Dr. Hannah Petersen has recently been appointed to a Visiting Assistant Professor position in the QCD theory group. Her field of expertise is the dynamical description of heavy ion collisions using transport theory to study the properties of hot and dense nuclear matter and the quark gluon plasma. The development and application of a hybrid approach that combine microscopic transport and fluid dynamics constitutes one part of her research. The calculation of characteristic matter properties like the shear viscosity coefficient from a more fundamental approach, in this context the real-time lattice simulation of classical low momentum gluon fields coupled to the hard thermal modes in a so called colored-particle in cell (CPIC) simulation, is one of her new interests. The application of state-of-the-art visulization tools to facilitate new discoveries or highlight new findings complements her research.
After receiving her diploma and PhD degree at Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, she joined the group of Profs. Mueller and Bass in January 2010 as a Feodor Lynen fellow, which is a postdoctoral appointment sponsored in part by the Alexander von Humboldt foundation. One major focus of her work has been on the influence of initial state fluctuations in heavy ion collisions on final observables. Her quantitative calculations of these effects in an event-by-event approach have lead to more than 10 invited talks at workshops, conferences and seminars nationally and internationally in the last year. Within the interdisciplinary MADAI (Model and Data Analysis Initiative) collaboration, a NSF supported Cyber-enabled Discovery and Innovation initiative, she has taken a leading role in working with visualization experts and statisticians on the application of modern technology to heavy ion research. In her new position, Hannah Petersen gets more and more involved in the supervision of undergraduate and graduate students within the Duke QCD theory group. She is looking forward to the new responsibilties and challenges, such as the opportunity to teach in the fall 2011 semester, that come with the new position. Overall it is a great chance to expand her career experience and to contribute to the inspiring research environment at Duke.