Reinhard Genzel has been Scientific Director at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany since 1986. He is also an Honorary Professor of Physics at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich. Since 1999, he has also been Professor of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley. His research interests currently include massive black holes and star formation in galaxies, the physics of galactic nuclei, galaxy formation and evolution, infrared/submillimeter/mm spectroscopy, and high-resolution imaging and spatial interferometry. In 2002, Professor Genzel and his team showed, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Sagittarius A*, a compact radio source at the center of the galaxy, is a massive black hole of about three million times the mass of the sun. The galactic center thus is the strongest case astrophysicists now have that the dark mass concentrations observed in many nearby galaxies are indeed the mysterious black holes predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Professor Genzel received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Bonn (1978) and was a Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow in Cambridge, Massachusetts (until 1980). He received the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society for the year 1978 and the Miller Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley (both in 1980). Professor Genzel was a recipient of the Newton Lacy Pierce Prize of the American Astronomical Society (1986), the Leibniz Prize of the German Science Foundation (1990), and the Janssen Prize of the French Astronomical Society (2000). He received the Balzan International Prize for Infrared Astronomy, Switzerland/Italy (2003) and the Stern-Gerlach Medal of the German Physical Society (also in 2003), as well as the Petrie Prize of the Canadian Astronomical Society (2005). Professor Genzel is a foreign member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the French Academy of Sciences, as well as member of the Bavarian and Leopoldina Academies in Germany.


Recent publications



Eisenhauer, F., Genzel, R. et al. (2005). SINFONI in the galactic center: young stars and IR flares in the central light month. Astrophys. J. 628, 246.



Genzel, R., Baker, A. J., Tacconi, L. J., Lutz, D., Cox, P., Guilloteau, S. and Omont, A. (2003). Spatially resolved millimeter interferometry of SMM J02399-0136: a very massive galaxy at z=2.8. Astrophys. J. 584, 633.

Genzel, R., Schödel, R., Ott, T., Eisenhauer, F., Hofmann, R., et al. (2003). The stellar cusp around the supermassive black hole in the galactic center. Astrophys. J. 594, 812.

Genzel, R., Schödel, R., Ott, T., Eckart, A., Alexander, T., Lacombe, F., Rouan, D. and Aschenbach, B. (2003). Near-IR flares from accreting gas near the last stable orbit around the supermassive black hole in the galactic centre. Nature, 425, 934.


2002 and Earlier

Schödel, R., Ott, T., Genzel, R., Hofmann, R., Lehnert, M. et al.  (2002). A star in a 15.2-year orbit around the supermassive black hole at the centre of the Milky Way. Nature 419, 694.

Genzel, R., Lutz, D., Sturm, E., Egami, E., Kunze, D. et al. (1998). What powers ultra-luminous IRAS galaxies? Astrophys. J. 498, 579.