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    © Bielefeld University / Christoph Pelargus

Bielefeld researchers using European supercomputers

Physicists Dr. Olaf Kaczmarek and Dr. Christian Schmidt-Sonntag of Bielefeld University have secured 82 million core hours on the most powerful supercomputers in Europe. This will not only speed up the research process in their respective projects on heavy quarks in a plasma of quarks and gluons (Dr. Kaczmarek) and the phase diagram of quarks and gluons (Dr. Schmidt-Sonntag), but also highlight the importance of their work. The researchers’ findings will later be transferred to the Bielefeld supercomputer at the Bielefeld GPU Cluster and be made publicly accessible. 

Supercomputers are often indispensable in modern scientific research: they are an essential tool for processing the ever-increasing volumes of data needed for statistics, forecasts, and other calculations across a wide range of disciplines.
The collaborative ‘European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking’ ( project has invested a great deal of funding into the construction of new European flagship supercomputers over the past years. Since June 2023, the supercomputers ‘LUMI’ in Finland and ‘Leonardo’ in Italy came in third and fourth place in the global ranking of the 500 most powerful supercomputers around the globe. First place is currently held by the ‘Frontier’ supercomputer in the United States, and second by ‘Fugaku’ in Japan.

As responsible project leads for an international team of scientists, Bielefeld researchers Dr. Olaf Kaczmarek and Dr. Christian Schimdt-Sonntag were successful in the first round of a call for applications for computing time on these systems. The won out over myriad competitors from around the world in a rigorous application review process and have now been allocated 60 million core hours on LUMI-G and 22 million core hours on Leonardo – corresponding to the annual computing power of 20,000 and 6,000 laptops, respectively. This computing time will facilitate their research, which investigates the properties of matter under extreme conditions.

This research into extreme conditions of matter deals with temperatures and particle densities that are, for instance, believed to have been present in our universe shortly after the Big Bang, but also with temperatures and particle densities similar to those produced and measured in heavy ion experiments in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the ‘CERN’ European Organisation for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland, and in the Relativistic Heavy Ion Accelerator (RHIC) at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in Long Island, New York. These research projects are part of the Collaborative Research Centre TransRegio 211, ‘Strong-Interaction Matter under Extreme Conditions’ (, which brings together researchers from the Goethe University Frankfurt, Bielefeld University, and the Technical University of Darmstadt.

As members of the North Rhine-Westphalian Competence Network for High-Performance Computing (HPC.NRW), a consortium that was recently extended through the end of 2024, Olaf Kaczmarek and Christian Schmidt-Sonntag provide support to Bielefeld researchers and their projects at the Bielefeld GPU Cluster, and also offer advice on how to apply for computing time at other supercomputers in the region, namely in Germany and Europe. 


For more information, please see:

BNL News zum Projekt über schwere Quarks

COSMOfit - Ready for space?

In search of Alpha Centauri and micrometeorites

Contributors to the project
Participants in the project © Wissenswerkstadt / Bielefeld University

"COSMOfit" offers an introduction to space exploration with workshops and an Escape Game.

3 - 2 - 1 - Liftoff! The "COSMOfit" project has started in Bielefeld. Together with researchers from Bielefeld University and Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences (HSBI), Wissenswerkstadt Bielefeld offers an introduction to space research. In addition to children and young people, adults are also addressed.

The "COSMOmission" is an immersive "Escape Game" for which a room in the Volksbank Bielefeld-Gütersloh at the Kesselbrink was transformed into a spaceship cockpit. On the way to the star system Alpha Centauri, the players have to solve various puzzles in order to reach the destination - the fictitious Earth-like planet Gaia. In this way, scientific knowledge from space research is conveyed in an unusual and playful way. Researchers from the Faculties of Physics and Biology at Bielefeld University and researchers and students from the "Digital Media and Experiment" course at Bielefeld University were involved in the development.

In the "COSMOlabs", children and young people as well as adults slip into the role of space explorers and take a closer look at the universe. There are five different workshop topics, developed with researchers from the Faculties of Physics and Biology at the university. Why is it dark at night when there are such an unimaginable number of stars? And can micrometeorites actually be found in the dust from the roof of a university building? Participation in the "COSMOlabs" and the "COSMOmission" is free of charge. Dates are available until mid-December.

