Johann Rafelski - Biography#

Dr. Johann Rafelski, a theoretical physicist born in Poland and educated in Germany, has worked for more than 30 years at the University of Arizona (Tucson, USA). He has been a (tenured) Professor at Universities of Frankfurt and Cape Town. Rafelski studies quantum vacuum structure exploring the effects strong fields have on particles. He investigates the related behavior of elementary matter under extreme conditions, and has contributed in pivotal manner to the discovery of quark-gluon plasma. He explores the transformation processes of energy locked in this new state into both matter and antimatter, and into strangeness, a signature of these new processes. He extends and applies laboratory insights to the processes occurring in the early Universe when matter was formed. When investigating the behavior of individual particles under extreme conditions, Rafelski is especially interested in the effect of radiation caused by strong acceleration, including effects generated by ultra intense laser pulses. He participates in the related work on pulsed laser fusion.

A large number of scientific publications resulted from this work, which involved 15 graduate students since 2000. Recognizing the profound impact special relativity theory has on these fields, Rafelski wrote "Relativity Matters" (Springer 2017). Besides relativity, he teaches quantum, particle, and nuclear physics. Rafelski was principal investigator in international programs strengthening US research ties with Brazil, Germany, and Poland. He organized key related conferences, for example initiating an international series on his own (Strangeness in Quark Matter) for which he remains active in committees. He was in the last decade a guest professor in France and Germany, in addition to his 45 years of sustained involvement with CERN, where he is a guest scientist. In the Fall 2021 he celebrates 50 years since his first research publication. Rafelski has two children who are highly accomplished scientists in their fields.

CV and publications
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