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Technische Universität München> Technische Universität MünchenHelmholtz-Zentrum Hereon> Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon
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MLZ (eng)

85748 Garching

From Behind The Sciences

These articles will be looking behind the scenes of FRM II and MLZ and peering at the same time across the shoulders of the staff, users and other persons.

  • 10.04.2024
    Author: Meike Jahn
    A deaf colleague at the FRM II

    If you want to go to Yella Wähner’s office, you simply open the door. Knocking would be pointless, because the technical draughtswoman would not answer. Not because she is so engrossed in her plans: Yella Wähner cannot hear anything. She is deaf. She has been working at the Forschungs-Neutronenquelle Heinz-Maier Leibnitz (FRM II) for four years.

  • 30.12.2023
    Author: Adrian Büchl
    The Sparkle of Opals - an internship in the Materials Science Laboratory

    For many years, pupils have been completing internships at the MLZ and taking a first look into the engine room of science with their own research. This year, two physics-interested interns spent a week studying the color formation of iridescent opals in the Materials Science Laboratory.

  • 01.08.2023
    Author: Meike Jahn
    Ever radiographed a surprise egg? - An internship at the MLZ

    Rebuilding the inside of a surprise egg without ever having opened the egg? This is possible? Yes, Felicia Calzada and Anna Senyshyn managed it during their internship at the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum (MLZ) in Garching. The pupils enthusiastically present their results. The topic of their internship: non-destructive material testing.

  • 26.05.2023
    Author: Adrian Büchl
    From Sydney to Garching: Professor Maxim Avdeev at the MLZ

    In March 2023 MLZ had the pleasure of hosting Maxim Avdeev – Diffraction Group Manager at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and professor at the University of Sydney. The MLZ Science Group “Structure Research” acted as Prof Avdeev’s local host.

  • 13.09.2022
    Author: Elene Mamaladze
    Not all sand is the same: an internship at the MLZ

    Hidden behind a heavy door is the Hereon Materials Science Lab at the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum in Garching. Under bright laboratory lights, surrounded by many quietly humming devices, two interns are sitting and analyzing the images of colorfully dyed structures of their project work. Marlene Piochacz from Gymnasium Olching and Andriy Senyshyn from Werner Heisenberg Gymnasium in Garching do not let their concentration be disturbed.

  • 21.06.2022
    Author: Veronika Aechter
    No neutrons, no research? Far from it!

    Researchers at the Research Neutron Source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM II) don’t have it easy at the moment: For more than two years, the reactor has been at a standstill and has not produced any neutrons. But in keeping with the spirit of science, they continue to work tirelessly during this time: on the instruments, on better software, with alternative methods.

  • 16.05.2022
    Author: Elene Mamaladze
    3D printers in the service of science

    Anyone who has seen the research neutron source FRM II knows that large machines and complex measuring instruments work here alongside the scientists who built them. A few hundred meters away from the large instruments, in a cube-shaped building, in a small office on the third floor, an ordinary 3D printer hums away.

  • 26.04.2022
    Author: Teresa Kiechle
    How thick is actually thin?

    What is meant by thin layers? How are they measured? And what role do they play in science? These are the questions that 15-year-old Nea Pfaffermayr from Ismaning dealt with as an intern in the physics laboratory of FRM II – and obtained results that have real benefits for science.

  • 28.03.2022
    Author: Anke Görg
    Removal of the Cold Source

    A unit of equipment for cooling down neutrons -– known as the Cold Source – is defective and currently unavailable. Since repair is not possible, the so-called in-pile part which is, the heart of the Cold Source, must be completely replaced.

    After weeks of meticulous preparation, work is underway to remove the defective in-pile part of the Cold Source from the moderator tank.

  • 10.01.2022
    Author: Andrea Voit
    Giant pipe for the tiniest particles

    Its dimensions are gigantic, but the particles it is to study are all the tinier for it: a 12-metre-long magnet has now been delivered to the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Centre and hoisted into the Neutron Guide Hall East by three cranes. The superconducting magnet will observe the decay of the neutron with the highest precision on the new PERC instrument. This process is very important, for example, for the formation of light particles after the Big Bang or the energy production of the sun. The MLZ recorded the delivery photographically and on film.

  • 17.12.2021
    Author: Andrea Voit
    Family album of the FRM II

    For more than 19 years, Wenzel Schürmann photographed the eventful history of FRM II and the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Centre (MLZ) in many thousands of pictures. Now a best-of of the photographer’s work can be seen in the exhibition “Impressions of FRM II and its partners at the MLZ” on the site of the research neutron source in Garching. We present an exclusive insight here.

