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Christian Spiering honored prestigious award in research of cosmic rays


Professor at MEPhI Institute of Nuclear Physics and Technology Christian Spiering has been honored a prestigious award in the research of cosmic rays, O’Ceallaigh Medal, “for his outstanding contributions to cosmic ray physics and to the newly emerging field of neutrino astronomy in particular”.

Spiering has worked at the Institute for High-Energy Physics of the Academy of Science of the GDR in Zeuthen, which in 1991 became part of DESY. In 1988, Spiering and his group joined the Baikal experiment, which in 1996 achieved the world’s first detection of high-energy neutrinos in a big volume of deep water by measuring Cherenkov light from charged particles emerging from neutrino reactions.

In parallel, Spiering had a leading role in the construction of the AMANDA neutrino telescope in the ice shield of the South Pole, which became a predecessor of the largest in the world neutrino detector IceCube of the volume of 1 km3 in the ice of Antarctics. Since 2012 IceCube has been recording neutrino in PeV energy field. Christian Spiering is an official representative of collaborations AMANDA and IceCube at international scientific scene.

“It took 25 years from the time I entered this field to IceCube’s discovery cosmic neutrinos! You don’t get through that without stamina, persistent curiosity, and enthusiasm – and equally enthusiastic and competent colleagues and friends. I am really grateful that I could help shape such a thrilling piece of research,” Christian Spiering says.

His collaborators praise Christian’s professionalism, leadership in challenging situations, such as at Lake Baikal, when the collapse of the research infrastructure in the Soviet Union made for difficult working circumstances, or in other cases when unbiased judgment, diplomatic skills, and physics vision are needed.

Since 2015 C.Spiering is Professor of Scientific-research centre NEVOD and gives a unique course of lectures “Neutrino physics” to Master’s degree students in direction “Physics of particles of high and superhigh energies (03.04.02 Physics)”.

Christian Spiering at the South Pole in 2002. Image courtesy of Christian Spiering.


The O’Ceallaigh Medal was established by the estate of Cormac O’Ceallaigh, who for more than 30 years (from 1953 to 1984) supervised the research of cosmic rays at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. The medal is awarded twice a year. It is awarded to scientists who have made distinguished contributions to Cosmic Ray Physics. Previously the award was honoured to outstanding Russian scientists, academicians G.T.Zatsepin and V.L.Ginzburg.

The medal will be presented to Professor Christian Spiering on 13 July 2017, as part of the opening ceremony at the biennial International Cosmic Ray Conference in South Korea.



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