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HandWiki. Heino Falcke. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 20 June 2024).
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Heino Falcke
astroparticle physics radio astronomy falcke

1. Introduction

Heino Falcke (born 1966) is a German professor of radio astronomy and astroparticle physics at the Radboud University Nijmegen. He was a winner of the 2011 Spinoza Prize.[1] His main field of study is black holes. In 2013 a team under his lead earned a 14 million euro research grant of the European Research Council for further studies into black holes.

2. Career

Falcke was born in Cologne, Germany, in 1966.[1] He studied physics at the universities of Cologne and Bonn and graduated in 1992. He obtained a further doctorate summa cum laude in 1994 from the University of Bonn.[1] Falcke subsequently worked as a scientist for the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, the University of Maryland and University of Arizona.[1]

Falcke won the Ludwig Biermann Award for young astronomers of the German Astronomische Gesellschaft in 2000.[2][3]

In 2003 he became adjunct professor of Radio Astronomy and Astroparticle physics at Radboud University Nijmegen. He also started working for ASTRON, the radio astronomy institute of the Netherlands. In 2007 he became a full professor at Nijmegen.[1]

In 2006 Falcke won the Academy Prize of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities.[3][4]

Falcke received an Advanced Research Grant of the European Research Council of 3.5 million euro in 2008.[3] In 2011 he was one of three winners of the Dutch Spinoza Prize and received a 2.5 million euro grant.[5] The awarding organisation, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, praised Falcke for providing new insights regarding black holes. They called him one of the leading forces behind the radio telescope LOFAR.[1] Falcke worked on the design of the telescope.[3]

In 2013 Falcke, as lead scientist of a team, received a European Research Council Synergy grant of 14 million euro. The grant was intended for further studies on black holes, specifically Sagittarius A*.[6][7] The goal was to construct a Black Hole Camera with the grant.[8] This would allow testing of Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity by creating an image of the event horizon.[6]

Since 2014 Falcke is member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.[9]

3. Research

Falcke is involved in theoretical astronomy as well as observational and experimental studies.[10] Apart from his work with LOFAR, he also is involved in the development of the Square Kilometre Array.[10]

In 2000 he predicted it would be possible to make measurements near the edge of a black hole. Four years later his team managed to do that.[10] In 2013 Falcke together with Luciano Rezzolla of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics proposed that blitzars could be an explanation for fast radio bursts.[11] Blitzars would occur when a supramassive rotating neutron star slows down enough, loses its magnetic field and then turns into a black hole.[12][13]

Falcke has predicted that near the edges of a black hole there would be a 'black hole shadow' which could be detected by a radio telescope.[3]

Falcke wishes to place a radio telescope on the Moon and has worked with NASA and European Space Agency researchers to devise a plan to make this happen.[3]

4. Personal Life

Falcke is a Christian, he serves as lay pastor in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands.[14] He views his faith as a way of achieving internal rest as well as a motivation to conduct science.[14]

Further Reading
In this part, we encourage you to list the link of papers wrote by the character, or published reviews/articles about his/her academic contributions. Edit


  1. "Prof. H.D.E. (Heino) Falcke". Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. 26 August 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  2. "Recipients of the Ludwig Biermann Award". Astronomische Gesellschaft. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  3. "Heino Falcke receives highest Dutch scientific award" (in Dutch). ASTRON. 7 June 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  4. "Akademiepreis 2006" (in German). Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  5. "NWO Spinoza Prize 2011". Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. 26 August 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  6. "14 miljoen euro in zwart gat" (in Dutch). De Telegraaf. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  7. "14 miljoen voor onderzoek Heino Falcke naar zwarte gaten" (in Dutch). Radboud University Nijmegen. 17 December 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  8. Govert Schilling (4 January 2014). "Maken we over vijf jaar foto's van zwarte gaten?" (in Dutch). de Volkskrant. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  9. "Heino Falcke" (in Dutch). Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
  10. "Heino Falcke kijkt verder dan de horizon van het zwarte gat" (in Dutch). Radboud University Nijmegen. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  11. Govert Schilling (4 July 2013). "Mystery radio bursts blamed on black hole ‘blitzars’". New Scientist. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  12. "Afscheidsgroet van een stervende ster" (in Dutch). Radboud University Nijmegen. 4 July 2013. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  13. John Timmer (8 July 2013). "Possible explanation for radio bursts: Meet the "blitzar"" (in Dutch). Ars Technica. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  14. Ellen Nieuwenhuijze (15 March 2013). "Wetenschap beantwoordt niet alles" (in Dutch). Trouw. Retrieved 25 July 2015. 
Name: Heino Falcke
Born: Jan 1966
Cologne, Germany
Title: Professor of radio astronomy and astroparticle physics
Affiliation: Radboud University Nijmegen
Honor: 2011 Spinoza Prize
Subjects: Others
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View Times: 361
Entry Collection: HandWiki
Revision: 1 time (View History)
Update Date: 17 Nov 2022
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