Prof. Asplund obtained his PhD in theoretical astrophysics
from Uppsala University, Sweden, in 1997. He then took up
a research fellowship at the Nordic Institute for
Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen for two years before
moving back to Uppsala University as assistant professor.
In 2002 he joined the faculty of the Research School of
Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National
University where he was soon promoted to full professor.
Earlier this year the 37-year old Swede was appointed as
Scientific Member and Director of MPA as one of the
youngest within the Max Planck Society. He formally
started his new role at MPA in September 2007.
Prof. Asplund's research interests encompass stellar astrophysics,
the origin of the chemical elements and the formation and
evolution of galaxies. His research straddles both theory,
numerical simulations using supercomputers and observations with
the largest telescopes in roughly equal parts.
In particular, his work has focussed on modelling the atmospheres
of stars and the radiation they emit in order to use
stars as probes of stellar, galactic and cosmic evolution.
By observing stars of different ages and locations, one
can thereby uncover for example how stars forge the different
elements by nuclear burning and how a galaxy like our own
Milky Way has evolved with time since its formation.
His recent work on accurately determining the chemical composition
of the Sun has dramatically changed this crucial
astronomical yardstick with profound implications for
many fields of astronomy. He is also well-known
for his research on understanding the very first
stars born after the Big Bang.
At MPA Prof. Asplund will build up a group working
on stellar astrophysics and galactic chemical evolution.
This new scientific department will complement and
further strengthen existing research endeavours at