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

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

Academic Positions

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

Selected Professional Activities, Awards, Honors

2022— Member of board of National High Performance Computing Center TU Dresden


ERC Synergy Grant ECOGAL – Understanding our Galactic ecosystem: From the disk of the Milky Way to the formation sites of stars and planets
2020— Member of the DFG Fachkollegium 311 (Astrophysics and Astronomy)
2020—2021 Member of the panel P9 for ERC Advanced Grants
2019—2021 Speaker of the Excellence Cluster STRUCTURES at Heidelberg University
2019—2022 Head of the Curatorium of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy
2014—2015 Visiting professor at University of California, Santa Cruz
2013—2019 ERC Advanced Grant STARLIGHT: Formation of the First Stars
2012—2014 Dean of Study in Faculty of Physics and Astronomy, Heidelberg University
2011— Member of the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR)
2011—2022 Deputy speaker: DFG collaborative center SFB 881 The Milky Way System
2011—2017 Deputy speaker of DFG priority program SPP 1573 Physics of the ISM
2010—2014 Time allocation committee of Swiss Supercomputing Center (CSCS)
2010 Visiting professor at Stanford University and University of California, Santa Cruz
2009 Professeur Invite at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris
2008—2013 Deputy director of Center of Astronomy at Heidelberg University (ZAH)
2007—2014 Board of the IMPRS for Astronomy and Cosmic Physics in Heidelberg
2007—2013 Managing director of Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (ITA)
2007—2018 Member 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—2018 Steering committee of Forward Look on Comp. Science in Europe (ESF)
2002 Ludwig Biermann Award of the German Astronomical Society
2001 Emmy Noether Fellowship, German Science Foundation (DFG)
1999 Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society
1990—1991 Fulbright 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 was PI of the ERC Advanced Grant STARLIGHT: Formation of the First Stars running from 2013 to 2019 with a volume of 2.5 million €, and he is one of four PIs of the ERC Synergy Grant ECOGAL: Understanding our Galactic ecosystem – From the disk of the Milky Way to the formation sites of stars and planets covering the years 2020 to 2026 and totaling 12.5 million €. Altogether, he has been awarded over 10 million € in personal grants. Other researchers in the star formation group in Heidelberg have solicited a total of 2.2 million € in additional grant money.