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Physics of Life

290 young scientists from 34 countries to attend the Spring School "Physics of Life" in Jülich

Jülich, 23. February 2018 – 290 young scientists from 34 countries will attend this year’s "IFF Spring School" on Monday, 26 February at Forschungszentrum Jülich. The topic of the two-week event, which has each year offered a different scientific focus for the last 49 years, is the Physics of Life. The course teaches not only scientific methods and principles, but also promotes collaborations across scientific disciplines as well as international borders. Places at the school are consistently in high demand; this year once again saw many more applicants than available places.

"We are very pleased to have been able to put together a programme which has been of such interest to so many students and young scientists", explained Prof. Gerhard Gompper, Director at the Institute of Complex Systems and the Institute for Advanced Simulation in Jülich, and scientific director of the 49th Spring School. "The aim of this year’s lectures is to show how physics, in interdisciplinary collaboration with biology and chemistry, can help us to better understand the unbelievably complex interrelationships of life on earth and clarify important research issues", he added. "After all, the laws of physics still hold true in the same way for organic and inorganic matter. A particular challenge is to gain an understanding of the active processes that are essential to life".

Teilnehmerinnen und Teilnehmer der IFF-Ferienschule / Participants of the IFF-Springschool 2018Participants of the 49th IFF Spring School.
Copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich / Ralf-Uwe Limbach

The main focus of the 49th IFF Spring School will be the various "organizational levels" of life: from the smallest biological building blocks, such as proteins and DNA, right up to complex organisms such as human beings. Around 50 different speakers from German and European research institutes will present the principles of biology, chemistry and physics, and discuss current research topics, such as the reasons behind the development of Alzheimer’s. No matter what the scale, physics contributes to explaining the relationships between diverse issues and to understanding complex biological systems. Consequently, the most important physics-based methods are given their own dedicated series of lectures. Campus tours complement the talks and also offer the opportunity for young scientists to familiarize themselves with experimental equipment and laboratory facilities at Forschungszentrum Jülich.

Nervenzellen und BlutflussNerve cells and blood flow are just two of many topics covered at this year’s IFF Spring School. Left: microscopic image of a nerve cell. Right: still image of a simulation of blood flow through a blood vessel.
Copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich

The first IFF Spring School took place in 1970, and since then has been organized in rotation by several different Jülich institutes, selecting a different topic from the field of physics each year. The School takes its name from the former Institute of Solid State Research ("Institut für Festkörperforschung" in German), which initiated and hosted it for a total of 41 years.

A group photo of the participants and organizers of the IFF Spring School 2018 will be taken during the event and will be available for download at
Copyright: Forschungszentrum Jülich

Further information:

Programme of the 49th IFF-Spring School (in English)
Forschungszentrum Jülich
Institute of Complex Systems (ICS)


Barbara Daegener
Forschungszentrum Jülich
Administration, Jülich Centre for Neutron Science – Scattering Methods (JCNS-2/PGI-4)
Tel.: 02461 61-4750


Angela Wenzik
Science Journalist
Forschungszentrum Jülich
Tel.: 02461 61-6048