History of the TEMF Laboratory

Foto: Olexiy Orel
Foto: Olexiy Orel

The Institute “Theorie Elektromagnetischer Felder” was established in April 1989. After finishing his Habilitation at the University of Hamburg during his stay at the German Electron-Synchrotron (DESY), Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Weiland took over the chair of Prof.em. Piefke at the TU Darmstadt. Thanks to the financial means from the Leibniz prize, awarded to Prof. Thomas Weiland shortly before, it became possible to endow the new laboratory with the most up-to-date workstations. This way, the basis for continuing the work started at DESY and CERN was set. Prof. Thomas Weiland had developed the numerical field computation based on “Finite Integration Technique” (FIT) already as a PhD student at the TU Darmstadt in the mid-seventies. In the following years, the method was implemented in a powerful software package, MAFIA (Solution of Maxwell's Equations by the Finite Integration Algorithm) in the framework of an international collaboration.

Since the number of cooperations with industry and other research institutes as well as the demand for simulation software continuously grew, Prof. Thomas Weiland and a group of former staff members founded the “Computer Simulation Technology GmbH” (CST GmbH, today CST AG) in 1992.

The cooperation with other institutes within TU Darmstadt is a strong component of the work at TEMF. Since 1989, a close cooperation with Prof. Richter and his team exists, which led among others to the creation of a research training group (Graduiertenkolleg) and of a common DFG research group which evolved to a Collaborative Research Center. In 2006 another DFG research group in cooperation with Prof. Binder started. The institute is part of further graduate schools. Prof. Weiland is a founding member of the Computational Engineering Research Center and, ever since its inception, the spokesman of the board of directors and of the associated center of research excellence. The multidisciplinary character of the research at the institute is illustrated by the involvement in two further centers of research excellence: Cooperative Sensor Communication and Nuclear and Radiation Physics.

In order to further promote the interdisciplinary research at the TU Darmstadt the Bachelor and Master Program in Computational Engineering (CE), the CE Research Center and the CE Graduate School were initiated in 2000 with the participation of TEMF.

The scientific success of the TEMF-team work and of FIT is mainly reflected in the important prizes that Prof. Thomas Weiland and his whole laboratory were awarded; among them, in 1995 the Max Planck and in 1997 the Philipp Morris Research Prize. The money from these prizes contributed again to the improvement of the laboratory's technical endowment. Moreover, Prof. Thomas Weiland was elected in 1992 to regular member of the Academy of Science and Arts in Mainz. In 2004 the Tongji University, Shanghai elected him as a honorary professor.

In the field of accelerator physics, outstanding projects such as the worldwide-known Linear Collider Project (DESY/TUD Collider) and the subsequent cooperation at the TESLA project have marked the scientific works in the laboratory. TEMF was organizer in 1996 of the Workshop “Wissenschaftliches Rechnen in der Elektrotechnik”, and hosted in 2000 the reputed Conference “International Computational Accelerator Physics (ICAP)”.

Since its inception, many staff members obtained their PhD and some colleagues earned their Habilitation within TEMF. Guest researchers and staff members come from many different countries. The research positions are covered from financial support from “state funds”, but also from numerous third-party funds such as various scholarships, DFG projects, three graduate studies colleges, two DFG research groups, a collaborative research center as well as the large research institutions GSI and DESY. In this period, numerous publications were elaborated, many of them upon invitation.