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Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Linda Young

X-ray physics pioneer is coming to DESY as visiting scholar

Professor Linda Young, one of the pioneers of X-ray laser science, is to receive an International Fellow Award from the Helmholtz Association, having been proposed by DESY. Young intends to use the 20,000 euros associated with the award to visit DESY in Hamburg as a research fellow. The physicist, currently at the Argonne National Laboratory in the United States, is one of the leading international experimental researchers looking into the fundamental interaction between matter and light, in particular X-rays.

Prof. Linda Young. Credit: Wes Agresta/Argonne National Laboratory
Young, who is also a professor at the University of Chicago, played a key role in developing so-called AMO (atomic, molecular and optical) physics at the Argonne National Laboratory and at the LCLS free-electron laser of the US research centre SLAC. Young performed the first scientific experiments at the LCLS, ushering in its routine experimental operation. One of the surprising discoveries made during these first experiments was that shorter, intense X-ray pulses may produce less radiation damage than longer, less intense X-ray pulses carrying the same amount of energy. Nowadays, numerous experiments make use of this fact.

“Linda Young is an outstanding science personality,” underlines the chairman of DESY's board of directors, Prof. Helmut Dosch. “I am very happy that we will be able to welcome her in Hamburg.” Her stay as a visiting scholar at DESY will also further enhance the cooperation with US facilities in the field of AMO physics.

Four other researchers have also received a Helmholtz International Fellow Award along with Young. The award, which has been presented since 2012, is endowed from the Helmholtz President’s Initiative and Networking Fund and targets researchers as well as science managers based outside Germany, who have excelled in their research in fields that are relevant to the Helmholtz Association. In order to be nominated, candidates have to be proposed by a Helmholtz Centre working in a similar field of research. The most important criterion for bestowing the award is the quality of the scientific achievement. The award winners are selected by the Helmholtz Executive Committee.