Günther Hasinger (UH Observer)

Director, University of Hawai‘i Institute for Astronomy

Dr. Günther Hasinger is a world leader in the field of X-ray astronomy and in the study of black holes, objects whose gravity is so strong that not even light can escape from them. 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).

Dr. 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.

Together with his colleagues, Dr. Hasinger resolved the cosmic X-ray background radiation into distinct objects, which were then identified mainly as active black holes in distant galaxies. These studies showed that the cosmological evolution of active galactic nuclei (the centers of galaxies that emit much more radiation than can be produced by stars alone) is closely associated with the star-forming history of galaxies in the Universe and that black holes are likely motors for the development of galaxies.

In addition to writing numerous scientific papers, Dr. Hasinger is the author of an award-winning book, Fate of the Universe, which explains astrophysics and cosmology to a wider audience, and the winner of the Wilhelm-Foerster-Prize for public dissemination of science in 2011.