AEI scientist Holger Pletsch awarded one million Euros

New Emmy Noether group for outstanding researcher

May 08, 2014

The astrophysicist Holger Pletsch, leader of an independent research group at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute/AEI) and the Institute for Gravitational Physics at Leibniz Universität Hannover, develops efficient methods for the discovery of unknown gravitational-wave and gamma-ray pulsars. Starting in April 2014, his excellent research is supported by the Emmy Noether program of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) with a total of one million Euros for a duration of five years.

Background information

Internationally awarded scientist

After studying physics at the TU Kaiserslautern and at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Holger Pletsch did his doctoral studies at the AEI and obtained a PhD with highest praise from Leibniz Universität Hannover in 2009. His dissertation was awarded two prizes. As youngest PhD student with an excellent degree in 2009, the Max Planck society awarded Holger Pletsch the Dieter-Rampacher Prize. In the same year the Gravitational Wave International Committee (GWIC) awarded him the international GWIC-Thesis Prize for the best dissertation in the field of gravitational-wave astronomy. Since 2013 he has been working as an Independent Research Group Leader at the AEI. In 2013 he was awarded the renowned Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize by the DFG and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Neutron stars as instruments of fundamental research

Neutron stars provide astronomers with laboratories for testing fundamental physics in extreme conditions. Because of their strong gravitational field they are ideal test beds for Einstein's general theory of relativity. Their high density allows scientists to study matter in conditions not attainable in laboratories on Earth. As remnants of exploded stars they shed light on their unusual “paths of life” and deepen our understanding of stellar evolution. Neutron stars also are considered a promising source for gravitational waves, whose direct detection will usher in a new era of astronomy.

The Emmy Noether program

The aim of the DFG's Emmy Noether program is to give outstanding young researchers the opportunity to swiftly qualify for a leading scientific role, in particular as university teacher. The program combines the self-responsible leadership of a research group and qualification-relevant teaching. The requirements are an excellent research project, a swiftly completed academic training, substantial experience in international research collaborations, and significant publications in important international scientific journals.

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