The PANDA Experiment will be one of the key experiments at the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) which is under construction and currently being built on the area of the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt, Germany. The central part of FAIR is a synchrotron complex providing intense pulsed ion beams (from p to U). Antiprotons produced by a primary proton beam will then be filled into the High Energy Storage Ring (HESR) which collide with the fixed target inside the PANDA Detector.

The PANDA Collaboration with more than 420 scientist from 18 countries intends to do basic physics research on various topics around the weak and strong forces, exotic states of matter and the structure of hadrons. In order to gather all the necessary information from the antiproton-proton collisions a versatile detector will be build being able to provide precise trajectory reconstruction, energy and momentum measurements and very efficient identification of charged particles

Currently the collaboration with Russian Institutes is suspended. For details see statement from GSI.

Prof. Dr. Carlo Guaraldo at the office

With great sadness we have received the message, that Carlo Guaraldo passed away.
He was a great hadron physicist and one like nobody else who was building bridges between people and who paved the way into the future.
We will miss him vey much and keep his memory.

Carlo Guaraldo (1938-2024) was a key figure and a pillar of the Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati (LNF) of the Italian Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), as well as of the European hadronic physics community.

Born in Torino, Guaraldo studied physics at Sapienza University in Rome, and his scientific interest was the understanding of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD). 

He began his scientific career in the 1960s at the Frascati Laboratories, where he investigated the nuclear structure by studying pion scattering on various nuclei and a wide range of photoreactions. He eventually became the head of the local facility LEALE (Laboratorio Esperienze Acceleratore Lineare Elettroni) where these activities were conducted.

A member of the Torino-Frascati-Dubna collaboration (TOFRADUP) and leader of the ALFA3 project, Guaraldo started participating in experiments at the CERN Low Energy Antiproton Ring in the 1980s. He was involved in PS179 and later in the OBELIX (PS201) experiment, where he and Tullio Bressani from Torino University served as spokesmen. The OBELIX experiment aimed to conduct spectroscopy of exclusive hadronic states produced via antiproton and antineutron interactions under various conditions. Guaraldo was a driving force in the collaboration, proposing several research lines including Pontecorvo reactions and exotic hadron spectroscopy, with particular interest in the H-dibaryon and the E/iota resonance.

In the 1990s, Guaraldo supported the realization of the DAFNE complex. He played a crucial role in defining the scientific program for the new facility and, along with Bressani, secured approval for a nuclear physics program at DAFNE, initially intended solely for CP-violation and fundamental symmetries studies. After contributing to the approval of the FINUDA experiment (Fisica NUcleare a DAfne), he shifted focus to establish a new research line: the study of kaonic atoms. This research has been enduring, extending the scientific life of the facility to the present days. Guaraldo served as spokesperson for the DEAR and SIDDHARTA experiments, which achieved the world most precise measurements on kaonic atoms.

At the turn of the millennium, Guaraldo was a pioneer in promoting cooperative efforts across the hadron physics community. He initiated and led a series of successful projects funded by the EU commission, coordinating the HadronPhysics, HadronPhysics2, and HadronPhysics3 initiatives from 2004 to 2014. These projects provided open access to six world-class experimental facilities (COSY, MAMI, LNF, ELSA, GSI/FAIR, and CERN) and the European Centre for Theoretical Physics ECT* in Trento, fostering new developments in hadron physics. This was certainly the most complex and challenging managerial activity Carlo Guaraldo pursued, but having been involved in many other important committees, he was well trained for this role.

Guaraldo's extensive managerial experience included serving on the INFN Management Board, the Program Advisory Committee of FZ Jülich, and the executive board of the DIRAC (PS212) CERN experiment. He was involved in financial working groups for the FAIR project in Darmstadt and the X-FEL project in Hamburg, and held roles in cooperative activities between INFN and various international organizations such as the Institute for Nuclear Physics (INP) in Novosibirsk, the Moscow Meson Factory Troizk, the Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics (ITEP) in Moscow, and the Institute for Research and Development for Physics and Nuclear Engineering (IFIN-HH) in Bucharest.

Beyond his professional achievements, Carlo Guaraldo was known as a kind and friendly person with broad cultural interests. Curious and open-minded, he was a mountain lover and a tenacious cyclist. His presence will be missed, along with the coffee he made with his own moka machine for visitors to his office.

Paola Gianotti

Anna Alicke received the PANDA PhD Prize 2023
during the Collaboration Meeting in Münster

The PANDA PhD Prize 2023 was awarded to Anna Alicke (FZ Jülich/Germany) for her thesis “Development of fast track finding algorithms for densely packed straw tube trackers and its application to Ξ hyperon reconstruction for the PANDA experiment". In the course of her thesis, she developed two new tracking algorithms and combined these primary and secondary trackers to achieve the highest efficiency, which was tested on reactions with multiple secondary vertices. But the algorithm can also be used for other densely packed straw tube trackers. The prize was presented by the spokesperson during the PANDA Collaboration Dinner in Münster on March 6, 2024.

