MPA News 2015

At its biennial Membership Election Meeting in November 2015, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) elected MPA director, Simon White, as a Foreign Member in recognition of his scientific achievements and his contributions to promoting the development of science and technology in China. more

In its 2015 round, the European Research Council (ERC) selected Fabian Schmidt from the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics as one of the recipients for its highly competitive starting grant. This will allow Fabian Schmidt to establish his own research group to investigate the very early Universe and probe the general theory of relativity. more

In its September meeting, the American Physical Society (APS) elected MPA director Eiichiro Komatsu as a Fellow. This distinction is recognition of his outstanding contributions to physics, in particular for his work on the analysis of the cosmic microwave background radiation and the physics of the early universe. more

Using gravitational lensing to constrain the distribution of dark matter is by now a well-established tool in astrophysics. Simona Vegetti, however, uses it for a very specific purpose: using high-resolution images of strong gravitational lenses, she tries to find and constrain the properties of small satellite galaxies in the distant universe. Recently she has been awarded a Max Planck Junior Research Group position at MPA, which will allow her much more extensive studies using this technique with her own small group. more

This year's MPA barbeque saw quite a number of celebrations: Richard D'Souza and Marco Selig, two young MPA researchers, wrote outstanding scientific publications and were awarded the Kippenhahn Prize 2014. In addition, the summer party marked also end-point of this year’s Biermann Lectures by Isabelle Baraffe, which were all about exoplanets. more

In this year’s Biermann Lectures Professor Isabelle Baraffe from the University of Exeter will talk about exoplanet modelling. The different aspects touched on in the course of the miniseries will range from an exoplanet’s interior structure to its outer atmosphere. more

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics (MPA) have combined high-resolution images from the ALMA telescopes with a new scheme for undoing the distorting effects of a powerful gravitational lens in order to provide the first detailed picture of a young and distant galaxy, over 11 billion light-years from Earth. The reconstructed images show that star formation is heating interstellar dust and making it glow strongly in three distinct clumps embedded in a broader distribution, suggesting that object may be a rotating disk galaxy seen nearly edge-on. more

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