Dear colleagues,

Summer, holidays, ice cream: in keeping with the holiday and travel season, we are taking you to two of the most extreme places on our planet – and beyond: to Greenland and Antarctica. The occasion is the tenth anniversary of IceCube. With the neutrino telescope at the South Pole, which was completed in May 2011, we succeeded for the first time in measuring cosmic neutrinos and finding clear indications of their sources in the universe. We talked to an early DESY "IceCuber" and a potential future one. We also have the most important news from the campus for you and a big request at the very end of this summer newsletter. Wherever you may spend the next few weeks: we wish you carefree, relaxing summer days!

Your DESY inform-team


10 years of IceCube

"Neutrino physicists are a determined lot"

Christian Spiering is a neutrino astrophysicist through and through. For decades, the 73-year-old's research revolved around high-energy radiation, cosmic accelerators and gigantic neutrino detectors with complex light sensors in the perpetual ice of Antarctica, some 15,900 kilometres as the crow flies from DESY's Zeuthen site. His favourite project: IceCube! Spiering headed DESY's IceCube group in Zeuthen, and his team built a number of the characteristic light sensors. In May 2011, the complete detector was put into operation and has since been catching the weak light signals produced when neutrinos collide with atoms in the clear ice of Antarctica. In the meantime, while Spiering has passed the baton, he still takes part in meetings in Zeuthen. By the way, you won't find a souvenir block of ice from the South Pole in his icebox. "I didn't take any.” But you will find stories, visions and ideas of strange galaxies and new projects – Christian Spiering still has them, of course. DESY inform talked to him.


By Christian Stegmann, Director for Astroparticle Physics

"Science at the frontier of knowledge, working in international collaborations, extreme challenges with a touch of adventure: IceCube at the South Pole is a discovery experiment and the best example of exciting, modern astroparticle physics at DESY. DESY and its international partners are working with full force on the extension to IceCube-Gen2 to make astronomy with neutrinos possible in the future. What's more, the detection of radio signals of high-energy neutrinos is a promising way to open the new window to the cosmos even wider. We are taking this path via initial test setups on Greenland, in order to then also install radio antennas at the South Pole as part of IceCube-Gen2. From Zeuthen to Greenland and then to the South Pole.... A new adventure awaits."

"We plant radio antennas into the ice and see what happens"

A facility unlike any other in the world is currently being built in Greenland's glacial ice. Astrophysicists want to use it to detect neutrinos in space. Two young DESY researchers from Zeuthen are also involved. They are part of an international team that wants to use the pilot project "Radio Neutrino Observatory Greenland" (RNO-G) to test how well highly energetic cosmic neutrinos can be detected with radio antennas. DESY inform spoke to Christoph Welling while he was quarantining in Kangerlussuaq for two weeks, waiting for his flight to the Summit Station.


Vaccination campaign in Hamburg: Head of Administration Meike Johannsen, company doctor Karl-Heinz Willig from Zeuthen, company doctor Katharina Bünz from Hamburg, and astroparticle physics spokesperson Stefan Klepser

COVID vaccinations at DESY

Since June, the teams of DESY's occupational physicians Katharina Bünz in Hamburg and Karl-Heinz Willig in Zeuthen have also been vaccinating against COVID. Both teams work closely together to ensure that every DESY staff can receive a vaccination. "There is a great willingness to be vaccinated," says Meike Johannsen, head of the administration department. "We will continue to vaccinate as long as there is demand." The close cooperation between Hamburg and Zeuthen now makes a special vaccination campaign on the Hamburg campus possible, during which about 450 additional DESY staff can be vaccinated.

Anyone who would like to be vaccinated on the Hamburg campus can find all the latest information HERE. Medical questions should be directed to For other vaccination questions, you can also email the following addresses: and:

Coffeebar | Summer mode

Six months ago, the DESY Coffeebar was inaugurated as a digital campus meeting place in the time of COVID. Since then, it's become the favourite and most established place for DESY colleagues to share. The numbers speak for themselves: up to now, there have been over 60 events, which were attended by more than 1400 guests in total. "The kinds of great Coffeebar topics the colleagues come up with is astonishing," says Katja Kroschewski, who started the Coffeebar with her team. "From travelogues from the Antarctic to training dogs. And, on top of all that, town halls with the directors." The DESY Coffeebar is open from 9:00–17:00 on weekdays during the summer. Programmed events will take place once a week. You can find the current overview and access information on the Coffeebar website. All DESY colleagues are, as always, welcome to suggest their own topics or to moderate a session. Just send an email to

Virtual tours at DESY

After almost a year and a half of COVID-related restrictions, DESY will once more welcome guests starting from 17 July. As before, due to the very short-notice planning, these tours will take place as virtual and interactive live tours, which will be led by young scientists as in the days of normal DESY tours. The guests will be guided via a mixed format through a live feed at DESY research sites and would be able to learn everything they've wanted to know about DESY. In order to keep the tours individual and personal, and in order to be able to answer all questions, participation is limited to 60 people per tour and requires registration.

Bouldering park for climbing fans

It's no secret that we at DESY want to reach for the sky. Some colleagues even mean that literally, and they're now building DESY's own bouldering park next to the European XFEL injector building. The highlight: the park is completely organised through the initiative and effort of a group of climbing enthusiasts from DESY's sports community. For their three boulder blocks, they use former shielding stones that the team saved from shredding; the cement and grips are donations. The first section is already in place. When the "DESY Olympus" is finished, it will be 3.20 metres tall and will offer a bouldering area of about 50 square metres. If you want to go bouldering, you are welcome to join the company sports group "Climbing & Bouldering". You can find more information on the page of the DESY sports group.


DESY signs Charter of Diversity

Towards increased diversity: DESY Director Helmut Dosch and DESY Administrative Director Christian Harringa have signed the Charta der Vielfalt, the German Diversity Charter. DESY will now be part of the largest diversity network in Germany. By signing the charter, the research centre makes itself known as active and committed to diversity and positions itself as a prejudice-free, appreciative employer. The initiative has set a goal for itself to advance the recognition, appreciation, and inclusion in the German work environment. So far, around 3900 companies and institutes have signed the Charta der Vielfalt, which was founded in 2006.

DESY's ethics website is online

Science at DESY takes place at the frontiers of today's knowledge, often stepping into completely new fields of research. Situations may arise where researchers have to make decisions and answer ethical questions in the tense region between academic freedom and other value and legal interests. The DESY Commission for Research Ethics, founded in the past year, advises researchers on such ethical issues. Starting immediately on the DESY ethics website, information about the Commission's work and a guide for submissions to the Commission are available.


Medical imaging and animal research at DESY

DESY's large-scale research facilities offer unique opportunities for health research, especially in drug development, cancer, and infection research. This is because synchrotron radiation sources such as PETRA III are perfect instruments for studying cell and tissue samples in their spatial atomic structure. Researchers expect to gain even more precise insights into the progression of diseases and the mechanisms behind medications by studying living organisms. With this in mind, after intensive discussions, the DESY Directorate has decided to allow investigations on animals for health research. At the staff meeting at the end of June, DESY Director Helmut Dosch reported that the first in vivo experiment is now taking shape. A team from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) and Florian Grüner's group at the University of Hamburg will conduct a first experiment with mice in the autumn. Over a longer period of time, the researchers will observe the processes at the cellular level in an animal that is given anaesthesia. The aim of the studies is to understand the immune response in chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, which often lead to cancer. This can provide unique insights into the processes and causes of these diseases and help to develop new drugs and therapies. There will be an open symposium later this year for all colleagues, where researchers from this field will present their work and answer questions. Further details will follow. You can get information in advance on the website of the Science Information Initiative on Animal Testing: (only available in German). If you already have questions about animal experiments and small animal imaging at DESY, you can send them to Maike Bierbaum She will answer your inquiries together with the respective subject matter experts.