The Panda Collaboration has awarded the PhD Prize once per year since 2013 in order to honor the best dissertation written in connection with the Panda Experiment. In her dissertation, Physicist Anna Alicke studied hyperon production and reactions within the Panda detector, which is being built at the FAIR accelerator facility.

The Panda Collaboration awards the PhD Prize to specifically honor students’ contributions to the Panda project. Candidates for the PhD Prize are nominated by their doctoral advisors. In addition to being directly related to the Panda Experiment, the nominees’ doctoral degrees must have received a rating of “very good” or better. Up to three candidates are shortlisted for the award and can present their dissertations at the Panda Collaboration meeting. The winner is chosen by a committee that is appointed for this task by the Panda Collaboration.

Prof. Dr. Helmut Koch at the Collaboration
Meeting 2018, where he received the
PANDA Lifetime Membership Award.

On April 8th, 2024 our friend, colleague, teacher and mentor Helmut Koch has died. 

It was a shocking moment for many of us when we realized that Helmut Koch is no longer with us. We learnt so much from him and knew him as an excellent scientist, teacher, mentor, leader and a very friendly person. We will always remember him for his gentle, human nature and for his numerous contributions to the field of hadron physics.

Many of us have stories with or about him to share or just want to express their feelings and thoughts.

Therefore we prepared an online Book of Condolences which we want to hand over at the end to his wife.

Please, slow down your daily routine for a moment and share some memories with us. You can do so very easily if you are logged in: Just follow this link. If you have photos from Helmut Koch, you can share them as well. They will be visible by PANDA users only, whereas the condolence text is readable for anybody. 

In case of technical problems, please contact Udo.   

Helmut Koch began his physics studies at the Technical University of Aachen in 1960. The 1960s were also the time in which the quark model was developed and accelerators continued to deliver new, surprising results. It is not known whether this motivated Helmut Koch to devote himself to strong interaction, i.e. the physics of quarks and gluons, but he devoted the rest of his scientific life to this subject.

At CERN, in Prof. Backenstoss' group, he therefore devoted himself to exotic atoms, in which for example the electron was replaced by a pion and the strong interaction influences the orbits of the pions. His dissertation was entitled "Determination of the width of pionic 2p levels from intensity measurements on 2p-1s X-ray lines.”.

After strange quarks became available, Helmut Koch investigated kaonic atoms and hypernuclei at the first low-energy kaon beam at the CERN PS. The subsequent availability of antimatter in the form of antiprotons immediately began to fascinate him. He co-authored a publication on the “Observation of Antiprotonic Atoms”. Antiprotons were with him ever since and the search for exotic forms of matter determined his research from then on. He searched for baryonium states at CERN, and very quickly recognized the potential of a new storage ring for antiprotons, the Low Energy Antiproton Ring (LEAR).

The presence of cooled, background-free antiprotons allowed the study of the strong interaction to be taken to a whole new level. The annihilation of quarks and antiquarks in the form of protons with antiprotons to gluons is a unique way to understand the strong interaction. A detector based on modern high-energy experiments, the Crystal Barrel Detector, was installed at LEAR under Helmut Koch's leadership. From then on, there was a new quality feature for the spectroscopic investigation of hadrons with light quarks. As a well-known particle physicist at CERN, Lucien Montanet, once remarked only half-jokingly, the quality criterion "4-star resonance" only existed if the particle had been observed accordingly by Crystal Barrel. Many high-quality publications resulted from the experiment during its seven-year run.

At the same time, Helmut Koch was planning for the time after Crystal Barrel. He was a member of a study group that wanted to build a European Hadron Facility, which like the SuperLEAR project went unrealized, as both were in financial competition with larger CERN expansions. However, Helmut Koch was able to continue the spectroscopic investigation of hadrons with the Babar experiment in Stanford, California, and at the ELSA accelerator in Bonn. When the opportunity arose to build another dedicated antiproton machine on European soil, Helmut Koch was fully committed to the project. It is thanks to his contribution that antiproton physics is part of the new FAIR facility in Darmstadt. The “A” in FAIR stands for antiprotons. Unfortunately, the PANDA experiment, which offers new and unique opportunities to study hadrons, is coming too late for him.

Finally, a word about the man and university professor Helmut Koch. He earned his Habilitation in Karlsruhe while working at CERN, and then became a C3 professor in Karlsruhe before accepting a C4 professorship in Bochum in 1990—something he never regretted because he felt very welcome here. Above all, Helmut Koch was a true gentleman and humanist, always friendly and caring, someone who appreciated and supported his students and colleagues. He has always been willing to serve the hadron physics community, be it as a reviewer, conference organizer or DPG section chairman. Even in critical situations, he always remained level-headed and never a bad word came from him. His considerate and gracious demeanor also made him a popular companion on sailing trips, which were one of his favorite pastimes on vacation. Beautiful sailing trips and gourmet dinners followed by a good glass of red wine are also among my personal unforgettable memories of a great person and mentor: Helmut Koch.

Ulrich Wiedner


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