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04/17/2024 14:00

Röntgen medal for Robert Feidenhans'l

Gerhard Samulat Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
European XFEL GmbH

    The German Röntgen Museum honours Professor Robert Feidenhans'l from European XFEL for the development of X-ray techniques for the atomic analysis of surfaces and X-ray imaging methods for the characterisation of three-dimensional microstructures.

    The Danish physicist Robert Feidenhans'l has spent almost his entire career working in the field of X-ray synchrotron radiation and free-electron lasers and is regarded as a pioneer in the use of X-rays from synchrotron radiation facilities. He is a co-founder of surface crystallography and was the first person to succeed in precisely determining surface structures experimentally. Feidenhans'l is an outstanding researcher who always regarded science as a means of promoting international understanding and collaboration.

    His research includes nanophysics, in particular research into nanowires and the development of X-ray techniques for analysing materials. He was also instrumental in the development of X-ray imaging methods for the three-dimensional characterisation of materials and biological tissue, and was involved in high-resolution micro X-ray tomography in medicine, for example to investigate the interaction between bones and implants.

    Between 2017 and 2023, Feidenhans'l was Chairman of the Management Board of the European X-ray laser and responsible for the transition from construction into full user operation. The international research facility in Schenefeld near Hamburg is one of the most powerful X-ray lasers in the world.

    During his career, he has held numerous positions in science management. For example, he was Chairman of the Danish National Committee for Crystallography (1998-2007), Chairman of the Council of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) (2006-2010), Chairmen of the European XFEL Council (2010-2014), Member of the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences (ATV) (since 2015), Chairman of the Board of MAX IV (since January 2023), member of the Board of Trustees of the Joachim Herz Foundation (since January 2023) and Member of the Scientific Advisory Board at the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley, USA (since 2024).

    -- Curriculum vitae --
    Robert Feidenhans'l was born on 29 June 1958 in Haderslev, in the Syddanmark region of Denmark. He studied physics and mathematics at the University of Aarhus. In 1983 he received his master's degree in physics and mathematics. He became a research assistant at the Department of Physics at Aarhus University and was awarded a doctoral scholarship at Risø National Laboratory. In 1986 he received his doctorate in physics from the University of Aarhus. From 1986 to 2001 he worked as a scientist in the Department of Solid State Physics at Risø National Laboratory, 2001-2005 he was head of the Materials Department also at Risø National Laboratory. In 2005 he was appointed Professor of Physics at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen. In 2007 he was appointed Deputy Director of the Institute and in 2012 Director of the Niels Bohr Institute. In January 2017, he became Chairman of the Management Board of the European XFEL in Hamburg.

    Feidenhans'l is co-author of about 200 publications with 7,700 citations and an h-index of 47. The Danish physicist is an excellent teacher and communicator. He has mentored numerous young scientists. In October 2023, he was awarded the DESY Silver Badge of Honour.

    -- European XFEL --
    European XFEL is an international research facility of superlatives: 27,000 flashes of light per second with a brilliance that is a billion times higher than that of the best conventional X-ray sources open up a wide range of new research possibilities.

    The X-ray laser is located in tunnels underground, which can be accessed from three operating sites. The 3.4-kilometre-long facility extends from the research centre DESY in Hamburg to the Schleswig-Holstein town of Schenefeld (Pinneberg district). This is where the research campus is located, where international teams of scientists use the intense X-ray flashes for their experiments.

    The flashes are extremely short – they usually last only a few femtoseconds, i.e. a few quadrillionths of a second. These outstanding properties make it possible to film ultra-fast processes in chemical reactions or changes in biomolecules. With the X-ray flashes of the European XFEL, researchers from all over the world can decipher the atomic details of viruses or cells, take three-dimensional images of nanostructures or investigate processes that take place inside planets and stars. A wide variety of scientific fields benefit from the research facility, including biology, medicine, pharmacy, chemistry, materials science, physics, astrophysics, energy research, environmental research, electronics, nanotechnology and photonics.

    The research facility is operated by the European XFEL GmbH, a non-profit organisation that cooperates closely with its main shareholder, the DESY research centre, and other scientific institutions worldwide. More than 550 employees work directly for European XFEL, in addition to around 240 DESY employees who operate the linear accelerator for European XFEL.


    Robert Feidenhans'l
    Robert Feidenhans'l

    © European XFEL

    Robert Feidenhans'l is an excellent teacher and communicator. He has mentored numerous young scientists.
    Robert Feidenhans'l is an excellent teacher and communicator. He has mentored numerous young scienti ...

    © European XFEL

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