Karsten Danzmann accepted into the Hall of Fame of German Research

Max Planck Director and Professor at Leibniz Universität Hannover honored

October 29, 2019

Prof. Karsten Danzmann, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute; AEI) in Hannover and Director of the Institute for Gravitational Physics at Leibniz University Hannover, has been accepted into the Manager Magazine’s “Hall of Fame of German Research”. The award recognizes his lifelong, outstanding contributions to the advancement of research. The award was presented on 29 October in Berlin.

Basic research as a guarantee for economic development

“I am delighted about this recognition. It shows that basic research is an indispensable guarantee for our economic development,” says Danzmann. “Sometimes I'm surprised myself at how quickly our basic research has found its way into application.”

With this induction into the Hall of Fame of German Research, the Manager Magazin recognizes Danzmann’s outstanding contributions to the advancement of research and to making Germany more competitive as an international business location.

Technology development at GEO600

Danzmann is one of the principal investigators of the GEO collaboration. This team of researchers from the Max Planck Society, the Leibniz Universität Hannover and British research institutions has been operating the gravitational wave detector GEO600 south of Hanover since the mid-1990s.

GEO600 is a development centre for novel technologies in international gravitational-wave research. Many key technologies and crucial innovations in optical measurement, which have been developed and tested at GEO600, are being used today in all large gravitational-wave detectors (LIGO, Virgo, KAGRA).

Detecting gravitational waves in space with LISA

Danzmann is also leading the consortium of the space mission LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna). LISA is a gravitational-wave detector scheduled for launch in 2034 as a mission of the European Space Agency (ESA). Its three satellites will span an equilateral triangle of laser beams with a length of 2.5 million kilometers and will measure low-frequency gravitational waves that are inaccessible on Earth. With the LISA Pathfinder satellite mission (2015-2017), the international team of researchers with Danzmann has successfully demonstrated that the technology required for LISA works as predicted.

LISA technology observes the Earth today

LISA technology is already being used for Earth observation on board of the GRACE Follow-On satellites. In future geodetic satellite missions it will further improve measurement accuracy and provide important climate data. GRACE-Follow-On is a satellite tandem, which observes climate change indicators through changes in Earth's gravity field by a high-precision measurement of the distance between the two satellites. The LISA laser technology measures changes in this distance about 200 times more precisely than the established microwave technology. Therefore, it provides a successful model for future improvements of measurement accuracy, which are the foundation for reliable climate data.

Hall of Fame of German research

Manager Magazine launched the Hall of Fame of German research in 2009. The Hall of Fame is the appointment of researchers whose “life's work has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of research and thus also has made Germany fitter for the future as business location in international competition”. The Merck Group, based in Darmstadt, has been supporting this hall of fame since 2015.

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