Uschi Steigenberger

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Uschi Steigenberger

Ursula Steigenberger
Scientific career
FieldsCondensed matter physics
InstitutionsISIS neutron source
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Institut Laue–Langevin

Ursula (Uschi) Steigenberger OBE was a German condensed matter physicist and Director of the ISIS neutron source.


Steigenberger earned a PhD in condensed matter physics.[when?][where?][clarification needed]

Career and research[edit]

Steigenberger joined the Institut Laue–Langevin.[1] She worked on the PRogetto dell'Istituto di Strutura della MAteria del CNR (PRISMA) spectrometer with collaborators in Italy, and continued to work with them on the motion of molecules.[2][3] She worked on cadmium telluride that had been alloyed with magnesium.[4]

Steigenberger joined the ISIS neutron source in 1986.[5] She was responsible for the PRISMA spectrometer there, leading a collaboration between the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Italian Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche.[6] PRISMA was used for inelastic neutron scattering from single crystals.[6] It can measure the change in scattering during the application of temperature, pressure or magnetic fields.[6] She attended the Oxford School on Neutron Scattering in 1991.[7] In 1996 Steigenberger coordinated a workshop on pulsed neutron experiments.[8] She served as director at the ISIS neutron source from 2011 to 2012.[5][9] She worked with scientists from Norway to create Larmor, a high-intensity small-angle scattering instrument that uses a beam of polarised neutrons to study the movement of atoms in a material.[10] Steigenberger served as Chair of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.[5]

Steigenberger was part of the Institute of Physics review of women in the physics workplace that led to the Juno award scheme.[11] She retired from the ISIS neutron source in 2013.[12]

Awards and honours[edit]

Steigenberger was shortlisted for a WISE Campaign Lifetime Achievement Award.[13] In the 2016 New Year Honours she was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to science, which she collected in 2017.[1][14] This OBE was honorary as Steigenberger kept her German citizenship whilst working in the UK.[14][11] Steigenberger died following an illness in December 2018.[15]


  1. ^ a b "ISIS Uschi Steigenberger receives OBE". Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  2. ^ "INFN - Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare". Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  3. ^ "Top female scientist honoured for a lifetime in physics". Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  4. ^ Steigenberger, Ursula; Lebech, Bente; Galazka, Robert R. (1986). "Neutron scattering studies of a dilute magnetic semiconductor: Cd1-xMnxTe". Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials. 54-57: 1285–1286. doi:10.1016/0304-8853(86)90820-6. ISSN 0304-8853.
  5. ^ a b c "Uschi Steigenberger receives prestigious British medal for her service to the sciences". Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  6. ^ a b c Steigenberger, U.; Hagen, M.; Caciuffo, R.; Petrillo, C.; Cilloco, F.; Sacchetti, F. (1991). "The development of the PRISMA spectrometer at ISIS". Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section B: Beam Interactions with Materials and Atoms. 53 (1): 87–96. doi:10.1016/0168-583X(91)95449-N. ISSN 0168-583X.
  7. ^ "History of the Oxford School on Neutron Scattering". Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  8. ^ Steigenberger, Uschi; McEwen, Keith (1997). "Pulsed magnetic fields and pulsed neutron sources". Neutron News. 8 (1): 2–3. doi:10.1080/10448639708231951. ISSN 1044-8632.
  9. ^ "UK physics hit by new cuts". Physics World. 2009-06-25. Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  10. ^ "UK-Netherlands collaboration will build state-of-the-art neutron super-microscope". Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  11. ^ a b "IOP members are recognised in New Year Honours". Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  12. ^ "ISIS OBE for Uschi Steigenberger". Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  13. ^ "WISE Lifetime Achievement Award" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  14. ^ a b Valzey, Ed (2017). "Ed Vaizey steps in to secure the award of an OBE". Retrieved 2018-12-14.
  15. ^ Anon (2018). "STFC mourns the death of leading physicist Dr Uschi Steigenberger OBE - Science and Technology Facilities Council". Swindon: United Kingdom Research and Innovation.