60 years of DESY – From Hamburg particle accelerator to global research centre

Germany’s largest accelerator centre turns 60 on 18 December 2019

The story of DESY began on 18 December 1959 with the signing of a contract in Hamburg’s town hall. It is a story of success, for global research and for Germany as a science hub! For the past 60 years, fundamental research has been carried out at DESY in Hamburg-Bahrenfeld – which was joined in 1991 by a second DESY site in Zeuthen. In those 60 years, DESY has become a world leader in accelerator technology, structure research, particle physics and astroparticle physics. During these 60 years, DESY has developed pioneering technologies, which have been used by scientists from all over the world to make outstanding advances. Among other things, the gluon was discovered and the structure of ribosomes was determined at DESY.
“It is now a question of the big challenges of our times,” says DESY’s director Professor Helmut Dosch. “We have developed a new generation of research tools in the form of so-called X-ray lasers. These afford fundamental insights in medicine and in materials engineering, for example, which will help shape the world of tomorrow.” DESY offers unique conditions for this: the combination of the radiation sources PETRA III, FLASH and European XFEL means that international scientists can carry out experiments using high-intensity X-rays. In addition to this, DESY offers structure researchers and businesses from all over the world a unique “toolbox” in the form of supplementary methods for manufacturing, processing and examining nano-samples and nanomaterials. DESY’s second site in Zeuthen is also an international magnet as a growing centre of excellence in astroparticle physics. Zeuthen operates the only accelerator in Brandenburg and is one of the largest scientific institutions in the region.

>Read more on the DESY website

Image: Part of the DESY staff in Hamburg holds the DESY-60 logo
Credit: DESY/H. Müller-Elsner