BY GARY K. OSTRANDER – Günther Hasinger, an expert in astrophysical studies whose work has been instrumental in the operation of x-ray satellites and the development of future observatories, has been appointed director of the Institute for Astronomy (IfA) at UH Mānoa, effective January 2, 2011.
Hasinger is currently the scientific director at the Max-Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Garching, near Munich, Germany. His work there focused on the synergies between astrophysics and plasma physics—introducing modern x-ray diagnostics into fusion physics, with the aim of reproducing the sun’s source of energy in a fusion power plant.
He received his Physics Diploma from Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, and a PhD in Astronomy from the Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics. Prior to his tenure at Max-Planck IPP, he was involved in the preparation of the Large Binocular Telescope in Arizona, among other major projects and contributions to the field.
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 has authored numerous scientific papers and an award-winning book, “Fate of the Universe,” which explains astrophysics and cosmology to a wider audience.
“We were delighted and grateful for the many outstanding candidates interested in this tremendously important position,” said Chancellor Virginia S. Hinshaw. “Dr. Hasinger’s exemplary international space expertise and his enthusiastic approach to partnering with our Hawai‘i community members and university colleagues created much excitement about his leadership, so we warmly welcome him into our ‘ohana. The opportunities for the future are truly exciting and we are confident he will lead and partner in the best of ways for UH Mānoa and all of Hawai‘i.”
Added Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education Gary K. Ostrander, “We are pleased to have someone of Dr. Hasinger’s caliber to lead IfA forward on its many important projects.”
Chaired by Dean Brian Taylor of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, the 15-member search committee consisted of noted individuals from O‘ahu and the Big Island.
Hasinger will replace Rolf-Peter Kudritzki, who will relinquish the IfA directorship at the end of the year. Kudritzki will use a 2010 Humboldt Research Award during a 2011 sabbatical in Germany to investigate the physics of galaxies.
(Note to editors: A digital color photo of Günther Hasinger is attached.)
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