Association of Friends and Sponsors awards PhD students

Johann Haber

From left: DESY director Helmut Dosch, Volodymyr Myronenko, VFFD chairperson Friedrich-Wilhelm Büßer and Johann Haber (photo: DESY/B. Stachowske).

On Wednesday, two outstanding doctoral theses were awarded prizes by the Association of Friends and Supporters of DESY, VFFD. This year’s doctoral students’ prize is being conferred in equal parts on Volodymyr Myronenko and Johann Haber. The prize itself is worth 3000 euros in total and was presented on Wednesday as part of DESY’s Science Day.

Johann Haber is from Bonn and studied in Berlin and Göttingen before coming to DESY and the University of Hamburg to do a PhD at the PETRA III storage ring. His pioneering doctoral thesis deals with quantum optics as applied to hard X-rays and will help to further establish this new field of research at modern X-ray sources. In his dissertation, Haber examines how the quantum optical phenomenon of strong coupling between light and matter can be applied in the case of X-rays. Using the nuclear resonance scattering of synchrotron radiation on the so-called Mössbauer isotope 57Fe, he was able to clearly demonstrate such coupling. Beyond this, he showed that the collective Lamb shift of atomic energy levels can also be observed in the inner-shell resonances of transition metals. His research reveals highly original ways in which quantum optical concepts can be implemented in the field of X-rays and thereby opens up outstanding prospects for further applications, in particular for future experiments at X-ray free-electron sources such as European XFEL. Only recently, Haber was also awarded the Helmholtz PhD Prize.

Volodymyr Myronenko is from Ukraine, where he studied physics in Kiev and was awarded a master’s degree in Theoretical Physics with a dissertation on particle physics (specifically HERA). In 2016, he did his PhD at DESY and the University of Hamburg, submitting a thesis on physics at HERA. In his doctoral thesis, Myronenko combines and analyses the inclusive neutral and charged current cross-sections for lepton-proton scattering which were measured in the H1 and ZEUS experiments at the HERA storage ring. This combined data is fundamental to extracting the parton distribution functions and the unique legacy of the HERA accelerator. The measured couplings of the up quark are the most precise values that have ever been recorded by an accelerator. Myronenko also determined the mixing of electromagnetic and weak forces over a very wide range for the first time, as well as presenting experiments on the internal surfaces of superconducting 9-cell niobium resonators.

The prize for doctoral students is awarded once a year by the association VFFD for the best doctoral theses that are conducted at DESY and completed between 1 April of the previous and 31 March of the current year.