Curriculum Vitae

Contact Data

Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Zentrum für Astronomie (ZAH)
Institut für Theoretische Astrophysik (ITA) Albert-Ueberle-Str. 2, 69120 Heidelberg Germany

Tel: +49-6221/54-8978
Fax: +49-6221/54-4221
E-Mail: klessen<AT>
ORCID: 0000-0002-0560-3172

University Education and Academic Degrees

2004Habilitation and vendia legendi at Potsdam University
1995-1998PhD studies at Max Planck Institute for Astronomy and Heidelberg University
1990-1991Exchange student at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA)
1987-1994Studies of general physics, Technical University of Munich (DE)

Academic Positions

2006-Full professor for theoretical astrophysics (W3) at Heidelberg University
2005-2006Permanent scientific staff at Astrophysical Institute Potsdam (DE)
2002-2006Head of Emmy Noether Research Group at Astrophysical Institute Potsdam (DE)
2000-2001Postdoctoral position at University of California at Santa Cruz (USA)
1998-2000Postdoctoral position at Leiden Observatory (NL)

Selected Professional Activities, Awards, Honors

2019-2025Speaker of the Excellence Cluster STRUCTURES at Heidelberg University
2014-2015Visiting professor at University of California, Santa Cruz
2013-2019ERC Advanced Grant STARLIGHT: Formation of the First Stars
2012-2014Dean of Study in Faculty of Physics and Astronomy, Heidelberg University
2011-Member of the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR)
2011-2022Deputy speaker: DFG collaborative center SFB 881 The Milky Way System
2011-2017Deputy speaker of DFG priority program SPP 1573 Physics of the ISM
2010-2014Time allocation committee of Swiss Supercomputing Center (CSCS)
2010Visiting professor at Stanford University and University of California, Santa Cruz
2009Professeur Invite at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris
2008-2013Deputy director of Center of Astronomy at Heidelberg University (ZAH)
2007-2014Board of the IMPRS for Astronomy and Cosmic Physics in Heidelberg
2007-2013Managing director of Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (ITA)
2007-2008Member of committee of the State of Baden-Württemberg to redefine the requirements for physics and astronomy teachers in the new bachelor and master system
2006-2008Steering committee of Forward Look on Comp. Science in Europe (ESF)
2002Ludwig Biermann Award of the German Astronomical Society
2001Emmy Noether Fellowship, German Science Foundation (DFG)
1999Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society
1990Fulbright Fellowship at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champain

Research Interests

Ralf Klessen’s primary research goal is to identify and characterize the physical processes that govern the structure and dynamical evolution of the interstellar medium and the birth of stars at present days as well as in the early universe. Scientific interests include gas dynamics and chemistry in the interstellar medium, statistical description of astrophysical turbulent flows, dynamo processes, gravitational collapse and formation of stars and stellar clusters, stellar dynamics, and the development and optimization of numerical algorithms in computational astrophysics.

Research Funding in Past 10 Years

Ralf Klessen is one of three speakers of the excellence cluster STRUCTURES: A unifying approach to emergent phenomena in the physical world, mathematics and complex data at Heidelberg University (35+ million over 7 years). He is deputy speaker of a Germany-wide priority program SPP 1573 Physics of the Interstellar Medium (2 million €/year for six years for about 40 ISM related projects in Germany). Ralf Klessen is also deputy speaker of the Heidelberg collaborative research project SFB 881 The Milky Way System (providing ~2 million €/year in 2011 – 2022 for astronomical research in Heidelberg). Ralf Klessen also is PI of the ERC Advanced Grant STARLIGHT: Formation of the First Stars ending in January 2019. In total, he has been awarded over 4.5 million € in personal grants in the past 10 years. Other researchers in the star formation group in Heidelberg have solicited a total of 2.2 million € in additional grant money.