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New buildings for the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum

60 years after the “Atomic Egg”: neutron research in Garching is still expanding

2017-02-20 – News from the Physics Department

The Research Neutron Source FRM II of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is a magnet for researchers from a wide array of disciplines. Working groups of the Forschungszentrum Jülich have settled in Garching. And every year around 1000 guest scientists from around the world visit Garching to perform measurements at FRM II. Two new buildings that celebrate their ground-breaking today will alleviate the acute shortage of space.

The “Atomic Egg” peeks out between the new research buildings for the Heinz Maier Leibnitz Zentrum. – Image: HENN

The number of scientific instruments at the Garching Research Neutron Source has grown in recent years from 15 to 27, with six further instruments currently under construction. Since the new instruments require additional operators, the size of staff continues to grow.

Today, over 400 people work at FRM II and the Heinz Maier-Leibniz Zentrum (MLZ), which unites under its organizational umbrella the scientific work of the neutron researchers of the TU Munich, the Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht. On top of this come some 1000 guest scientists who visit annually, also with a need for experiment and office space.

As of 2019, the two new buildings that will take shape in front of the “Atomic Egg” building under the lead of the Bavarian State Construction Authority Rosenheim will provide significant relief for the shortage of space. The architectural office HENN conceived the design for the two facing, four-story buildings, which frame the view to the listed “Atomic Egg” erected in 1957.

The northern building was commissioned by the Bavarian government for TUM. The approximately 2000 square meters of usable floor space will house a two-story workshop hall and offices. The southern building was commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. It will house 2550 square meters of office and laboratory space for scientists of the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science (JCNS) and the Helmholz-Zentrum Geesthacht. Overall construction costs have been slated at around 32 million euro.

Investment for the future

“For exactly 60 years now, the ‘light of neutrons’ in Garching has granted one-of-a-kind glimpses into the inner workings of all sorts of materials and important biological building blocks. Today, FRM II is the strongest neutron source worldwide and the insights gained here form the foundations for the development of new technologies that will sustainably improve the lives of people,” said Prof. Wolfgang A. Hermann, president of the Technical University of Munich. “The investments by the federal and state governments in the spatial infrastructure will bear rich fruit thanks to our neutron source’s unsurpassed performance scope.”

“The research neutron source, which is operated by Technical University of Munich, has an exceptional worldwide reputation,” said Stefan Müller, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Germany Federal Ministry for Education and Research. “A fundamental question of research policy is to what degree we are able to attract the best minds for research. To this end, we need an optimal framework, a creative environment and infrastructures, in other words, equipment and modern buildings like the ones being built here in Garching. They form a cornerstone in further improving the attractiveness of Germany as a base of science.”

“Today’s ground breaking for the new buildings of the Heinz Maier-Leibniz Zentrum is a clearly visible signal for leading research with neutrons in Germany and Europe,” said the Bavarian Science Minister Dr. Ludwig Spaenle. “Neutron research here in Garching is in the service of conquering grand challenges of society and science, for example in the context of the energy turnaround, digitalization, and health care. The MLZ assumes a pioneering role in the collaboration of scientists from university and non-university research institutions. We will continue strengthening the research cooperation beyond the boundaries of these facilities to bring together the best minds to meet scientific challenges.”

“The new buildings fortify the cooperation between university and non-university research. This will form a new link in the chain of strategic collaboration between the Technical University of Munich and the Forschungszentrum Jülich,” said Prof. Sebastian M. Schmidt, board member of the Forschungszentrum Jülich. “Soon, young scientists, the users and experts of neuroresearch will come together here, under one roof. This will give all parties new ideas and momentum that I am already looking forward to.”

The new science buildings of the Heinz Maier-Leibniz Zentrum will bring together that which belongs together: people to people and laboratories to workshops,” said Prof. Thomas Brückel, director at JCNS and speaker of the MLZ management. “New ideas and collaborations will be born over friendly cups of coffee – ideas that transcend the borders of institutional membership. The new laboratories will enhance the powerful tool of research with neutrons and allow science at the MLZ to achieve further insights.”

Dr. Andreas Battenberg, Dr. Johannes Wiedersich
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