The winners of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Program of the German
Science Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) have been
selected. The panel responsible for the selection has chosen two women
and eight men for this highest endowed German award for supporting
research. The new awards come
with 2.5 million Euros (1.55 million Euros used to be awarded in the past),
which the recipients can use in a flexible manner for their research over
the next seven years (the duration previously was five years).
Guinevere Kauffmann investigates the evolution of galaxies using extensive
observations of the sky. She has demonstrated how dark matter structures
can serve as a skeleton framework to reconstruct an evolutionary model
for the galaxy population as a whole. Her work shows how this evolutionary
model can be included in computer simulations of the cosmic structure.
Furthermore, she was the first to consider the growth of supermassive
black holes in such models, allowing studies of the connection between the
growth of black holes and their host galaxies. She demonstrated that one
can obtain realistic stellar masses for almost all galaxies using her
approach. Her publications show that the galaxy population can be divided
into two almost entirely distinct classes; for small stellar masses
galaxies are usually disky, diffuse, gas-rich and star-forming, whereas
higher stellar-mass galaxies are generally elliptical, concentrated and
gas-poor with very little star formation.
Guinevere Kauffmann completed her studies at the University of Kapstadt
with a Masters of Science in Astronomy and received a PhD in Astrophysics
from the University of Cambridge in 1993. After that she worked at the
Max-Planck-Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics before switching to the
Max-Planck-Institute for Astrophysics in 1996. She is Research Group
Leader there since 2003.