Hans Zinnecker

Hans Zinnecker. Credit: IACStay at the IAC: 11/02/2019 to 07/03/2019

Research line: Stellar and Interstellar Physics

Dr. Hans Zinnecker has been the deputy director of Science Mission Operations of the SOFIA Airborne Observatory. He served as the representative of the Deutsches SOFIA Institut (Univ. Stuttgart) at the SOFIA Science Center at NASA-Ames in California (2010-2016). He recently retired and lives in Chile, affiliated with Universidad Autonoma de Chile in Santiago.
He started his scientific career as a theoretical physicist in quantum field theory (1977) at the Technical University Munich. He then turned to astrophysics and star formation in the far-infrared group at MPE Garching and obtained a PhD (1981) on the theory of the stellar initial mass function.
He spent 4 influential post-doc years (1983-1987) at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh (ROE) where they turned him from theory to observations.
He learnt how to write successful observing proposals and participated in many near-infared observing runs at UKIRT on Mauna Kea (Hawaii) and later in his career at ESO, La Silla (NTT) and Paranal (VLT). He spent some time as senior visitor at Univ. of Hawaii in Honolulu and at ESO in Chile. A particular interest that continued in his postdoc years
and as a member of two ERC research training networks was the origin of stellar masses and the observational study of embedded star clusters, young binary stars and protostellar jets. In 1990, he  moved to the University of Wuerzburg, and spent 5 years in the star formation group of Harold Yorke, as a fellow of the German Science Foundation (DFG). He trained and advised several PhD students, both in the fields of infrared and X-ray observations and co-organized the centennial symposium on "Roentgenstrahlung from the Unviverse" (note that Wuerzburg was where W.C. Roentgen discovered X-rays in 1895).
In 1995, he joined the newly founded Astrophysical Institute Potsdam (AIP) and for the next 15 years he led the growing star formation group there. In 2010, encouraged by his friend Eric Becklin, he joined the SOFIA project (Deutsches SOFIA Institut at Univ Stuttgart) and spent 6 years at NASA-Ames California, see above. During those final years
of his career he turned from a stellar to an interstellar astronomer, with a growing interest in simple molecules and astrochemistry in the ISM. He retired in December 2016 and since then moved to live in Chile with his (Chilean) wife Andrea. He regularly attends the journal clubs at the ESO and ALMA Headquarters in Santiago de Chile. He likes to connect with young astronomers and share/stimulate their passion for science.
At IAC, he gave 3 lectures, a general one on "A lifetime in studies of star formation" and a specific one (in two parts) on SOFIA operations and scientific highlightsHe interacted with Rafael Rebolo, Nicolas Lodieu, and Victor Bejar on young nearby star clusters, sub-stellar objects and brown dwarfs, and also with Susana Iglesias-Groth on possible SOFIA observations of fullerenes and aminoacids.


Contact: severoochoa@iac.es
Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias. C/ Via Láctea s/n 38200, La Laguna. Canary Islands. Spain.
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