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New center for neutron research in Germany:TUM and Helmholtz Centers establish the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum

The German neutron research, concentrated at the Research Neutron Source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM II) in Garching, received its own name: Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum. Thus, the successful cooperation between the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM), the Forschungszentrum Juelich and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht – Center for Materials and Coastal Research (HZG) enters a new stage. Today, the inaugural ceremony was held in Garching.

the experimental hall

As one of the four partners in the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Centre (MLZ) the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht operates instruments at the FRM II. Here a view into the experimental hall (Pic: TUM/R.Schuermann)

The center is named after the German pioneer and mentor of neutron research, Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (1911 - 2000). On his initiative and under his guidance, the first neutron research reactor (Forschungsreaktor Muenchen, FRM) in Garching, the "atomic egg", was built and put into operation in 1957. Heinz Maier-Leibnitz was also founding director of the international high-flux reactor at the Institute Laue Langevin in Grenoble, France. Until his retirement in 1974, Heinz Maier-Leibnitz was professor for Technical Physics at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen and director of the Forschungsreaktor Muenchen. From 1974 to 1979 he was serving as president of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

The cooperation between the Technische Universitaet Muenchen and the Helmholtz Centers started in 2011 and is additionally supported for ten years by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with an annual budget of 19.8 Million Euros. Under the auspices of the Forschungszentrum Juelich, the Helmholtz Centers are financially involved with 10.52 Million Euros per year. The TUM is still the sole operator of the neutron source. The State of Bavaria funds reactor operation and research with 25 Million Euros annually.

The Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum (MLZ) supports German and international scientists in their contributions towards solving major scientific and societal challenges, e.g. in the field of energy research, biomedicine, information technology, materials science and engineering. For this purpose, the Technische Universitaet Muenchen and the Helmholtz Centers are operating 30 first-class instruments at the MLZ. To merge the know-how and to further exploit synergies, joint scientific groups have been founded. They cover five important fields of neutron research: Materials Research, Neutron Methods, Quantum Phenomena, Soft Matter and Structure Research. Also joint professorial appointments are planned.

TUM-President Prof. Wolfgang A. Herrmann: "Therewith, the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum is a world-leading center for research with neutrons and positrons. Due to its unique range of applications TUM’s Research Neutron Source provides the essential basis for this."

Prof. Winfried Petry, Scientific Director of the MLZ and Scientific Director of the FRM II: "Research using neutrons provides essential and unique contributions to the major challenges of modern societies. To face these challenges, university and non-university research institutions are engaged at the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum."

Prof. Dieter Richter, spokesman of the Scientific Directorate of the MLZ and Director of the Jülich Center for Neutron Science at the Forschungszentrum Jülich: "By increasing the cooperation we create an academic environment that is internationally leading. This will strengthen the German research landscape on a long term basis."

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