COSMOfit takes place as part of the Year of Science 2023 under the theme "Our Universe", initiated by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and Wissenschaft im Dialog (WiD). All those involved in Bielefeld aim to bring topics from space research to a broad public and to convey the fun of curiosity and discovery. The team of the Wissenswerkstadt, whose domicile in the city centre on Wilhelmstraße will open in summer 2024, will also give a foretaste of the future interdisciplinary work of the new Bielefeld institution with "COSMOfit".

Registration at:

More about the Wissenswerkstadt:


Dates and information

COSMOmission - Escape Game

every Friday 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. and Saturday 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. (90 minutes)
Dates until mid-December
Participation is free (from 14 years, children from 8 years accompanied)
Location: Volksbank Bielefeld-Gütersloh am Kesselbrink.
Registration necessary at:

COSMOlabs - Workshops

Workshops from 10 years (children from 8 years accompanied)

"Why is it dark at night?" & "Aristarchus: A Journey through the Solar System".

Workshops from 14 years/adults onwards

"Micrometeorites: In search of space dust", "Enigmatic Universe: How do we find black holes?" & "Enigmatic Universe: What colours do galaxies have?"

The COSMOlabs will take place in the Green Cube (Kesselbrink) and at Bielefeld University.
Participation is free of charge, registration is necessary at:


MSR 1.9.23

Information field theory for experiments on large-scale research equipment

Radiobiology, radioastronomy and cosmic radiation

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the joint project "Information Field Theory for Experiments on Large-scale Research Facilities" as part of its programme Exploring the Universe and Matter (ErUM). The working group of Prof. Dominik Schwarz at Bielefeld University is involved in this project. The project is coordinated by the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (Garching). Prof. Schwarz's group, together with colleagues from the University of Hamburg and the Technical University of Munich, will apply methods of information field theory to problems in radio astronomical imaging. Other project partners are RWTH Aachen, the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the Technical University of Munich, and the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich. Information field theory is a toolbox that allows to obtain a maximum amount of information about physical fields with the support of incomplete measurements and under consideration of measurement errors. In this ErUM-Data project, information field theory methods are further developed for radiation biology, radio astronomy and cosmic particle radiation.

For more details see:

Subkelvin cooling for space travel

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 145 (2023) 7743–7747 / © Universität Bielefeld

Magnetic materials can be used as coolants in ordinary refrigerators or to reach ultracold temperatures to power quantum computers or space telescopes, for example.

Researchers from Herakleion, Edinburgh, Saragosa and Bielefeld have recently succeeded in synthesizing a new material based on gadolinium-containing molecules that has excellent cooling rates at temperatures between 1.5 K and 0.3 K. This is exactly the temperature range that is needed for applications in space telescopes.

The contribution of the Bielefeld-based working group Schnack consists in modeling the material with the support of advanced quantum mechanical methods.

Source: J. Am. Chem. Soc. 145 (2023) 7743-7747

MSR 20.4.23

Exchange Invitation

The Faculty of Physics invites all interested physics teachers to an open exchange on the topic "Physics in school" on March 21, 2023 (2:15 - 3:45 pm). Topics include (professional development) offers for teachers and students as well as the new "Kernlehrplan".
Further information / registration.

LSR, 7.2.23

Nanomembranes with pore molecules for more efficient filtering

Prof. Dr. Dario Anselmetti of Bielefeld University with a spherical model of a cyclodextrin molecule
(c) Universität Bielefeld / Christoph Pelargus

International Research Cooperation with Bielefelder Physicists Publishes Study in Nature (in German)

CP, 1.10.22

New Video from the Department of Physics

Video by Chris Harting
© Bielefeld University / Chris Hartung

Video by Chris Harting (in German)

MSR, 1.10.22

Bachelor's in Physics 2022/23

New Bachelor's course starts in the winter semester of 2022/23. Detailed information can be found here.

MSR, 1.10.22

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