Director of Science
Prof. Günther Hasinger took up duty as the Director of Science (D/SCI), and Head of ESAC, near Madrid, Spain, on 1 February 2018.
Günther Hasinger was born in Oberammergau, Germany, in 1954. He received his physics diploma from Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) of Munich, and in 1984, he earned a PhD in astronomy from LMU for research done at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE).
After visiting lectureships in the USA, he returned to Germany to take a position at the University of Potsdam. He served as director of the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam from 1994 to 2001. In 2001, he was appointed as a scientific member of the Max Planck Society, and as the director of the High Energy Group at MPE.
In 2007, he spent four months at the Institute for Astronomy (IfA) at the University of Hawaii while on sabbatical, and in 2008 he became scientific director at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP), the position he relinquished to become the Director of the IfA.
Günther Hasinger has received numerous awards for his research and scientific achievements, including the Leibniz Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the most significant research prize in Germany, and the international Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) Award for his outstanding contributions to space science. He is a member of the Academia Europea, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, and Leopoldina (the German National Academy of Sciences), and an external member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
Günther Hasinger has also played a key role in the operation of X-ray satellites and the development of future observatories. When the attitude control system of ROSAT, a joint German/UK/US X-ray and ultraviolet satellite, failed soon after launch in 1990, Prof. Hasinger was instrumental in developing a new control system that enabled the satellite to continue its mission.
He has also held several important national and international responsibilities, such as the chair of the Council of German Observatories and the president of the International Astronomical Union Division on Space and High Energy Astrophysics. He played a significant role in improving the financial constraints of basic space research in Germany and Europe.
In addition to writing numerous scientific papers, Günther Hasinger is the author of an award-winning book, Schicksal des Universums, which explains astrophysics and cosmology to a wider audience (with an extended English version called Astronomy’s Limitless Journey: A Guide to Understanding the Universe), and the winner of the Wilhelm Foerster Prize for public dissemination of science in 2011.