FIAS Fellow Hannah Elfner was nominated "Scientist of the Year 2021". The physicist received the prize by Goethe University and the Alfons and Gertrud Kassel Foundation, which awards the prize to researchers every two years. In addition to outstanding scientific work, the focus is also on promoting young researchers, for which part of the prize money of 25,000 Euros will be used.
Prof. Dr. Hannah Elfner has been a Fellow at FIAS since 2013 and is a professor at Goethe University and the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research. Her research focuses on the quark-gluon plasma. This state of matter existed in the early universe only microseconds after the Big Bang. In particle accelerators, temperatures and densities can be achieved that existed shortly after the Big Bang by accelerating lead or gold nuclei to almost the speed of light and colliding them. In her work, Elfner uses mathematical models to describe and predict these processes. In 2016, she received the prestigious Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize for Young Scientists for her work.
In addition to her outstanding research, Elfner is committed to supporting young scientists; despite her young age, she has already successfully guided almost 40 young scientists to their scientific degrees. In the laudation, former and current staff members described the individual attention that the physics professor gives to each and every one of her students and doctoral candidates.
She also regularly provides an insight into her research at lectures and public events. Impressive pictures give everybody an idea of the Big Bang. Science communication is important to the award winner. And: "Everybody should see that women can also be physics professors".