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Building Blocks of Matter and Fundamental Interactions



Exploring nature at different distance scales to understand how the building blocks of matter interact and how structure and dynamics evolves are key research interests at Bonn University.

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 and 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 of Bonn University, 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.

Even though 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, and Euclid but also its local infrastructure and the connections to the neighboring MPIfR, MPI CEC, caesar, the ABC/J Geoverbund and the Forschungszentrum Jülich make Bonn a unique location for fundamental research.

Chemistry with physical methods

For her research at the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, Jeannine Gleim studies supercritical chemical substances. Find out more about her work.

Free radicals and high-power lasers

At the interface between physics and chemistry, Tim Vogler's goal is to visualize the fate of highly reactive, and therefore short-lived, particles in liquids. See more about his work.


Prof. Dr. Peter Vöhringer
Department for Molecular Physical Chemistry
Institut for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Prof. Dr. Ulrike Thoma
Helmholtz-Institut für Strahlen- und Kernphysik

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