Curriculum Vitae

I am an astrophysicist interested in the fomation of stars and planetary systems, the properties of exoplanets and their atmospheres. I have a special interest in the chemistry of the universe and computational and laboratory astrophysics. I am building instruments for my science, especially based on adaptive optics and infrared interferometry, but also using spaced-based observatories. I enjoy working with students and postdocs and have supervised more than 60 Ph.D students during my professional career.

Certainly related to my family background I am interested in the philosophy of science and have a passion for literature and modern arts.
Public outreach is an important element of my life and I am editing the largest popular astronomy journal for the German-speaking countries, Sterne und Weltraum, and played an important role in establishing the astronomy public outreach center Haus der Astronomie in Heidelberg.

I am interested in combining different fields to make progress in our understanding of the origins of life. I have a great interest in the Chilean nation, where the best skies for astronomers and some of the most breathtaking landscapes on this planet can be found.

A summary of my education, career, and work can be found online at my Wikipedia entry [en] [de].

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Academic Education

  • 1989 Habilitation, University of Jena
  • 1984 PhD in Astrophysics, University of Jena
  • 1981 Diploma Degree in Physics, University of Jena
  • 1976 - 1980 Studies in Physics and Mathematics, University of Greifswald

Scientific Career

  • 2002 – present Professor for Astrophysics, University of Jena 
  • 2002 – present Honorary Professor for Astronomy, University of Heidelberg 
  • 2001 – present Director at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy & Head of Planet and Star Formation Department, Heidelberg 
  • 2000 – 2002 Director of the Astrophysical Institute, University of Jena 
  • 2000 – 2007 Co-Chair of the DFG Research Group Laboratory Astrophysics 
  • 1999 – 2002 Chair for Astrophysics, University of Jena
  • 1992 – 1998 Professor for Astrophysics, University of Jena 
  • 1991 – 1996 Head of the Max Planck Research Unit Star Formation, Jena 
  • 1989 – 1990 Research Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Radioastronomy, Bonn 
  • 1986 – 1988 Assistant Professor at the Astrophysical Institute and University Observatory, Jena 
  • 1984 – 1985 Postdoc, Charles University, Prague

Professional Service

Member of Editorial Boards

Memberships in Scientific Organizations

  • Member of Astronomische Gesellschaft (AG)
  • Member of Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG)
  • Member of International Astronomical Union (IAU)

Former Memberships and Professional Service (Selection)

  • ESO Council Member and Vice President
  • ESO Strategic Working Group
  • CAHA Executive Board
  • ESA/ESO Observer of the NASA/NSF Exoplanet Task Force
  • ELT Design Study Steering Committee
  • SOFIA Science Council
  • ESA Astronomy Working Group
  • European ALMA Board
  • LBT Board
  • Panel Chair of the European Research Council for Advanced Investigator Grants
  • President of the Scientific Council of the European Interferometry Initiative
  • Advisory Committee of the Kiepenheuer Institute for Solar Physics
  • Dutch Academy Professorship Committee
  • Astronomy Panel Chair of the Leopoldina
  • Advisory Board - Hungarian Research Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences
  • Member of the Steering Committee of IAU Division H Interstellar Matter and the local Universe
  • Referee for UK, French, Swiss, Dutch, Belgian, Swedish, Canadian, Russian, Japanese, Spanish, Indian and US funding organizations
  • Evaluation Panel for Innsbruck and Turku Universities
  • Visiting Committee – Royal Belgium Observatory
  • DFG Priority Program „Physics of Star Formation“, Coordinator
  • DFG Priority Program „Physics of the Interstellar Medium“, Member of the Steering Committee

Honors and Awards

  • 2018    Cozzarelli Prize (PNAS)
  • 2017     Invited Professor – University of Copenhagen
  • 2016     Adjunct Professor – Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India
  • 2016     Invited Professor - Sapporo University
  • 2015     Invited Professor - ESO Chile
  • 2014Marker Lecture, Penn State University
  • 2012     JWST Significant Achievement Award
  • 2011Littrow Lecture, Austrian Academy of Sciences
  • 200930882 Tomhenning: Designation of minor planet 1992 SG2
  • 2001     Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society
  • 1999     Member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • 1999     Invited Professor - University of Amsterdam, Sapporo University, ESO Chile
  • 1997     Fundamental Research Award of the Federal State of Thuringia

Main Field of Research

  • Star and Planet Formation
  • Massive Star Formation and Stellar Clusters
  • Protoplanetary and Debris Disks
  • Physics and Chemistry of the Interstellar Medium
  • Exoplanet Search and Characterization
  • Laboratory Astrophysics
  • Infrared Instrumentation

 Instrumentation and Major Surveys

  • Co-I of the PACS instrument (Herschel observatory)
  • Co-I of the FIFI-LS instrument (SOFIA observatory)
  • Co-PI of the NACO Exoplanet Survey (ESO)
  • Co-PI of the Hat-South and Pan-Planets Exoplanet Transit Projects
  • Co-I of the SPHERE Planet Imaging Instrument for the VLT (ESO)
  • Co-I of the SEEDS collaboration (Tokyo-Heidelberg-Princeton)
  • Co-PI of the MATISSE Imaging instrument for the VLTI (ESO)
  • Co-PI of the JWST MIRI instrument
  • Science Team Member of the GRAVITY instrument (ESO-VLTI)
  • Science Team Member of the METIS instrument for the E-ELT
  • Science Team Member of the CARMENES instrument (CAHA)
  • Co-PI of the “Chemistry in Disk (CID)“ Collaboration
  • ESA Member of WFIRST FSWG
  • TESS Collaborator Team Member
  • Associated Foreign Member of LUVOIR Team

Member of Scientific Organizing Committees
(Selection of major meetings and Invited Talks)

  • Protostars and Planets V and VI Meetings (Hawaii and Heidelberg)
  • Exoplanets I and II Meetings (Davos and Cambridge)
  • Harvard-Heidelberg Star Formation Meetings
  • Early Phase of Star Formation Meetings (EPOS)
  • Cosmic Dust Meetings (Heidelberg, Taiwan, Copenhagen)
  • Tokyo-Heidelberg Planet Formation Meetings
  • Numerous invited conference talks and colloquia, e.g: 

Keynote Talks 2017

  • American Chemical Society Meeting, San Fransisco
  • Kavli Meeting on Planet Formation, University of Cambridge
  • Origins of Life Meeting, Munich

Invited Talks 2017

  • Alpbach Summer School on Cosmic Dust
  • Kavli  IAU Workshop on future large space-based UVOIR telescopes, Leiden

Colloquium Talks 2017

  • University of Copenhagen
  • Observatory Leiden
  • University of Zürich
  • Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai

(Self-limited to about 5 colloquium and 2 popular talks per year)

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