Reinhard Genzel

Reinhard Genzel ForMemRS[1] (born 24 March 1952 in Bad Homburg vor der Höhe, Germany) is a German astrophysicist.

Reinhard Genzel
Born (1952-03-24) 24 March 1952
Alma materUniversity of Bonn
Known forinfrared and submillimetre astronomy
AwardsOtto Hahn Medal (1980)
Balzan Prize (2003)
Shaw Prize (2008)
Crafoord Prize (2012)
Tycho Brahe Prize (2012)
Fellow of the Royal Society[1]
Harvey Prize (2014)
Scientific career
InstitutionsMax Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
University of California, Berkeley


Genzel studied physics at the University of Freiburg and the University of Bonn where he did his PhD in 1978[2] and, in the same year, his PhD thesis on radioastronomy at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy.[2] He then worked at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He then was a Miller Fellow from 1980 until 1982, and also Associate and Full Professor in the Department of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley from 1981. He became Scientific Member of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in 1986, and director at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching and lectured at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München where he has been honorary Professor since 1988.[2] Since 1999 he has also a joint appointment as Full Professor at the University of California, Berkeley.[2] He also sits on the selection committee for the Astronomy award, given under the auspices of the Shaw Prize. Genzel is a native speaker of German and fluent in English.


Reinhard Genzel studies infrared- and submillimetre astronomy, and he and his group are active in developing front-line ground- and space-based instrumentation for their astronomy research. He and his group were the first to track the motions of stars at the centre of the Milky Way (see Sagittarius A*) and show that they were orbiting a very massive object, probably a black hole.[3] Genzel is also active in studies of the formation and evolution of galaxies.

In July 2018, Reinhard Genzel et al reported[4][5] that S2 orbiting Sgr A* had been recorded at 7,650 km/s or 2.55% the speed of light leading up to the pericentre approach in May 2018 at about 120 AU ≈ 1400 Schwarzschild radii from Sgr A*. This allowed them to assert from the discernible redshift at relativistic velocities that General Relativity was confirmed.


Membership of scientific societies


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