses, for example to propel certain types of ships or aircraft using a “Flettner rotor”. Physicists have now demonstrated that the Magnus effect also exists at a microscopic level, where its effects can become really significant under certain conditions.

Majority rule in complex mixtures

The very first life on earth is thought to have developed from “protocells” – liquid mixtures of many different types of molecules. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now shown that in such mixtures, small imbalances in the number of molecules of different types can have an unexpected effect. A surprising interplay with the complex pattern of interactions strongly amplifies such imbalances – meaning that a type of molecule that is only slightly in the majority can almost entirely separate out from the others. These fundamental findings point towards a new mechanism that will apply in many complex mixtures.

“Hightech” materials from nature

Most biological cells have a fixed place in an organism. However, cells can become mobile and move through the body, for example, during wound healing or when tumour cells divide uncontrollably and migrate through the body. Mobile and stationary cells differ in various ways, including their cytoskeleton. Researchers have succeeded in precisely measuring and describing the mechanical properties of the two filaments. In the process, they discovered parallels with non-biological materials.

MICADO enters its Manufacturing Phase

MICADO, the first light camera for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope (ELT), will soon complete its design phase, and the MICADO consortium partners have started to manufacture various sub-systems of the instrument. A mini-documentary on the MICADO instrument was screened during a live event on ESO’s YouTube channel on Friday, 12 May.

Quantum-mechanical systems far from equilibrium

The German Research Foundation (DFG) will fund a new Research Unit studying the non-equilibrium physics of quantum “many-body” systems at the University of Göttingen. The title of this ambitious programme is “Quantum thermalization, localization, and constrained dynamics with interacting ultracold”. A team of scientists will investigate how macroscopic thermodynamic behaviour emerges from the microscopic equations of motion of quantum mechanics.

Carmenes: 59 new planets discovered in four years

In four years, observations by the international Carmenes Project have led to the discovery of 59 exoplanets, a dozen of which are potentially habitable. The scientists have published the data from around 20,000 observations they made between 2016 and 2020 for a sample of 362 nearby cool stars. The project, with the participation of the University of Göttingen, uses an instrument from the Calar Alto Observatory in southern Spain.

Academic field for the future: "Matter to Life”

Göttingen and Heidelberg Universities will in future offer a joint Master's degree in the interdisciplinary pro-gramme "Matter to Life". Göttingen University President Professor Metin Tolan and the Rector of Heidelberg University, Professor Bernhard Eitel, signed an agreement to this effect yesterday in Göttingen. This kind of programme and degree are unique in Germany. Built on the approach of the Max Planck School Matter to Life: to identify the world's best early career researchers in this new field.

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