Chemical Elements as Tracers of the Evolution of the Cosmos

ChETEC’s Synergy Agent Friedrich-Karl Thielemann honoured with Karl-Schwarzschild Medal

The German astronomy society “Astronomische Gesellschaft” awarded this year’s Karl Schwarzschild prize to Friedrich-Karl Thielemann.

The Karl Schwarzschild medal is Germany’s most-prestigious prize in the field of astronomy and astrophysics. The German "Astronomische Gesellschaft" now honours the live-long and multi-facetted contributions of Friedrich-Karl (Friedel) Thielemann in over 40 years of his science life, centered around the questions of how the universe has been enriched with new isotopes. His main work is on understanding supernova explosions and the nuclear reactions occurring within these, and on measuring and understanding the changes in elemental and isotopic abundances in response to sources of nucleosynthesis, in particular of the neutron capture reaction networks of the r and s processes. Uniquely, Friedel Thielemann as a theorist always maintained close connections to astronomical observers and nuclear-physics experimentalists, which reflects the challenges of the field of nuclear astrophysics, as it also is the topic of our ChETEC Action.
Friedel Thielemann started out as a student at Darmstadt’s TH, Germany, with other well-known astrophysicists Wolfgang Hillebrandt and Ewald Mueller. He followed these to the MPA in Garching, where he acquired his PhD. He left Germany for the USA to continue nuclear astrophysics science as a PostDoc in Chicago and at CalTech. Leading scientists in astrophysics such as David Schramm, Willy Fowler, Dave Arnett, Jim Truran, and John Cowan were his colleagues during those years. After 8 years at Harvard University, he returned to Europe leading the astrophysics group at Basel’s university in Switzerland. Still an active scientist as an emeritus, he is now also based at Darmstadt’s GSI institute, quite close to where he started as a student.
Friedel Thielemann always supported open-minded collaborations, as a member of the Swiss National Council, and in European networks such as EuroGenesis and ChETEC. The ChETEC community is proud to have him as a Synergy Agent, and congratulates him for this Karl Schwarzschild award.