(Last update: Jan. 17, 2022)
The Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg (ZAH) is the largest university astronomy group within Germany. Established 2005, its broad spectrum of scientific activity ranges from research in planet formation and galaxy evolution to cosmology and the development and building of astrophysical instrumentation. The interdependence of the different fields is also reflected in its Research Collaborations.
The ZAH is closely connected to the Department of Physics and Astronomy and cooperates with the Max-Planck Institutes for Astronomy (MPIA), the Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics (MPIK) and Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS).
ZAH Managing Director is Prof. Dr Norbert Christlieb.
ZAH Scientific Manager is Dr Guido Thimm.
ZAH is one of the Central Research Institutions (CRIs) of Heidelberg University and as such directly linked to the rector of Heidelberg University, Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel. ZAH's location within the overall organisational structure of Heidelberg University is shown below.
Central body is the Board of Directors. Members of this board are all ZAH full and affiliated professors. The ZAH Directorate meets once per month to discuss and decide about ZAH relevant issues. The ZAH managing director runs daily affairs and represents interests of the ZAH Directorate towards the Rector of Heidelberg University and other university entities. Each of the three ZAH institutes (ARI, ITA, LSW) is lead by the institute managing director.
The ZAH Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) represents ZAH’s central advisory unit, primarily towards the Rector of Heidelberg University. Membership and assignments of the SAC are described in the ZAH bylaws.
The ZAH Internal Scientific Council (ISC) was established in 2011. Members of the ISC are all scientific staff members of ZAH, junior group leaders and postdocs and student representatives. In contrast to the SAC, the ISC primarily supports the Board of Directors regarding its decisions e.g. about ZAH's scientific research goals, internal administrative regulations or the astronomy teaching curriculum. Chair of the ISC is Dr Yiannis Tsapras.
A sketch of ZAH’s corporate structure is displayed below.
Beside its organisational structure this diagram visualizes ZAH’s intensive interaction with other parts of Heidelberg University and local research institutes. This interaction is most intensive with the Department of Physics and Astronomy. ZAH scientists contribute to the Faculty's teaching curriculum with regular and special astronomy or astrophysics courses, as lecturers in regular physics courses or in physics tutorials. Apart from this connection ZAH scientists are members of various committees and boards of the Faculty.
The directors of two research groups at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) hold appointments as full professors at ZAH (Saskia Hekker and Friedrich Röpke). Both professorships have been established by the "Klaus-Tschira Foundation (KTS)".