Roland Diehl nominated Fellow of the American Physical Society
October 27, 2015
In its September meeting, the American Physical Society (APS) nominated MPE senior scientist Roland Diehl for a Fellowship. This is recognition of his outstanding contributions to astrophysics, in particular for his observations of gamma-ray radiation from radioactive elements in space, and his pioneering contributions to gamma-ray telescopes and analysing gamma-ray observations in general.
The American Physical Society (APS) is a non-profit membership organization working to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics in the United States and throughout the world. With more than 50,000 members, it is one of the largest organisation of physicists in the world. Fellowship is a distinct honour signifying recognition by one's professional peers for exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise. Roland Diehl was recommended by the Division of Astrophysics and nominated by the APS Council of Representatives in its September meeting, for his “pioneering contributions to astrophysics, including seminal observations of gamma-ray lines from cosmic radioactivities, the origins of cosmic rays, and development of methods for the analysis of measurements made with gamma-ray telescopes.”
Most nuclear physicists do their research in laboratories on Earth, e.g. with powerful accelerators to penetrate to the microcosmos where nuclear forces rule. But one can also learn about the smallest particles of matter by looking into the distant universe: in particular penetrating gamma-rays, very high energy radiation, carries information about the processes related to atomic nuclei, their fusion reactions, and their physics related to high-energy processes in extreme and violent regimes in our universe. Atomic nuclei are composed of neutrons and protons, elementary particles which all were created at the very beginning of the universe. High-energy processes inside stars and during their explosions make possible a transformation of nuclei, and thus the formation of new elemental species, a process called cosmic nucleosynthesis. Gamma rays are the most direct messengers of such processes. With special telescopes such as developed at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching astronomers are able to detect such radiation from distant sources. Roland Diehl made important and pioneering contributions to this field, now awarded through this fellowship.