Iris Dillmann

Research Scientist - TRIUMF
Group Member

Iris is a "lunar-tic": she always wanted to become an astronaut and be the first woman on the moon since she observed it with a telescope built by her father and watched "For all mankind" in 1989. Her dream almost came true when she joined the European Space Agency's (ESA) Astronaut Selection Programm in 2008. Unfortunately she had to stay in a lower earth orbit - but she is willing to spend her weekends hopping around on the Moon as soon as Star Trek's transporter is working properly...

She has a Master (Diplom) in chemistry from the University of Mainz/ Germany and graduated at the University of Basel/ Switzerland as "Dr. phil. nat" in astrophysics. During her PhD thesis she spent 2 years at the Research Center (KIT) in Karlsruhe/ Germany torturing the old 3.7 MV Van-de-Graaff accelerator named "Lolita" on a daily basis while measuring capture cross sections of dozens of isotopes and developing the KADoNiS database (www.kadonis.org).
After postdoc stays in Karlsruhe and the TU Munich she got a prestigeous 5-year grant from the German Helmholtz association for a Young Investigators Group ("LISA- Lifetime Spectroscopy for Astrophysics") which she led at the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt/ Germany until June 2015. Since September 2013 she is working at TRIUMF and is in charge of the beta-delayed neutron program - craving for more and more neutron-rich isotopes! For this program she got awarded a NSERC Discovery Grant and a Discovery Accelerator Supplement in 2014:

Since 2015 she is Adjunct Professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Victoria and the Scientific Coordinator of the NSERC CREATE program IsoSiM (Isotopes for Science and Medicine, isosim.ubc.ca).

Her field of expertise is experimental nuclear astrophysics (heavy element nucleosynthesis) and nuclear physics (decay properties of exotic nuclei). Iris is the group leader of the Exotic Decay Spectroscopy Group (https://www.triumf.ca/node/39190) which investigates decay modes that occur only in very neutron-rich nuclei and in highly-charged ions with no or only a few electrons. The two experimental setups that are presently used for our research are located at RIKEN Nishina Center in Wako, Japan and at the Experimental Storage Ring at the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt, Germany.During her time at GSI in Darmstadt her research group developed the particle detector CsISiPHOS for the future storage ring CR and radiation-hard diamond detectors for the Super-FRS at FAIR. Her main field of research is the investigation of half-lives and beta-delayed neutron emission probabilities of very neutron-rich isotopes with the Spanish-German neutron detector BELEN and the University of Guelph-born Canadian "poster boy" neutron detector DESCANT (as featured in Maclean's Magazine: https://twitter.com/macleansmag/status/684190168929169408 ).

When Iris is not trying to unravel the origin of the elements, she is a passionate team handball, volleyball, and soccer player and a veteran of the famous "Unified Field Heroes" which tragically lost the GSI soccer cup final 2013 after penalties. But she could prove that female scientists use their head not only for hair styling and thinking... As new resident of the we(s)t coast she tries to understand why one needs ice to play hockey (too slippery) and why no one here knows what team handball is (no, no walls!).

In her sparse free time left by travelling and science, she likes to
- relax with a good crime thriller at Kits beach,
- find out who makes the best sushi in Vancouver (Ajisai or Hitoe?),
- play (beach) volleyball and badminton. Or whatever ball or birdie she can catch/throw/hit.

Here are the links to two recent interviews she gave: