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670. WE-Heraeus-Seminar


Dear colleagues, we would like to cordially welcome you to the 670th Wilhelm and Else Heraeus-Seminar "Fundamental Constants: Basic Physics and Units" which will be held from May 13th, 2018 to May 18th, 2018 at Physikzentrum Bad Honnef near Bonn in Germany. This seminar is generously funded by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation.

The goal of the seminar is to bring together experts who share their interest in physics of fundamental constants. During the workshop we will consider the questions of a definition of fundamental constants, relation of these constants with physical laws, and of their minimal set. Together with discussion of basic ideas and theories, emphasis will be also placed on the high-precision experiments aiming determination of the fundamental constants. The impact of this experimental data for metrology applications as well as for our understanding of Nature will be also in the focus of discussions.

Topics covered in the seminar include the following questions:

  • What are fundamental constants? How many of those do we need?
  • Are fundamental constants varying in space and time?
  • What are current best values of fundamental constants? How are they measured?
  • How we can use future atomic and nuclear clocks to re-define the second?
  • How violations of symmetries of Nature are related to the variation of fundamental constants?
  • What are new data about the proton radius and how do they impact the values of fundamental constants?

The ceremony for awarding the prestigious Helmholtz Prize in 2018 will be part of the Heraeus-Seminar. It is dedicated for outstanding scientific achievements in the field of "Precision Measurements in Physics, Chemistry and Medicine". Established in 1973, this prize is considered as the most prestigious one in the field of precision measurements and, since 2015, comes in two categories namely "fundamental principles" and "applications".

The conference language will be English. Please note that the total number of participants is limited. The organizers invite PhD students to apply and to contribute to the poster session. Female researchers are particularly encouraged, since the WE-Heraeus Foundation seeks to support women in science.


The seminar will take place at


Physikzentrum Bad Honnef

Hauptstr. 5

53604 Bad Honnef


The Physikzentrum is run by the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft e.V. (German Physical Society) and supported by the University of Bonn and the state North Rhine-Westphalia.

The stately mansion housing the Physikzentrum is surrounded by a park at the foot of the Siebengebirge ("the Seven Hills") on the right bank of the Rhine River. In the immediate neighbourhood an extensive net of hiking-paths in Germany's oldest nature preserve invites pleasant short or long walks.

Physikzentrum Bad Honnef can be easily reached both by car and by public transport. To plan your journey, please, follow the link: Opens external link in new windowhttp://www.dpg-physik.de/

Invited Speakers

Invited talks will be presented in six sessions, each of which will focus on a certain aspect of the physics of fundamental constants, and one evening lecture. 


What are fundamental constants? How many of those do we need?

·         John D. Barrow (Cambridge, UK) 

·         Jean-Philippe Uzan (Paris, France) 

·         Christof Wetterich (Heidelberg, Germany) 

·         Gabriele Veneziano (CERN, Switzerland) 


Time variation of fundamental constants

·         Marianna Safronova (Delaware, USA) 

·         Ekkehard Peik (PTB, Germany) 

·         Wim Ubachs (Amsterdam, The Nederland) 

·         Mikhail Kozlov (St. Petersburg, Russia) 


Metrology, fundamental constants and their best values

·         Klaus von Klitzing (Stuttgart, Germany) 

·         Holger Müller (Berkeley, USA) 

·         Sven Sturm (Heidelberg, Germany) 

·         Barry Wood (NRC, Canada)


Future of time (Definition of second)

·         Hidetoshi Katori (RIKEN, Japan)

·         Jun Ye (NIST, USA) 

·         Gesine Grosche (PTB, Germany) 

·         Peter Thirolf (München, Germany) 

·         David Hume (NIST, USA) 


Fundamental constants, symmetries and anti-world

·         Stefan Ulmer (CERN, Switzerland) 

·         Stefan Eriksson (Swansea, UK) 

·         Masaki Hori (München, Germany)

·         Tanya Zelevinsky (Columbia, USA)


Fundamental constants and proton radius

·         Randolf Pohl (Mainz, Germany) 

·         Vladimir Yerokhin (St. Petersburg, Russia)

·         François Nez (Paris, France) 


Evening “after dinner” lecture

·         Terry Quinn (BIPM, France)



The seminar will start on Sunday (May 13th, 2017) with a welcome evening lecture and will end on Friday (May 18th, 2018) at lunch time. We schedule 30 talks each 35 minute long plus 10 minutes for discussion. Out of these, 24 contributions are invited talks, and 6 are “hot topic” contributions which will be selected from submitted abstracts. In addition, the Helmholtz-Prize award ceremony, the welcome lecture, the after dinner talk, two poster sessions and special evening discussion session will take place during the seminar.

PDF: Initiates file downloadPrelimanary program

Organizing Committee

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Andrey Surzhykov from PTB.




  Prof. Dr. Klaus Blaum

  Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysik

  Saupfercheckweg 1

  69117 Heidelberg, Germany

  Email: Opens window for sending emailklaus.blaum(at)mpi-hd.mpg.de

  Tel.: +49 6221-516 850/1

  Prof. Dr. Dmitry Budker

  Helmholtz Institute Mainz, Johannes Gutenberg University,  

  55099 Mainz, Germany

  and: Department of Physics, University of California,

  Berkeley, CA 94530-7300, USA

  Email: Opens window for sending emailbudker(at)uni-mainz.de

  Tel.: +49 6131-39-27414

  Prof. Dr. Andrey Surzhykov

  Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt

  Bundesallee 100

  38116 Braunschweig, Germany

  Email: Opens window for sending emailandrey.surzhykov(at)ptb.de

  Tel.: +49 531 592-8100


Anyone interested in attending the meeting is asked to fill in the Opens internal link in current windowapplication form, including a brief preliminary abstract for a possible poster presentation. Selected contributions will be upgraded to "hot topic" talks.

Please note that the total number of participants is limited. Female participants are especially invited to apply. 

Note of Thanks

The seminar is generously funded by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus-Foundation, a private German institution which supports scientific research and education with emphasis on physics.

The funding covers local expenses for accomodation and meals for all participants at the Physikzentrum in Bad Honnef. No conference fee will be charged.

more about:Opens external link in new window Wilhelm und Else Heraeus-Stiftung (German)