by Michael Weber & Eberhard Widmann . Published: 29 July 2015

The predecessor of the Stefan Meyer Institute (SMI) in Vienna, Austria, was founded in 1910 as the Institute for Radium Research and is associated with the Austrian Academy of Science. Many well-known scientists worked at the institute, two of them awarded with the Nobel Prize: Victor Hess in 1936 (for the discovery of cosmic rays) and George de Hevesy (for the development of a novel radioactive tracer method).

In 2004 the institute was renamed to “Stefan Meyer Institute for Subatomic Physics” and was declared as a “historic site” by the European Physical Society in 2015.

Unveiling of the commemorative plaque for the “EPS historic site"

The Institute’s research focuses on the study of fundamental symmetries and interactions and can be divided in two fields: precision experiments at low energies and hadronic physics.

The SMI is involved in antihydrogen studies at the CERN-AD (hyperfine spectroscopy testing CPT symmetry, ASACUSA collaboration, and measurement of the gravitational interaction of antimatter, AEgIS collaboration), the search for violations of the Pauli principle with VIP, and precision measurements of the neutron decay with NoMoS@FRM-II.

In order to study QCD in the non-perturbative regime, the SMI is involved in experiments using light quark systems (kaonic atoms and meson-nucleon bound states at DAFNE and J-PARC, pionic and η’ bound states at RIKEN and GSI) and heavy quarks (charmonium and other heavy hadrons with BELLE at KEKB and the future PANDA experiment at FAIR).

The research on hadronic physics expanded in July 2015 to the highest accessible beam energies in heavy ion collisions with the “New Frontier Group” of Michael Weber joining the ALICE collaboration.

The proposal “Studying the quark gluon plasma via low mass dileptons” was selected for funding by the Austrian Academy of science and will focus on the data analysis of LHC Run 2 data. Furthermore, other members of the institute are interested in joining the ALICE collaboration in order to continue their studies in heavy-ion collisions at LHC energies.

Finally, it should be added that the Stefan Meyer Institute has a long history in developing advanced detectors as well as cryogenic and UHV systems needed to perform experiments. In particular, novel photon detectors (silicon photomultipliers, SiPM) used in Cherenkov detectors were studied/developed. For this reason, the SMI is planning to join the Fast Interaction Trigger (FIT) project of ALICE, which is part of the detector upgrade for LHC Run 3.

For more information on the institute and its projects, visit: