Awards and Prizes


RWTH researchers win the 2020 Ars Legendi Faculty Award for Mathematics and Natural Sciences


The phyphox team around Professor Christoph Stampfer, Dr. Sebastian Staacks, and Professor Heidrun Heinke from RWTH’s Department of Physics had been presented with the 2020 Ars Legendi Faculty Award for excellence in teaching.

The team received the prize for developing and making widely available the phyphox physics app, which allows school and university students to experiment with physics concepts. The award is presented in various categories: biosciences, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. Each winning individual or team receives a prize money of 5,000 euros.

By developing and continually enhancing the app, which is available for free on Android and iOS, the team has contributed to improving physics education in schools and universities worldwide. By using the various sensors integrated in modern smartphones, such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, and pressure sensors, phyphox transforms cell phones into physics labs. This opens up entirely new opportunities in teaching and learning: the app enables pupils and students to conduct experiments on their own and to get hands-on experience with data acquisition and analysis.

The award is annually presented by the Stifterverband foundation, the German Mathematical Society, the German Physical Society, the German Chemical Society and the Association of Biology, Biosciences and Biomedicine in Germany. It underlines the importance of university teaching for the education and training of young people in mathematics and the sciences. The career-boosting award provides an incentive for instructors strive for innovation and excellence in teaching and learning.


phyphox wins Archimedes award

The phyphox team has been awarded the "Archimedes award" 2019 by the "Verband zur Förderung des MINT-Unterrichts" (MNU, loosely translated: association to forward STEM education). The award entails 4,000€ sponsored by the Westermann group. It is awarded yearly, alternating in the fields of mathematics and physics, to decorate innovative concepts and teaching methods as well as particularly commited teachers.

The app allows students to use the sensors of their smartphones to conduct physics experiments in physics education. It has been developed at the 2nd Institute of Physics at the RWTH Aachen University under the direction of Prof. Christoph Stampfer and Dr. Sebastian Staacks statt and it is being continuously refined in cooperation with the 1st Institute of Physics under Prof. Heidrun Heinke and a team of PhD students.

The award does not only mention the app itself, but the MNU emphasizes the value of the accompanying material like the demonstration videos. With more than 600,000 installations worldwide phyphox has been establish in many schools since its first release in September 2016.

About phyphox:
MNU article:


Aachen physics students successful at national PLANCKS tournament


Etwa einhundert Physik-Studierende aus ganz Deutschland beteiligten sich in Heidelberg an der deutschen Nationalauswahl für den internationalen studentischen Knobelwettbewerb PLANCKS. Das Team „Schrödingers Chimära“ von der RWTH Aachen mit Valentin Bruch, Philippe Suchsland, Lennart Klebel und Frederik Wangelik erreichte einen hervorragenden zweiten Platz. Damit haben sie sich für das internationale Turnier PLANCKS Ende Mai im dänischen Odense qualifiziert. Wir gratulieren ihnen herzlich und wünschen ihnen viel Erfolg für den internationalen Wettbewerb in Dänemark.

Die Pressemitteilung der DPG finden Sie unter:


DFG to fund high-profile research in Theoretical Particle Physics


The Institute for Theoretical Particle Physics and Cosmology is part of a new Transregional Collaborative Research Center (TRR) operated by RWTH in collaboration with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the University of Siegen and the University of Heidelberg. Starting in January 2019, the TTR entitled "Particle Physics Phenomenology after the Higgs Discovery," will receive 12 million euros in funding over a four-year period. Spokesperson for RWTH will be Professor Michael Krämer from the Chair of Theoretical Physics E.

The RWTH team consisting of Profs. Czakon, Harlander, Kahlhoefer, Krämer and Dr. habil. Worek will work on precision calculations to interpret the measurements at the Large Hadron Collider LHC at CERN in Geneva, and on the development of new methods for the LHC search for dark matter and physics beyond the Standard Model.

More information can be found in the press releases by RWTH Aachen University and by the DFG.


Teaching awards 2016 for PD Dr. Oliver Pooth and Dr. Lars Schreiber

The winners of the teaching awards 2016 Copyright: © FSMPI

This year's teching awards go to

  • Priv.-Doz. Oliver Pooth for his outstanding commitment for the lecture “Physics at the LHC with CMS” and “Physik IV für Lehramtskandidaten”.
  • Dr. Lars Schreiber for his commitment for the programming course accompanying the lecture “Datenverarbeitung in der Physik”

Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics 2016

Handing over of prize Copyright: © Breakthrough Prize

After the Nobel Prize for Physics, another highly renowned science prize is awarded for the discovery and the study of neutrino oscillations. The "Breakthrough Prize for Fundamental Physics" is valued at 3 million US Dollar and goes in the year 2016 to about 1300 scientists of the neutrino experiments Super-Kamiokande, SNO, KamLAND, Daya Bay, K2K and T2K. As members of the T2K collaboration also seven scientists of the III. Physics Institute are among the laureates. The award was handed over to the heads of the different research groups at a ceremony in the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.


BMBF-Funding for Aachen's particle physicists

  Handing over the BMBF funding certificate Copyright: © Peter Winandy Handing over the BMBF funding certificate

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research supports Aachen´s physicists working on the LHC at CERN with a total of 9.4 Million Euros in the coming three years. The Parliamentary State Secretary Mr. Thomas Rachel handed over the grant notification letters to RWTH representatives on July 7th 2015. The above picture (taken by Peter Winandy) shows the professors concerned, Krämer, Hebbeker, Feld, Stahl, Erdmann, Czakon und Schael (not in the photo), RWTH rector Prof. Schmachtenberg and Mr. Rachel, standing next to a model of the CMS detector in the physics lecture hall (Physikhörsaal). Of all German universities the RWTH receives most funding in this field of research. Involved are the Experimental Physics Institutes IB, IIIA, IIIB and the Institute of Theoretical Particle Physics and Cosmology.

Both the LHC accelerator and the detectors have been improved in the last two years. Few weeks ago a new data collection period began, at the new record collision energy of 13 TeV.The funding applies primarily to data analyses with the CMS and LHCb detectors, theory, renewal of detector components and travel. An additional funding was granted for a long-term upgrade of the CMS detector to reach extremely high data rates. Physicists will search for new particles, especially for dark matter. Spurred by the discovery of the Higgs Boson in 2012 they hope for more sensational results in the coming years.


Prof. Barbara Terhal designated Outstanding Referee for Physical Review and Physical Review Letters


The Outstanding Referee program expresses appreciation for the essential of anonymous peer reviewers do for our journals. Each year about 150 of the 65,000 active referees are selected and honored with the Outstanding Referee designation. Selections are made based on the number, quality, and timeliness of referee reports. More … (link to


ERC Starting Grants for Norbert Schuch and Martin Salinga


Two researchers of the physics department were awarded a "Starting Grant" by the European Research Council, which is one of Europe's most prestigious and competitive funding schemes.Martin Salinga will investigate the use of amorphous semiconductors to emulate the behavior of brain cells (neurons) for neuromorphic computing, with the hope of adopting insights for brain research for computing. Norbert Schuch aims to develop new methods to describe strongly correlated electron systems in which quantum correlations play an important role.


The German Physical Society (DPG) awards Prof. Thomas Bretz the Gustav-Hertz-Preis 2015 for his outstanding work on the FACT telescope.


Prof. Bretz is junior professor at the III. Physikalischen Institut A since October this year. We gratulate him on this most distinguished German physics award for young scientists.
Futher Informationen on the Gustav-Hertz-Preis and the laudation is available at the DPG website. The award will be handed over in March 2015 on the "DPG-Jahrestagung" in Berlin.