  • 02.11.2021
    Author: Georgios Mantzaridis
    Master of contactless temperature measurements

    Thinking about the University Contact Fair (Hochschulkontaktmesse, HOKO) makes Osama Deeb feel like he’s been transported back by two years. He was roaming the fair looking for a working student position to complement his master’s degree. Now two years later, the Advanced Materials Group’s testing apparatus has a new temperature sensor and Osama Deeb a master’s degree in his pocket.

  • 01.09.2021
    Author: Andrea Voit
    The cool guy

    Guy Gistau is always there where it’s cold. At 81 years of age, he could also be enjoying his retirement in Corsica, but instead he is in demand worldwide in the field of cooling systems at the lowest temperatures. At FRM II, he put the cooling machine of the cold neutron source through its paces and came up with an unequivocal diagnosis.

  • 12.07.2021
    Author: Elene Mamaladze
    The reactor at night: Dr. Heiko Gerstenberg says goodbye

    When the heavily loaded truck rolls onto the site in the middle of the night, Dr. Heiko Gerstenberg is already waiting. Only he and a few insiders know about this event since the truck is carrying a very special cargo: fresh fuel elements for the FRM II research neutron source. In this interview Heiko Gerstenberg talks about his experiences in almost 39 years at both the FRM and FRM II.

  • 26.04.2021
    Author: Andrea Voit
    “Teamwork to balance work and family life“

    Neelima Paul knows what an empty battery looks like from the inside. She is conducting research to ensure that the storage units for electric cars and solar power will live even longer and release more energy in the future. Her own life battery is virtually tireless. She works full time as a scientist at the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum, has had two children while working on her doctorate and, as a native Indian, has acclimatized to Germany in a short time. This is only possible with teamwork at home and a lot of discipline at work, says the researcher.

  • 02.02.2021
    Author: Veronika Aechter
    Neutralized art: Olaf Probst on his work “more or less” in the new MLZ buildings.

    “More or Less” is the name of the sculpture Olaf Probst created for the new MLZ buildings. In an interview, the artist tells us what inspired him to create his work and where the greatest challenges laid.

  • 16.12.2020
    Author: Andrea Voit

    He was not only the father of the atomic egg, a doctoral supervisor a hundred times over, including a Nobel Prize-winning doctoral thesis by Rudolf Mößbauer, but also a family man and amateur cook. Heinz Maier-Leibnitz died exactly 20 years ago today, December 16. On the anniversary of his death, his eldest daughter, Christine Raum (82), talks about the personal side of Heinz Maier-Leibnitz and his years in Munich. Christine Raum studied pharmacy and lives in Munich.

  • 25.09.2020
    Author: Georgios Mantzaridis
    Archaeological sensation or brilliant deception

    Two experts in archaeology have been debating for years about the authenticity of gold artifact discoveries in Bernstorf, Germany. Professor Rupert Gebhard, head of the Bavarian State Archaeological Collection in possession of the artifacts, is convinced that these gold relics from the Bronze Age are indeed genuine. On the other hand, Professor Ernst Pernicka of the Curt-Engelhorn-Center of Archaeology, suspects they are fake. The accusation weighs heavily, since it would imply a substantial fraud of around 384,000 Euros. Dozens of investigations have only further fueled the dispute. Finally, last year Professor Gebhard turned to the neutron source in Garching in an attempt to resolve the matter.

  • 29.06.2020
    Author: Veronika Aechter
    Everything extraterrestrial: How neutrons expose a meteorite

    The fascination for meteorites is great, after all they come to earth from very far away and tell a story about the origin of our solar system. However, what the remarkable pieces of rock are about in detail only becomes clear after detailed analysis. Now neutrons of the Heinz Meier-Leibnitz Zentrum (MLZ) helped to uncover fragments of a meteorite from North Africa.

  • 06.04.2020
    Author: Veronika Aechter
    With blue light and siren

    During the week, Dr. Marcell Wolf does research with neutrons at the Research Neutron Source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (MLZ). On weekends he engages in volunteer work at the German Red Cross. In both cases, he is particularly able to benefit from one characteristic: his ability to remain calm in all situations. His commitment is also in demand during the Corona pandemic.

  • 23.12.2019
    Author: Teresa Kiechle
    Shooting stars from the gutter

    Philipp Meven is collecting shooting stars from his rooftop and analyzing the micrometeorites afterwards in the Materials Science Lab of the MLZ. A truly heavenly internship!

  • 22.10.2019
    Author: Georgios Mantzaridis
    Master shooter at the FRM II

    While neutrons are shot through various measuring devices in the research reactor, the offices of the FRM II hide a shooter in the traditional sense. Since 2012, 20-year-old Lea Kleesattel has been shooting at competitions and championships at the shooting club and has rarely missed a target. She works in the instrument control group at FRM II and has not lost any of her passion. She regularly participates in competitions, qualifies for European and World Championships and will be playing in the first national league from next year on.

