Building Blocks of Matter and Fundamental Interactions (TRA Matter)

© Bialek/Uni Bonn

The formation of complex structures based on the fundamental building blocks of matter and their interactions is investigated from subnuclear and subatomic over atomic, molecular, bio-molecular to terrestrial and astronomical length scales, increasing the knowledge of mankind on the fundamentals of nature. Sophisticated and highly visible experiments are done in the synthetic, analytical, spectroscopy, optics and detector laboratories at various Institutes at the University of Bonn, at its electron accelerator ELSA, and colliders worldwide as well as at observatories on the ground and in space. These experiments are complemented by world-leading theoretical calculations which in part also surpass the boundaries presently accessible by experiment. This research is highly recognized internationally and is supported within several coordinated research programs.

Scientific networks of chemists, physicists, biologists, pharmacists, geologists, and many more address highly challenging questions by exploring nature at all relevant distance scales. Even though the investigations are largely driven by curiosity to understand the inner workings of nature, they also lead to numerous spin-offs for technology and society such as detector technologies, first steps toward quantum technology, image analysis and rational molecular design.

Intensified collaboration between the various research groups crossing the boundaries of the different fields of science benefits not only the research but also the education of our students. Strong connections not only to large scale research infrastructures worldwide, such as CERN, FAIR, KEK, BESSY, ALMA, eROSITA , Euclid, and Athena, but also its local infrastructure and the connections to the institutions of the Max-Planck Society (MPIfR, MPI CEC, caesar), the ABC/J Geoverbund and the Forschungszentrum Jülich make Bonn a unique location for fundamental research.

Cluster of Excellence: ML4Q - Matter and Light for Quantum Computing

About TRA
© Raul Varzar on unsplash

About TRA Matter

Mission, Objectives, Organisation

© Markus Winkler on unsplash


Profile, Areas, Awards 

© Jordan Ladikos on unsplash



© Fabio Bracht on unsplash


Members, Partners

Our members

The scientific network of TRA Matter continues to grow and consists of members from different disciplines (e.g. Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Molecular Biomedicine, Geodesy, Pharmacy).

© Meike Böschemeyer / Uni Bonn

Clausius Professorship

We are pleased to welcome Jun.-Prof. Lena Funcke as new Clausius professor of TRA Matter at the University of Bonn as of November 1st, 2022. The research of Funcke and her team focuses on the development of new models and computational methods to tackle the fundamental questions of particle physics.

© Volker Lannert / Uni Bonn

Argelander Professorship

We are pleased to welcome Jun.-Prof. Patrycja Kielb as new Argelander professor of TRA Matter at the University of Bonn. Kielb and her team explore how nature performs complicated redox reactions constituting key processes in the environment and life, like biomass degradation and/or cellular respiration and how such a knowledge can be harnessed in the development of biohybrid systems

Current Highlights

„ERC Proof of Concept Grant“ for Prof. Dr. Simon Stellmer

05. May 2023

Prof. Dr. Simon Stellmer, scientist at the „Physikalisches Institut“ and member of the Transdisciplinary Research Area (TRA) "Building Blocks of Matter and Fundamental Interactions" at the University of Bonn has been awarded with an ERC Proof of Concept Grant. This grant will provide him funding (150.000 EUR) for his research project “GyroRevolution” over the next year. Preliminary work was funded by TRA Matter. Congratulations to Prof. Stellmer and his team!

Please see the press release for further information.

New TRA Clausius Professor for Computational Quantum Field Theory at the University of Bonn

27. March 2023

In seeking answers to the fundamental questions of particle physics, Jun.-Prof. Dr. Lena Funcke will develop new models beyond the Standard Model of particle physics and apply novel computational methods for calculating model predictions at the University of Bonn. This will be a new interdisciplinary research focus at the University of Bonn in the Transdisciplinary Research Area “Matter”. For more information, please read the press release or browse the following website.

© Birgit Westernströer / Uni Bonn

First TRA Workshop on "Data Science and Data Management"

17./18. January 2023

About 100 scientists from the University of Bonn and all 6 TRAs met for the first time on January 17 and 18, 2023 at the Wissenschaftszentrum in Bonn to address the topic of "Data Science and Data Management" and exchange ideas on current challenges. In terms of content, the exchange was promoted by offering interesting scientific and service-oriented talks, posters and hands-on workshops. Results from this workshop will also be summarized in a white paper. The organizers were very satisfied overall and loved a very lively discussion culture, so that a follow-up event on this important topic is already being considered.

Simulation provides images from the carbon nucleus

What does the inside of a carbon atom’s nucleus look like? A new study by Forschungszentrum Jülich, Michigan State University (USA) and the University of Bonn provides the first comprehensive answer to this question. In the study, the researchers simulated all known energy states of the nucleus. These include the puzzling Hoyle state. If it did not exist, carbon and oxygen would only be present in the universe in tiny traces. Ultimately, we therefore also owe it our own existence. The study has now been published in the journal “Nature Communications.”

International Network for Equal Opportunity and Inclusion Wins Award

The German Chemical Society (GDCh) is to present the Hildegard Hamm-Brücher Prize for Equal Opportunities in Chemistry to the project entitled “Women In Supramolecular Chemistry (WISC) – an international network supporting equality, diversity and inclusion within supramolecular chemistry.” The team led by Assistant Professor Dr. Anna McConnell from the University of Siegen will receive the award on September 4 at an event to mark the opening of the GDCh Science Forum Chemistry (WiFo) in Leipzig. Also on board is Dr. Larissa von Krbek from the Kekulé Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Bonn. The researcher is head of an Emmy Noether research unit and a member of the Matter Transdisciplinary Research Area.

