Physics study prize awarded to Ekaterina Ilin and Timon Thomas

17 June 2019. The Physikalische Gesellschaft zu Berlin awards this year's Physics Study Prize to two students who have completed their master theses at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP).
Physics study prize awarded to Ekaterina Ilin and Timon Thomas

Timon Thomas and Ekaterina Ilin. Credit: AIP

The master thesis of Ekaterina Ilin, supervised by Prof. Klaus Strassmeier and Dr. Sydney Barnes, was dedicated to the statistical description of radiation outbursts on stars (flares) in open star clusters. To do this, she examined the light curves of small stars for flares and measured how flare frequencies and energies develop with stellar age. Ekaterina Ilin summarizes the results of her work: "I was able to show that the energies decrease with age and that the decrease depends strongly on stellar mass. I would particularly like to thank Dr. Sarah Schmidt, who supported me as a mentor.“ Ekaterina Ilin continues her studies as a PhD student at the AIP in the Stellar Physics and Exoplanets section with Prof. Katja Poppenhäger.

In his master thesis, Timon Thomas generalized the previous hydrodynamic theories for cosmic rays, so that small-scale effects can be better described. The thesis was supervised by Prof. Christoph Pfrommer at the AIP and apl. Prof. Achim Feldmeier at the University of Potsdam. "My area of interest, the physics of cosmic rays, has a simple problem that is difficult to solve: the interesting scales of cosmic rays are far apart. With the development of a new hydrodynamic theory it is easier to bridge the differences in size on a theoretical level," says Timon Thomas about his work. He also continues his research as a PhD student at the AIP, in the Cosmology and High-Energy Astrophysics section with Prof. Christoph Pfrommer.

The Physics Study Prize of the Physikalische Gesellschaft zu Berlin (PGzB) is awarded for outstanding degrees in the field of physics. This year's award ceremony will take place on 11 July 2019 in the Magnus-Haus in Berlin.

AIP cordially congratulates the two award-winning students on their outstanding graduation.


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The key areas of research at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) are cosmic magnetic fields and extragalactic astrophysics. A considerable part of the institute's efforts aim at the development of research technology in the fields of spectroscopy, robotic telescopes, and e-science. The AIP is the successor of the Berlin Observatory founded in 1700 and of the Astrophysical Observatory of Potsdam founded in 1874. The latter was the world's first observatory to emphasize explicitly the research area of astrophysics. The AIP has been a member of the Leibniz Association since 1992.