  • 09.08.2019
    Author: Luisa Heyer
    Flying the nest: offspring in the kestrel family

    Four months have passed since a pair of Common Kestrels made themselves at home in the drainage shaft of the new UYW building on the FRM II site. Happily married, sharing a home – and now also in baby happiness! The chicks should be a good month old now and starting their first flight attempts. Not too late! At eight weeks, the young birds must leave the nesting place of the parents and look for their own precinct.

  • 12.07.2019
    Author: Teresa Kiechle
    Everything under control

    For one and a half years, Dr. Carina Dirks-Fandrei has been the head of the chemistry group at the research neutron source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM II). Together with radioprotection, she is responsible for monitoring the water, air and ground around the research facility.

  • 13.06.2019
    Author: Marie Budzinski
    When the atomic egg was being tilled

    Throughout his life Josef Leinthaler cultivated his fields on the farmland around Garching. However, the local farmer could hardly have imagined the development of the small village near Munich into a world-renowned science centre. It all began more than 60 years ago with the construction of Germany’s first nuclear facility – the research reactor in Munich, popularly known as the “Atomic Egg” – right next to Josef Leinthaler’s field.

  • 03.05.2019
    Author: Luisa Heyer
    Nestled by the egg – life at the FRM II from a bird’s-eye view

    On the 1st of April, we spotted a pair of Common Kestrels on the campus of the FRM II of the Technical University of Munich (TUM). As their name already suggests, the birds are quite common. However, their hunting grounds are shrinking due to increasing building development and potential nesting sites are made inaccessible leading to a steady decrease in the kestrel’s population size. To help the kestrels, an eyrie was constructed on the rooftop of the FRM II building. Oddly, the birds prefer the drainage shaft of the UYW building that is currently under construction. Why the kestrels chose the FRM II as their new home, they will have to tell us themselves.

  • 26.02.2019
    Author: Andrea Voit
    Mission in the third generation

    After four decades Izabela Sosnowska still comes to Garching. Her working group does research for iron oxide compounds – promising storage materials – already in the third generation. The professor talks about how she gained recognition as an East European in the male domaine of physics.

  • 13.12.2018
    Author: Georgios Mantzaridis
    Dinosaur eggs, shattered tissues and Nitrogen ice-cream - My day at the neutron source

    Eleven-year-old Keti-Danai Mantzaridou takes part in the first kids-tour at the research neutron source. Excitedly she tells how she experienced this fascinating event from her own perspective.

  • 26.10.2018
    Author: Andrea Voit
    Bad air: Tracking down pollution with neutrons

    Environmental scientist Dr. Nuno Canha measures the air quality in rural Portugal by analysing lichens. Hereby the neutrons of the Prompt Gamma Activation Analysis (PGAA) of the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum play a key role.

  • 17.09.2018
    Author: Teresa Kiechle
    Laboratory internship between predators and ruminants

    Felicia Nachbar, student at the Oskar-Maria-Graf Gymnasium in Neufahrn, examines the teeth of predators and ruminants. The 14-year-old does a voluntary internship at the Materials Science Lab of the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum in Garching, a laboratory for sample preparation and x-ray analysis.

  • 05.06.2018
    Author: Andrea Voit
    A 2000-year-old secret revealed

    Markos Skoulatos, instrument scientist at the FRM II, is one of a few people worldwide who recreated a functional Antikythera mechanism. This first computer of humanity is more than 2000 years old and calculates a wealth of information about the sun and moon phase, planetary motion, solar or lunar eclipses and even Olympic Games and other events.

  • 11.05.2018
    Author: Teresa Kiechle
    Between the cultures and neutron sources

    Lead scientist Dr. Pascale Deen from Lund is part of an international team building a cold chopper spectrometer (CSPEC) at the European Spallation Source (ESS). She talks about the CSPEC collaboration, the future of reactor-based neutron sources, and balancing the needs of her family with those of her family of fellow scientists.

  • 17.04.2018
    Author: Teresa Kiechle
    Hot game with steady hand

    Andreas Galsterer, deputy subarea director at the documentation service of the FRM II, is the Bavarian vice champion in pool-billiard. Not only at the sporting competitions but also at his working place he benefits from his billiard skills.

  • 07.03.2018
    Author: Teresa Kiechle
    Plugs, rays and a very special machine

    At the FRM II the exchange of a beam plug is imminent. The preparations for the important project promoting the commissioning of the ultra-cold neutron source lasted more than two years. Exact planning, high accuracy and especially teamwork are vital for pulling out the beam plug as each movement must be correct during the exciting event.

MLZ is a cooperation between:

Technische Universität München> Technische Universität MünchenHelmholtz-Zentrum Hereon> Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon
Forschungszentrum Jülich> Forschungszentrum Jülich

MLZ is a member of:


MLZ on social media: