Thomas K. Henning

Thomas Henning studies the formation of stars and planets both with dedicated observing programs on infrared and submillimeter telescopes and with computer models. In the laboratory, he investigates how dust particles and complex organic molecules form under astrophysically relevant conditions.

Thomas Henning has always been interested in fundamental physical and chemical processes. As a pupil in secondary school he established his own chemical laboratory and later became interested in non-linear dynamics. Today, he works on understanding how stars and planets form.

Thomas Henning uses a variety of methods ranging from radial velocity searches to transit observations and direct imaging to find and characterize exoplanets. He combines infrared observations at high spatial resolution with large-scale numerical simulations and dedicated laboratory experiments. He heads the Department of Planet and Star Formation at the Max Planck Institute of Astronomy and lectures at at the universities of Heidelberg and Jena. Henning is Adjunct Professor at the Tata Insititute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai (India) and at the TokyoTech (Japan).

Henning established the Heidelberg Origins of Life Initiative (HIFOL) and is a Co-I of major instrumentation projects such as MIRI for the James Webb Space Telescope.

Research Interests

Early stages of
star formation

Massive star

Protoplanetary disks
and planet formation

Exoplanets and
brown dwarfs

Physics and chemistry of
the interstellar medium


Heidelberg Initiative for the Origins of Life
The Heidelberg Initiative for the Origins of Life brings together researchers from astrophysics, geosciences, macromolecular chemistry, statistical physics and life sciences from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics and the University of Heidelberg in order to further our understanding of the origins of life in the universe.

Other Interesting Articles

Go to Editor View