Hans-Walter Rix stumbled into astronomy research as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he stayed another four years to get his PhD. In his thesis work with Simon White he figured out that most large elliptical galaxies also have sizable stellar disks, and hence must have a different formation history than thought at the time. He also had opportunity to work with Craig Hogan on gravitational lensing, with Marcia and George Rieke on infrared imaging and spectroscopy, and with Rob Kennicutt.
He then went on to the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, working on some of the very first HST data on gravitational lensing and giving in to the numerous, exciting scientific diversions that Princeton has to offer.
After a year at MPA, Garching and three years on the faculty at the University of Arizona, he came to MPIA, Heidelberg late 1998. In the first five years, his focus was on galaxy evolution, helping to draw up a comprehensive picture of what the population of galaxies looked like when the Universe was half its age. In recent years he has focussed his research on our very own galaxy, the Milky Way, because the intricate detail in which it can be studied, should lead us to a better understanding of galaxy formation as a whole.
As of 2016, the Gaia space mission along with other vast spectroscopic surveys of stars, and then Hubble's successor JWST are the next beacons on his science path.
PhD Program, University of Arizona, Tucson 1986 – 1991
Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität, München 1984 – 1986
Albert-Ludwig-Universität, Freiburg 1983 – 1984
Member of the German National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina
Member of European Academy of Sciences and Arts
ERC Advanced Grant Award 2013 – 2018
Bahcall Lecturer, Tel Aviv 2010 – 2011
Spitzer Lecturer, Princeton 2004
Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship 1996 – 1998
Hubble Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton 1991 – 1994
Fulbright Scholarship, University of Arizona 1986 – 1988
Director at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy since 01/1999
Honorary Professor at the Universität Heidelberg since 2000
Associate Professor, University of Arizona 08/1998 – 12/1998
Assistant Professor/Astronomer, University of Arizona 08/1995 – 07/1998
Research Scientist, Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics 08/1994 – 08/1995
Member at the Institute for Advanced Study 11/1991 – 08/1994