A new director at MPA

With effect from 1 April 2013, the Max Planck Society has appointed Dr Guinevere Kauffmann as a Scientific Member of the Society and the newest Director at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics. Born in California, Dr Kauffmann spent her high school and undergraduate years in South Africa before moving to the UK to do her doctorate at Cambridge University's Institute of Astronomy. After a postoctoral stay as a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, Dr Kauffmann moved to Munich where she has been a scientist at MPA since 1995, most recently as leader of a group studying galaxy evolution.

Fig.: Guinevere Kauffmann

Guinevere Kauffmann is known for her pioneering work to develop theoretical models for the formation and evolution of the galaxy population as a whole. Such semi-analytic models have become the primary method for comparing the systematic properties of galaxies in large observational surveys with expectations based on the current standard Cold Dark Matter paradigm for the growth of cosmic structure.

Over the last decade she has also played a leading role in devising analysis methods for extracting quantitative information about the physical processes driving galaxy evolution from the observational data provided by modern large-scale surveys, notably the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, but also smaller, specially designed surveys, which Dr Kauffmann and her team have carried out themselves.

Dr Kauffmann's research has been well recognised outside the Max Planck Society. In 2002 she was awarded the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize and in 2007 she received the 2.5 million Euro Gottfried-Wilhelm-Leibniz Prize of the German Research Foundation, the most prestigious prize in German research. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009, to the German National Academy of Science, Leopoldina, in 2010, and to the US National Academy of Science in 2012. In 2010, Bavarian Minster President Horst Seehofer awarded her the Distinguished Service Cross of the Federal Republic of Germany for her services to science.

Guinevere Kauffmann joins Eiichiro Komatsu as the second of a new generation of directors at MPA who should assure the institute's scientific future well into the coming decades.


Prof. Dr. Simon D.M. White
Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics
Phone: +49 89 30000-2211
E-mail: swhitempa-garching.mpg.de