I am Director at the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy and head of the Research Department for ‘Very Long Baseline Interferometry’. My research focus is on galaxies in the Universe, which are millions of light years away from us. I combine radio antennas around the World and in Space to form an Earth-size and larger virtual astronomical telescope capable of making images of the central galactic regions, And I brought together the global collaboration that showed the World in 2019 the first image of the supermassive Black Hole in the galaxy Messier 87.
The next focus of my research: How are the Black Holes and the huge super-energetic jets of hot gas in galaxies connected?
My journey in astrophysics began over 40 years ago on the day I saw for the first time the giant radio telescope in Effelsberg. A formidable yet very elegant steel structure 100 meters in diameter weighing 3500 tons! At the same time a very sensitive instrument, placed in the solitude and rough beauty of Germany’s mountainous Eifel region. Such astronomical telescopes give us a view at the vast depth of Space, unreachable for us with any space craft. They let us study distant galaxies in the Universe similar to our own Milky Way. And we think that they harbour gigantic black holes of masses billions of times that of the Sun. I have been a radio astronomer ever since.
Student of physics and astronomy in Cologne and Münster 1976-1980
Graduate researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy 1980-1984
Doctorate University Münster 1984
Postdoctoral researcher at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) 1985-1991
Basic Research Staff at NRAO 1991-2001, tenure from Associated Universities Inc. 1995
Scientific Member of the Max Planck Gesellschaft and Director at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy since 1997
Professor (hon.) at the University of Cologne Institute for Astrophysics since 2005
Advanced Grant of the European Research Council 2021
Breakthrough Prize 2020, Group Award of the Royal Astronomical Society 2021, Einstein Medal of the Swiss Einstein Society 2020, Bruno Rossi Group Award of the American Astronomical Society 2020 and other awards, with the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration (see full list)
Radioastron Bronze Medal of the Astro Space Center Moscow
Golden Medal of the Institute for Applied Astrophysics St. Petersburg
Prof (hon.) at the University of Cologne 2005
Max Planck Research Prize of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Max Planck Society
Humboldt Research Prize of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
Doctoral Stipend from the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes
I find answers to fundamental questions about our Universe
I lead world-wide science collaborations
As a Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society and Director at one of the World’s leading institutes for astronomy I am in the unique position to undertake difficult long-term research endeavors. And for over 25 years I engage besides my research activities in building the European and global collaborations of institutions and scientists necessary for our ambitious projects.
I lead an outstanding team of scientists. We are astrophysicists, radio astronomers, engineers and technicians and we are experts in Very Long Baseline Interferometry. We use this powerful technology to image distant galaxy cores with extremely high resolution. For 25 years we have pushed the limits of this method to millimeter wavelengths. And we have joined forces with global groups to perform the most precise experiments from Earth and also using antennas in space. These form the foundation for our astrophysical studies.
In 2017 I organized the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration (EHTC) with a group of international partners. And as Founding Chair of the EHTC Board, I played a key role in this project. We brought together the most powerful and precise radio telescopes world-wide and over 200 scientists and engineers from more than 60 institutions. This global effort succeeded in 2019 in making the first image of a Black Hole in the Galaxy Messier 87. This is widely considered one of the most important scientific results of the decade, seen by an estimated more than one billion people. We had made the invisible visible.
In Europe we have a number of world-class radio telescopes, which are used for a broad range of astrophysical studies. These facilities are available to all qualified scientist in Europe and beyond. This ensures that the best science can get done by the brightest minds. For over 20 years we have partnered with the European Commission in the project RadioNet to enable such merit based access, and also technical development and training. I led this project as Coordinator for eight years until it ended in 2020 and I am now a Scientific Coordinator of the EC’s follow-up OPTICON-RADIONET PILOT project, which is developing the means to maintain this access provision into the future.
I founded the “International Max Planck Research school for Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Universities of Bonn and Cologne” in 2002. This has become a top-of-class structured program ensuring the highest quality of training and support for our doctoral students. Many of our alumni have moved on to successful careers in astronomy and beyond.
EHT Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration – Board member; Founding Board Chair 2015-2020
RadioNet, a project funded by the European Union under Horizon 2020 – Coordinator
ORP OPTICON-RADIONET Pilot, a project funded by the European Union under Horizon 2020 – Scientific Coordinator
IMPRS International Max-Planck-Research School (IMPRS) for Astronomy and Astrophysics, at the Universities of Bonn and Cologne – Founding Director and Speaker since 2002
EVN European VLBI Network – past Chair Board of Directors
JIV-Eric Joint Institute for VLBI European Research Infrastructure – Council member and Past Chair of the JIVE Board
ISSC International SKA Steering Council and SSEC SKA Science and Engineering Council
GLOW German Long Wavelength Consortium – Founder and past Chair
RISC RadioAstron International Science Council
VSOP VLBI Space Observatory Programme – Past Chair International Science Council
In the course of my career I have learned from brilliant and leading pioneers in my field and I myself have for many years trained young scientists in my team. Going further I help as a mentor and coach the next generation of research leaders and executives on their own way to the top in their field.
I serve as a mentor in the Elisabeth-Schiemann-Kolleg for high-potential female research group leaders and I offer mentoring in the Mentoring Programme of the Deutsche-Gesellschaft der Humboldtianer.
My experience with individuals, and distributed and diverse teams led me to include coaching methods in my leadership. And becoming a certified systemic coach has widened my perspective on leading and supporting the individuals under my stewardship.
It is my job to support and encourage the next generation of research leaders
I build bridges between science and society
We have a responsibility as scientists to demonstrate to the public the importance and relevance of our efforts. Ideally, we inspire and make our audiences appreciate the importance of science.
In my public lectures and interviews I explain our discoveries to non-experts and I put my experience as a leader in basic research into the wider context of our society.
As a postdoctoral researcher in my team you will take your career to the next level. We offer outstanding research opportunities and we support you in your career development.
We are now hiring post docs with relevant expertise for M2FINDERS, an ambitious project enabled for the next five years by an Advanced Grant I hold from the European Research Council. M2FINDERS will measure the strength and structure of magnetic fields in the inner 1000 gravitational radii of active galaxies.
As a selected doctoral degree candidate you receive a 3-year funded appointment and individual supervision by an experienced researcher in my team. And we support you in developing your independence in research and in taking your next career step. And you will be a member in the International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Universities of Bonn and Cologne. This provides a structured support framework tailored to the needs of our diverse international group of students.
Research projects for students working on their Master’s thesis are supervised by experienced scientists in my group. Hourly work contracts as „Studentische Hilskraft“ are available for eligible and qualified students.
Send inquiries for working with us for your Master‘s thesis to Prof. Eduardo Ros at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Max Planck Society has a comprehensive set of provisions to foster a diverse, multi-cultural and inclusive environment.
All employees are bound to abide by the society-wide code-of-conduct, the rules of scientific conduct and Germany’s comprehensive relevant national legislation.
As Director I am committed to ensure that the department is enabling top-class research and maintaining a collegial, fair, safe and supporting working atmosphere.