DESY Generator Program: for brainstorming and technology transfer ideas

"Self-made" gets a new dimension here: The DESY Generator Program (DGP) is the in-house funding programme for all DESY employees to bring ideas and results faster to the market readiness. A collaboration between MSK and FS shows how this can happen: together they developed a new universal motion controller in MicroTCA.4 Standard. The first prototype, created with support from the DPG, is nearly ready. What can it do? Control many hundreds of distributed motors, move them synchronously, and communicate with other controllers across the campus. The goal is to operate all motors in a beamline at the same time while also accessing data from an experiment's various detectors. In comparison to previous solutions, the new motion controller is more compact, is more cost effective, is combinable with other modern components using the MicroTCA standard, and is compatible with established drivers as well, so that they can continue to be used. In a few months, the prototype will be built into the P24 beamline and tested. If you want to know more information about this new technology, contact Michael Fenner or Martin Tolkiehn.

Beamline for Schools

This year's two winning teams of the international student competition "Beamline for Schools" (BL4S) come from Italy and Mexico. With their proposals for scientific experiments at a particle accelerator, they prevailed amongst almost 300 other teams from across the world. This autumn, the teams will be able to test their research ideas at DESY for two weeks. Scientists from CERN and DESY will be on hand to support them.

Vibrating science

During May, a special vehicle visited DESY: a Vibrotruck put the ground in motion for a study. The new WAVE collaboration between Universität Hamburg, DESY and German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ also took advantage of this, using a new measurement method that employs telecommunications optical fibres to localise vibrations down to metre precision. Weeding out unwanted vibrations could be a big plus for the research campus. More information on the new cooperation will follow.


Helmholtz #Challenge200

This year, the Helmholtz Association celebrates the 200th birthday of its namesake, Hermann von Helmholtz. Through an online campaign, the Association is drawing attention to the fact that we are still today researching grand challenges in his tradition. On the website, 200 big scientific challenges and their possible solutions will be published over the course of the year. Ten of these challenges originate from DESY: from biofibres, to miniaturised accelerators a thousand times smaller as standard, up to astrophysics puzzles.

New platform: Science Chatter Hamburg

Blogs, podcasts, websites, social media – the topic of science communication is becoming more and more important on all channels. Doctoral students and postdocs have a problem, though: the interest and the enthusiasm are there, but the necessary time isn't. In response, PIER, the strategic partnership between DESY and Universität Hamburg, has brought Science Chatter Hamburg to life. On this platform, researchers can publish blog articles, and starting this autumn, podcasts too. Coordinator Theresa Schredelseker helps with personal coaching, tips, and workshops. Like this, everyone who wants to can easily jump into science communication and share a link to their own publicly available blog articles – Theresa is excited to see what you have to offer!


New FEMTO: Out of this world

The current issue of the DESY magazine femto is all about phemomena and processes that normally remain hidden from our eyes. The main story: Multi-Messenger Astronomy, which observes and analyses the cosmos, bringing it a little bit closer to us. The German edition is already out – the English version comes in the next few days.

DESY KOMPAKT newsletter

More digital research news: starting now, DESY colleagues can also subscribe to our external newsletter, DESY KOMPAKT.


SCIENCE DAY 2021: Send us your submissions!

We need you, dear DESY colleagues! We need your photos and videos – namely for a short film for Science Day 2021!

This year's theme: DESY in the time of COVID, from your point of view. How have you experienced the first months of 2021 at DESY? What moments have you captured with your phone? This can range from sadly abandoned laboratories and chaos in home office to joyful reunions with colleagues, from withered office plants to the research routine blossoming anew. Send us the treasures from your smartphone taken in the past months – or use the next weeks and take photos of your nicest moments on the DESY campus.

You'll find more information when you click on the button below. We look forward to your submissions! And in advance: Thank you for taking part!!

The Science Day-Team


DESY inform team:

Project management: Kerstin Straub
Editorial management: Kristin Hüttmann
Editorial team: Christina Mänz, Barbara Warmbein, Thomas Zoufal, Joseph Piergrossi
Production and design: Stefanie Fahlfeder, Britta Liebaug
Picture credits: DESY: Gesine Born, Marta Mayer, Diana von Ilsemann, Britta Liebaug, Christoph Welling, Christian Mrotzek, Cesar Cabello Martinez, R. Dimitrov, NSF/ Freija Descamps, iStock, ScienceCommunication Lab, University of Chicago/ Cosmin Deaconu