Investigating Cosmic Rays: Physics Award for Dr. Anne Schukraft


Each year the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft awards an outstanding female physicist with the Hertha Sponer Prize. The 2014 award goes to Dr. Anne Schukraft for her doctoral dissertation, which provides a better understanding of sources of systematic error and helps to achieve improved experimental sensitivity of the IceCube neutrino observatory.

  © DPG/Kleinod Dr. Anne Schukraft receives the Hertha-Sponer-Preis from the President of the DPG, Professor Johanna Stachel (right) and Professor Getrud Zwicknagl, member of the board at DPG.

IceCube is the world’s  largest  neutrino telescope, located at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. IceCube searches for neutrinos in the high-energy range and records their interactions.

Searching for High Energy Neutrinos of Cosmic Origin

With her most precise measurements of muon neutrinos as yet, Dr. Schukraft may have paved the way for the detection of high-energy neutrinos of cosmic origin, one of the biggest challenges in astroparticle physics. Her discovery in the IceCube experiment has opened up a new window to observe the universe, which has the potential to solve the an over one hundred year old mystery of the origin of cosmic radiation.

Academic Career

Anne Schukraft studied Physics at RWTH Aachen and completed her doctoral degree at the Department of Experimental Physics. Her studies were funded through scholarships from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Deutsche Telekom Foundation; for her outstanding research achievements, she received several awards. Since October 2013, she has been working as a post-doctoral researcher at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Warrenville, USA.

Anne Schukraft will give her award lecture on March 25, 2014, at the spring conference of the Particle Physics Section in Mainz. Several Aachen particle physicists will participate in the conference, including five academic staff and several students, who will provide over 90 conference posters and short presentations.

Promoting Young Female Physicists

The Hertha Sponer Prize is named after the important German physicist Hertha Sponer (1895 - 1968). The prize, which is worth 3000 Euros, is to support female early-career physicists and attract young women to pursue a career in physics.