Welcome Session

Speach of the Bavarian States Minister for Science, Research and the Arts, Hans Zehetmair at the opening session of the
International Conference on Neutron Scattering
10. September 2001, Technische Universität München


On behalf of the Minister-President of Bavaria, Dr. Stoiber, the Bavarian government, and myself, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to the international conference on neutron scattering, ICNS 2001. This event, which formally took place every three years, but which has since been rearranged to take place according to a more olympic time-table of once every four years, is now firmly established.

I know that leading specialists in the field of neutron research will work together during ICNS, high, rank experts from the USA, Canada, Japan and Europe.

It is for this reason that the ICNS is the international forum for those working in a scientific field with one of the most promising futures, neutron research. It is the ideal platform for the presentation and discussion both of new developments in neutron research and of the potential applications of these new developments in the different areas of physics, chemistry, the life sciences and the material sciences. Over the next few days the focus will also be on potential industrial applications.

I feel that it is particularly important to support the young scientists during the ICNS. For it is they who are the next generation of scientists, who will not only continue and support the life-lines of our present domains of research, but also innovate whole new fields of investigation.

In selecting Munich as the venue for ICNS, you have chosen the capital of Bavaria. This is a great honour for us.

I believe, that with this choice, you are also giving the Free State of Bavaria the honour that it deserves for its decade-long efforts to achieve exceptional conditions for neutron research at this site and which conditions enabled world-ranking research to be developed.

The first neutron research in Germany took place in1957 at the research reactor at Munich, the Garching 'Atom-Ei', or Atomic Egg in english. Pioneering research in physics, chemistry, biology and medicine originates from Garching. For several generations of scientists from the numerous areas of science, the research reactor of Munich would become the Mekka for the development of new experiments and pioneering discoveries. Much of this knowledge was able to be used directly by industry. Neutron research in the Federal Republic of Germany has, through experiments performed at the Garching Atomic Egg, acquired itself an international rank and reputation.

The new neutron source is built upon the same site as the old reactor and, following the example set by the Garching Atomic Egg, which was called the Forschungsreaktor München, that is the Research Reactor of Munich, the new source has been named the Forschungreaktor München II, FRM-II for short. And, as with the original Egg, the priority has been to build an attractive, modern neutron source for the international scientific community which may be available for use to scientists from the Federal Republic of Germany and to guests from outside.

You will all know from your own experience, that the neutrons sources that are available world-wide are not even nearly able to satisfy future world demand. Only by the erection of new sources, encapsulating the most modern state of the art science and technology, can the continuity be assured and the appearance of an enormous crevice in neutron research be avoided. The brains of our young generation of competent and enthusiastic scientists demand innovative research instruments. High quality neutron sources, together with the work of these young scientists, will open up new fields in neutron research, some of which we are probably nowadays not even able to imagine.

This new neutron source is also a major leap forward for the scientific and industrial communities of Bavaria and Germany. By investing in the top research projects of the future, we are providing momentum that both stimulates economic growth and guarantees our technological future. In the global entwinement of science and industry FRM-II will also achieve high international status.

The fact that you, ladies and gentlemen, have come to Munich from all over the world, underlines the high international status of FRM-II. It would have given us great pleasure to have been able to present to you a working neutron source over the next few days. We would have liked to have shown you the experiments of our ambitious new generation of scientists at FRM II and by this I do not mean just the status of the instruments being built here, but also their potential scientific application. What we can do, however, is to show you the newest research reactor in the world, which is ready to go into action and which I hope will make a lasting impression upon you, so that you go home considering the whole range of work that will soon be able to be carried out here. This reactor already has three scientific and academic highlights with which I shall shortly debrief you:

  1. With its mean, undisturbed flux of 7 x 1014 neutrons per centimeter squared per second from only 20 Megawatts of power, FRM II has the best flux-to-power ratio in the world. This was possible due to the use of an innovative concept that the government of Germany believed, and still believes in funding.

  2. The operators of FRM II, the Technische Universität München, is one of the best universities in Bavaria. The Technische Universität acts on behalf of and in collaboration with the other leading bavarian and german universities to make the new possibilities of research at the neutron source accessible to the whole spectrum of fundamental university research. While others are still searching for ideas as to how one can curb the loss of research and researchers, we, in Garching, have established a University Centre of Excellence in order to counteract this.

