Otto Hahn Medal for PhD Viktor Svensson

Thesis award recognizes outstanding results on the limits of hydrodynamics

June 21, 2023

Viktor Svensson, a former PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Potsdam, now post-doctoral researcher at Lund University, is being honored with the Otto Hahn Medal for his outstanding doctoral thesis. Svensson studied the question of when a system can be described as fluid. This is crucial if we are to understand, for example, heavy-ion collisions in which a quark-gluon plasma forms that behaves as a relativistic fluid. The prize for his dissertation on relativistic hydrodynamics is endowed with 7,500 euros. The award was presented on June 21 during the annual meeting of the Max Planck Society in Göttingen.

Relativistic hydrodynamics is a theory of close to equilibrium dynamics, but exactly what sets the limit of its applicability is not known. In both experiment and theoretical modeling of heavy-ion collisions it has been observed that a hydrodynamic description can work surprisingly far from equilibrium. In his thesis, Svensson studied two different approaches towards understanding the limits of hydrodynamics: constitutive relations at large order and far from equilibrium.

Viktor Svensson’s PhD work made crucial theoretical contributions to understanding of how excited strongly-interacting matter created in ultrarelativistic nuclear collisions at the particle accelerators RHIC and LHC becomes a relativistic liquid despite being far from equilibrium. Svensson focused on understanding how the system loses track of microscopic details and a simpler fluid description emerges. His results significantly advanced the state of the art at the intersection of nuclear physics, high energy theory and mathematical physics and stimulated further progress in the area.

The awardee

Viktor Svensson (born 1991) completed his PhD in 2021 at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam in the independent research group Gravity, Quantum Fields and Information lead by Michal Heller and at the National Centre for Nuclear Research in Poland. Since 2022, Svensson has been a post-doctoral researcher at Lund University in Sweden.

Recognition for excellent junior scientists

The Max Planck Society has honoured up to 30 young scientists and researchers each year with the Otto Hahn Medal for outstanding scientific achievements since 1978. The prize is intended to motivate especially gifted junior scientists and researchers to pursue a future university or research career. Usually, the award is presented during the General Meeting in the following year. Viktor Svensson received this distinction for his PhD thesis entitled “Relativistic Hydrodynamics Beyond the Second Order”.




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