Otto Hahn Medal for Young Scientist from IPP

Award to Dr. Gregor Birkenmeier for his fundamental contribution to turbulence research

June 06, 2013

At the general meeting in Potsdam on 5 June, the Max Planck Society has honoured young scientists and researchers with the Otto Hahn Medal for outstanding scientific achievements. Gregor Birkenmeier, young researcher at IPP in Garching, was one of the 30 recipients.

Gregor Birkenmeier received the medal for his doctoral studies at the TJ-K stellarator experiment, located at the University of Stuttgart – the precise experimental investigation of the three-dimensional microscopic structure of turbulence in magnetized plasmas.

Turbulence and the concomitant transport of particles and energy are omnipresent in neutral fluids and plasmas. In magnetized astrophysical plasmas and fusion plasmas, turbulent transport plays a key role. Gregor Birkenmeier’s doctoral studies presented the first detailed experimental investigations of the spatial structure of turbulent plasma transport in a three-dimensional magnetic field. He clearly demonstrated that the curvature of the magnetic field acts on the turbulent transport as a dominant parameter. This confirmed previous theoretical models.

Gregor Birkenmeier has also conducted detailed investigations of the interaction between self-generated shear flows and turbulence. He verified that turbulently generated zonal flows can sustainably reduce transport, and he showed that this reduction is caused by a spatial phase shift between potential and density fluctuations.

The annual presentation of the Otto Hahn Medal is intended to motivate especially gifted junior scientists and researchers to pursue a future university or research career.

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