Two ERC Proof of Concept Grants for the University of Bonn

Two researchers from the University of Bonn have been awarded a Proof of Concept Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) as part of a program designed to help researchers translate their ideas from previous ERC projects into commercial applications. Biologist Prof. Dr. Bernardo S. Franklin from the University Hospital Bonn and physicist Prof. Dr. Simon Stellmer will thus each receive €150,000 over a period of around one year.

On the trail of the big questions of particle physics

In seeking an explanation to what holds the world together at its core, particle physicists face many unresolved mysteries. The matter and energy we know make up only five percent of the cosmos; but what is the remaining “dark matter” and “dark energy” made of? Why is there so much matter but so little antimatter in the universe? And why do the second most common known particles in the universe, called neutrinos, have such tiny masses? To answer these fundamental questions, the new Clausius Professor Jun.-Prof. Dr. Lena Funcke and her team are developing models beyond the Standard Model of particle physics and applying novel computational methods for calculating model predictions for future experiments. This will be a new research focus at the University of Bonn in the Transdisciplinary Research Area “Building Blocks of Matter and Fundamental Interactions” (TRA “Matter”).

Press archive

Press archive of the University of Bonn, related to TRA Matter

On the trail of the big questions of particle physics (Press release 27.03.2023)

New ATLAS result weighs in on the W boson (Press release 23.03.2023)

Helium-burning white dwarf discovered (Press release 23.03.2023)

European Football Championship with side effects (Press release 20.01.2023)

Physical effect also valid in the quantum world (Press release 20.01.2023)

Astronomy: Observation puzzles researchers (Press release 26.10.2022)

Therapeutic drug renders cancer cell weapon harmless (Press release 24.08.2022)

No trace of dark matter halos (Press release 05.08.2022)

Four ERC Grants for the University of Bonn (Press release 25.07.2022)

Dormant black hole discovered outside our galaxy (Press release 19.07.2022)

University and Nobel Laureates Celebrate Rudolph Clausius as Visionary (Press release 14.07.2022)

Dating for researchers at the Bundeskunsthalle (Press release 09.06.22)

1.5 million euros for improved quantum sensors (Press release 25.04.2022)

Successful spin-off from the University of Bonn and LSI (Press release 25.04.2022)

Study shows how bioactive substance inhibits important receptor (Press release 25.03.2022)

Three ERC Grants for the University of Bonn at once (Press release 17.03.2022)

Too many disk galaxies than theory allows (Press release 04.02.2022)

Protons are probably actually smaller than long thought (Press release 04.02.2022)

“Bonn is the proper place for Clausius to be memorialized” (Press release 24.1.2022)

"Heavy" hydrogen stabilizes drugs (Press release 23.12.2021)

Chemists design "molecular sea of flags" (Press release 26.11.2021)

Kekulé's shattered dream: snakes become ladders (Press release 16.11.2021)

University of Bonn’s Research and Technology Center for Detector Physics gets ceremonial opening (Press release 09.11.2021)

Researchers film fundamental life process (Press release 27.10.2021)

Between nature and technology (Press release 04.10.2021)

Artificial intelligence sharpens the view into space (Press release 30.08.2021)

Transformation in the particle zoo - Study led by the University of Bonn finds evidence of a long-sought effect in CERN data (Press release 18.08.2021)

Physicist honored for excellent teaching (Press release 02.07.2021)

Matter highway in space makes galaxy clusters grow (Press release 28.06.2021)

Researchers investigate structural changes in snap-frozen proteins (Press release 27.04.2021)

Ulf-G. Meißner receives an ERC Advanced Grant (Press release 12.04.2021)

A new state of light (Press release 30.03.2021)

Molecule attacks coronavirus in a novel way (Press release 26.03.2021)

When memory qubits and photons get entangled (Press release 12.03.2021)

Innovations through hair-thin optical fibres (Press release 20.01.21)

Researchers develop sustainable catalysis process (Press release 18.01.2021)

Physicists observe competition between magnetic orders (Press release 06.01.2021)

Chemists synthesize "flat" silicon compounds (Press release 22.12.2020)

Longest intergalactic gas filament discovered (Press release 17.12.2020)

Forschungsgroßvorhaben gehen in neue Runde (Press release 27.11.2020)

Catalyst enables reactions with the help of green light (Press release 20.04.2020)

Press review

LHCb releases first set of data to the public (8.12.2022)

Events & Offers

Here you will find information on ongoing events (e.g. TRA Matter Colloquium, Networking events) and offers of TRA Matter.

Mission Networking.png
© Uni Bonn

We invite a limited number of open-minded early career scientists (PhD, Postdocs) to MISSION NETWORKING, an exclusive event at Deutsches Museum Bonn.


Here you will find links, videos and announcements related to TRA Matter or from past events.


TRA Management

Dr. Birgit Westernströer

TRA Manager

Stabsstelle für strategische Entwicklung und Qualitätssicherung

Prorektorat für Forschung und wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchs

Tel.: +49 (0) 15152560751



Prof. Dr. Connie C. Lu

Institut für Anorganische Chemie

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Neubert

Helmholtz-Institut für Strahlen- und Kernphysik

The other TRAs at the University of Bonn

Get an interesting insight into the other Transdisciplinary Research Areas (TRAs) of the University of Bonn here. 

Six TRAs: the research profile of the University of Bonn 

TRA Mathematics, Modelling and Simulation of Complex Systems

TRA Life and Health

TRA Individuals, Institutions and Societies

TRA Past Worlds and Modern Questions. Cultures Across Time and Space

TRA Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Futures

Wird geladen