Brunswick Research Prize for Karsten Danzmann

GEO600 researcher, Max Planck director, and professor at Leibniz Universität Hannover will receive the award from the city of Brunswick and the association “ForschungRegion Braunschweig e.V.” on the 28th September

August 22, 2018

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 Universität Hannover will receive the 30,000 Euro Brunswick Research Prize 2018. The city of Brunswick and the association “ForschungRegion Braunschweig e.V.” recognize Danzmann's decisive contribution to the detection of gravitational waves and to the development of the necessary laser technologies.

“I am delighted about this recognition of our work with the Brunswick Research Prize,” says Karsten Danzmann. “It is another award for the contributions to this revolutionary breakthrough in astronomy that I have worked on with international colleagues over the past three decades.”

“The Brunswick Research Prize honours outstanding research achievements that promote and network science, industry and society,” explains Brunswick‘s mayor Markurth. “Gravitational-wave astronomy opens up an entirely new window of observation into space. This is an extremely exciting field of research, but it is only one of many to which this year‘s awardee is devoting himself.”

Technology development at GEO600

More than 1700 international researchers are jointly working on the global network of the gravitational-wave detectors LIGO, Virgo, GEO600, and KAGRA. In the GEO Collaboration, a team of Max Planck, Leibniz Universität Hannover and UK researchers Danzmann has been operating the GEO600 gravitational-wave detector south of Hannover, Germany, since the mid 1990s. GEO600 is a development center for novel and advanced technologies in the international gravitational-wave research community.

Many key technologies that are now employed in all large gravitational-wave detectors have been developed and tested at GEO600. AEI researchers together with the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. also developed, built, and installed the high-power laser systems at the heart of the LIGO instruments. GEO600 is the first large gravitational-wave detector, which demonstrated crucial improvements in the optical measurement principle such as simultaneous power and signal recycling.

Squeezed light – a technology for the future

GEO600 is the only gravitational-wave detector worldwide using “squeezed light” to suppress fundamental quantum noise effects and improve sensitivity at high frequencies. In the future, all gravitational-wave detectors on Earth will use squeezed-light sources similar to that of GEO600 to further increase their sensitivity. In early 2018, the Virgo instrument received a squeezed light source developed and built in Hannover as a permanent loan.

Detecting gravitational waves in space with LISA

Since the early 1990s Danzmann also has been playing a leading research role in LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna), a gravitational-wave detector which will be launched as a mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2034. Three satellites will span an equilateral triangle of laser arms, each of them 2.5 million kilometers long, and will detect low-frequency gravitational waves entirely inaccessible on Earth. Together with an international team, Danzmann has proven with the highly successful satellite mission LISA Pathfinder (2015-2017) that the technology required for LISA works .

The Brunswick Research Prize

The Brunswick Research Prize honours internationally outstanding interdisciplinary research results in the fields of technology, life sciences or cultural studies. A commitment to the transfer and use of science in business and society is a prerequisite for nomination. The founder of the prize money of 30,000 euros is the city of Brunswick. The supporting organisations of the prize are the city of Brunswick and the association “ForschungRegion Braunschweig e.V.”. The Braunschweig Research Prize was awarded for the first time in autumn 2007.

This year‘s Brunswick Research Prize will be presented to Karsten Danzmann on 28th September 2018 at 6 p.m. in the Kleiner Haus of the Staatstheater Braunschweig. Registration of all interested parties for participation is now possible at or by telephone on 0531-470-4801.

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