my ID


European Southern Observatory
85748 Garching, Germany
tel +49-89-320 06 244
fax +49-89-320 06 320


My current page can be found at Gemini Observatory

Brief Bio

I am a senior Faculty member at the European Southern Observatory and adjunct Professor (Privatdozent) at the Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich.

Currently, I am working as the Project Scientist for the European Extremely Large Telescope Project, and share my time between project work and astronomical research.


I obtained my PhD in early 1997 from the University of Bonn, then moved (partly on a Feodor-Lynen stipent from the Humboldt Gesellschaft) to the University of California Observatories at the UC Santa Cruz where I have spent nearly two years.
I came to ESO in late 1998 on a fellowship and moved on a faculty position in early 2000 to serve as instrument scientist. Over the next years, I worked on the instruments VIMOS, SINFONI, HAWK-I and KMOS before taking up in early 2008 my current position of project scientist for the E-ELT.
I am teaching at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich since 2005, and became adjunct professor in 2010.

Read more in my Curriculum Vitae (version 2011) if interested.


My main scientific interests are the formation and evolution of stars and star clusters, as well as the formation and evolution of galaxies - and the connection between these two.
Recently, I also became interested in Astrobiology and Exo-planets atmospheres.

Since a few years, I am concentrating on studying the existence and role of intermediate-mass black holes in the two above question. Our group is mostly observationally driven, but performs more and more simulation on specialised hardware.
Six ('older') GRAPE boards [Details can be found on the
grape pages] and a small ('newer') cluster of GPUs are available for dedicated N-body simulations. The machines are currently used in our group on projects analysing the effects of intermediate-mass black holes on the kinematics of globular clusters.

I am also part of the MASSIV collaboration, aiming at tracing the mass assembly in galaxies since the earliest times.

I am involved on the Garching Campus in the IMPRS Graduate School for Astrophysics,
and the Cluster of Excellence for Fundamental Physics Origin and Structure of the Universe.

Excellence Cluster

Between January 2007 and December 2009, I chaired the ESO Astronomy Faculty (internal pages).

More details can also be found by scanning through my list of publications or list of referred papers. Or just contact me!


As an adjunct professor (Privatdozent) at the
Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, I have a (reduced) teaching load.

Current lectures/classes:
* Wintersemester 2010/2011: Astrophysical advanced seminar (P4.0.6)
* Sommersemester 2011: An Introduction to Astrobiology (P5.0.29)
* Wintersemester 2011/2012: Astrophysical advanced seminar (P4.0.6)
* Sommersemester 2012: An Introduction to Astrobiology (P5.0.29)

I am currently accepting students.
Please feel to contact me for Master or PhD thesis subjects. The two areas of research I supervise currently are:
* Intermediate-mass Black Holes
* (Exo-) Planet/Moons atmospheres

You might also want to have a look at the list of PhD Thesis topics


On the project side

Since February 2008, I am supporting as Project Scientist the detailed design phase (B) of the
European Extremely Large Telescope Project, the next European giant telescope which promises incredible scientific breakthroughs.


On the instrumentation side

Between March 2000 and January 2008, I was active as Instrument Scientist in the
Optical Instrument department, the Adaptive Optics department, and last in the NIR instrumentation department.
I have acted as Instrument Scientist for the following instruments:
  • VIMOS, an optical multi-object and integral-field spectrograph
  • SINFONI, an adaptive optics assisted near-infrared integral-field spectrograph ,
  • HAWK-I, a near-infrared wide-field imager, and
  • KMOS, a near-infrared multi-object spectrograph based on deployable integral-field units.

I am still actively promoting integral-field spectroscopy, until recently through the Euro3D Research Training Network.


Last update, May 2011