  3. FRM II will in a few years' time, and on this point all experts come together in agreement, be the leading national neutron source in Germany. However the Free State of Bavaria had to bear the largest part of the investment costs of the project, which amount to around 810 million marks, that is around 400 million US dollars, and it has had to bear alone the running costs, including personnel, which will not be less than 30 million DM per year. This it certainly does not do for reasons of prestige. Rather, with this project, Bavaria wishes to mark the start of a new federalism, in which important projects for the future, such as FRM II come about without the constraints imposed by the so-called joint projects, and in this way may be made free use of by all german universities and german states.

The actual commissioning of FRM II demands the third and final nuclear permission. The licensing process is, to our utmost regret, not yet finished. We are, however, confident that this will not be the case for much longer and that we will be able to iron out all the differences in opinion between the state of Bavaria and the German government over the running of FRM II. I am optimistic about the future of the new source because the government of Germany knows that an investational ruin by the name of FRM II would represents a very poor example of promoting science at the next german elections and that only the new neutron source in Garching can prevent the appearance of a crevice in german neutron research. The young generation of scientists need a clear perspective following a fast commissioning, in order to see suitable research conditions in FRM II. If this is not the case the best scientists will leave and many will be lost to science.

Knowing this, the Federal Government plays an active role in building the first generation of instruments by financing four experiments. Furthermore the Federal Ministry for Education and Research has contributed financially to this conference. They are doing this especially with the younger participants in mind, because they, in Berlin, know how significant this event and the whole research area is and how important the responsibilty for the new generation of scientists is.

We have invested heavily in science and expressed the clear belief that the future of our country with regards to global competition, can only be ascertained by promoting science. We have made a sustained investment in neutron research and made it clear that we recognise the possibilites for development of a scientific discipline that reaches beyond the subjects of physics, chemistry, biology and medicine.

And now, of course, our ambition is to use the reactor for still more advanced innovations. FRM II offers the ideal conditions for achieving this goal. FRM II has been developed to be a highly efficient neutron source which, as a first priority, was optimised for the execution of beamline experiments, but which also offers exceptional opportunities for the irradiation of samples. The concept enables us to achieve the highest possible intensity of neutrons with regards to the best possible safety elements and environmental digestibility. The flux density of neutrons, which are released during the fission process, is optimised for the reactor's different applications using special moderators. The concept appears to be having an effect: Each and every instrument that has been conceived here at FRM II, is technologically highly innovative and original.

Around 30% of the experimental features will serve industrial or commercial interests. Well-known firms have supported this event financially and I would like to thank them for their contributions. The support from industry illustrates the high level of interest in the potential of the commercial use of neutrons. Enterprises will make use of the services provided at FRM II and this will ensure the fastest transfer of knowledge from the universities to the economy, Know-how will enter straight into the market.

The oppurtunities for the commercial use of the new neutron source are numerous. Using neutron activation analysis the smallest traces of foreign elements may be detected. This may be used during water inspections or for the monitoring of soil. Doping of semi-conductor silicon enables the production of high performance components in semi-conductor technology. Neutron radiography and tomography of technical objects enables us to take inner measurements of tools, as well as to check for corrosion and inhomogeneity without damaging the tool. In addition, pure isotopes of radioactive elements and radio pharmaceuticals may also be produced using a neutron beam.

Financed through the privatisation of state-owned companies, the bavarian High-Tech Offensive will be able to make even more money available for the creation of a centre for industrial use. This will make the research reactor at Munich even more attractive to industrial users. These users will also have the oppurtunity of renting laboratories and offices which they may equip with apparatus used to prepare experiments or analyse experimental results. For the experiments themselves, there is a hall in the user area that is fitted out with the most modern equipment.

Over the next few days, you will have the oppurtunity, within the conference program, to visit the reactor and there make up your own mind about the potential on offer at the Research Reactor of Munich II.

The next few days with be packed full of feisty exchanges of views and discussions in each of the different fields of neutron research. I wish you all a fruitful conference for this week and, last but not least, a pleasant stay in Munich.