Mathematics and solar system research award for Dr Janosch Preuss

Mathematician at Göttingen University and MPI for Solar System Research develops numerical method to calculate how waves propagate inside the Sun

(mps/pug) The German Society for Applied Mathematics and Mechanics (GAMM) has awarded Dr. Janosch Preuss from the Institute for Numerical and Applied Mathematics at the University of Göttingen and from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) this year’s Klaus Körper Prize. The GAMM thus honors the results presented by Janosch Preuss in his PhD-thesis at the end of last year. In it, he deals with the propagation of acoustic waves in the interior of the Sun. In order to model these waves as accurately as possible from observational data, it is necessary to also take into account the influence of the solar atmosphere. Janosch Preuss succeeds in doing so more efficiently and more precisely than ever before. His research was conducted within the Collaborative Research Center 1456 "Mathematics of Experiment" at the University of Göttingen.

The interior of the Sun is one of the most inaccessible places in our solar system. Direct measurements inside the Sun are obviously impossible. Nevertheless, scientists can obtain information about the interior of our star via detours. The Sun vibrates in millions of modes of acoustic oscillation, which can be observed at the surface by satellites in space or solar telescopes on Earth. Using computer models, these waves can inform us about the physical properties of the regions in which they propagate.

Computations of this kind are very challenging, especially when they take into account the fast variations near the surface.With his new numerical methods, Dr. Janosch Preuss has succeeded in computing the influence of the Sun’s atmosphere on the waves more efficiently and accurately than ever before. "The temperature in the solar atmosphere varies quickly on very short distances, which requires new and innovative numerical methods to model the oscillations" the 33-year-old explains. The atmosphere affects the interpretation of the observed vibrations and therefore have to be taken into account. The work of Dr. Preuss opens new opportunities to use solar oscillations to probe the solar atmosphere.

Dr. Janosch Preuss studied mathematics at the University of Göttingen. Already in his master thesis, which he prepared under the supervision of Christoph Lehrenfeld at the Institute for Numerical and Applied Mathematics, he dealt with numerical simulations. He was subsequently able to continue this collaboration in the course of a doctoral project at the MPS supervised by Max Planck Fellow Thorsten Hohage. Janosch Preuss- work was carried out within the framework of the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) on Solar System Science at the University of Göttingen, a joint PhD program of the MPS and the University of Göttingen. Currently, Janosch Preuss is a researcher at University College London in England.

The GAMM awards the Klaus Körper Prize every year to four young scientists thus honoring excellent doctoral achievements in the field of applied mathematics and mechanics.

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