Why Heidelberg?

"Haus zum Riesen" (literally "Haus [with the] Giant") in Heidelberg. This is where Bunsen und Kirchhoff invented astrochemistry, taking spectroscopic measurements of the Sun.

Heidelberg is one of he leading centers for astronomy in Germany and Europe. In addition to the MPIA, which is the largest astronomical institute in Heidelberg, there are four additional astronomical institutes and departments: the State Observatory (Landessternwarte), the Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (ITA) of the University of Heidelberg, the Institute for Astronomical Computations (Astronomisches Rechen-Institut, ARI), and the Department of Cosmic Physics of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics (MPIK).

Forty professors and lecturers offer a comprehensive curriculum in modern astrophysics and astronomy. Astronomers from all over the world come to Heidelberg (and, in particular, to MPIA) for short or extended research visits, giving students an opportunity for contacts and collaborations.

Almost any topic of astrophysics is covered by researchers in Heidelberg.

Phenomenologically, this ranges from elementary particles (astroparticle physics) over the interstellar gas, cosmic rays and microscopic dust particles to sub-stellar bodies as planets, moons, comets, brown dwarfs to stars of different age, size or constituents, to extragalactic objects (galaxies, dark matter) and finally the universe as a whole (cosmology).

Observationally, almost all frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum are covered. While the emphasis is on optical/infrared frequencies and on very high energy energies of TeV gamma rays, also mm and radio observations aer carried out. Researchers in Heidelberg apply and develop ground-based telescope and instrumentation techniques as well as satellite instrumentation.

In theory various fields are covered with focal points in gravitational lensing, (magneto)-hydrodynamic or SPH simulations, transport, acceleration and non-thermal emission theory for relativistic particles, and radiation transfer modeling.

Heidelberg is Germany's oldest university city and famous for its romantic medieval old town. Located in the Neckar valley and surrounded by densely forested hills, it offers many beautiful spots for recreational activities. For instance, the Old Bridge and the Heidelberg Castle are popular tourist attractions.

For a virtual tour through Heidelberg, check out this tourist information link.

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