Category Archives: News

Insight Data Science from inside

September has been a very unique month for me. As my Hubble Fellowship ended and I hadn’t taken up my new position as a data scientist at QuantCo yet, I had the opportunity to work all month long for Insight Data Science in Boston. Having gone through the program myself, I was a (hopefully) valuable support for Program Director Greg Antell (center left in the photo) in mentoring the 18 new fellows of the Fall Session.


I mainly provided feedback and ideas for the fellows’ data science projects, and gave workshops on machine learning and web development. Continue reading Insight Data Science from inside




On the last Monday of April we had our first meeting of star cluster aficionados in New York: GONYC – Globular, Open, Nuclear and Young massive star Clusters. Together with Nathan Leigh from the American Museum of Natural History I initiated this monthly get-together, because we both felt a bit detached from the rest of the star cluster community. This is mostly due to the fact that star cluster research is significantly underrepresented in the U.S., so we have to connect more actively across institutions. We decided to meet at the AMNH since it is the birthplace of one of the most important conference series in the star cluster community – the MODEST meetings. The long-term goal is to host a MODEST meeting at the AMNH again after the first one in 2002. It’s a great time for GONYC – the rapidly growing fields of nuclear star clusters, young massive star clusters, and super-massive star clusters like UCDs has boosted interest in basic gravitational dynamics and star cluster physics. If you want to join the meetings (next one is on May 20) contact me or Nathan!

Carne, Pisco and a Conference in Chile


With Steffen Mieske I’m currently organizing a conference called “Satellites and Streams in Santiago”, which will take place in April 2015 in Santiago de Chile. I’m very excited about this meeting, as the topic will be (as the name suggests) streams and satellites, and there hasn’t been a similar gathering of experts in these fields in more than a decade. With about 100 people, we will focus for one week on dwarf galaxies and globular clusters, which orbit around the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, as well as tidal streams, which these satellites produce while orbiting and dissolving in their host galaxy’s gravitational potential. Aim of the meeting is to bring the two communities together to create the big picture of how large galaxies like the Milky Way assemble mass over billions of years by eating smaller satellites and globular clusters, and how the gravitational fields of the host galaxies transform satellites with time.  Continue reading Carne, Pisco and a Conference in Chile

The BICEP2 CMB Telescope at the South Pole
The BICEP2 CMB Telescope at the South Pole

It’s not every day you wake up and learn something completely new about the Universe when it was a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second old!

Marc Kamionkowski at the BICEP2 press conference at Harvard’s CfA.

If gravity were not quantized, inflation would not produce gravitational waves. So we really are seeing a direct effect caused by the quantization of gravity, and it is the first time we’ve seen anything like that.

Alan Guth, inventor of the inflation idea, commenting on the BICEP2 measurements in an article in NewScientist.


One of the downsides of living abroad is that you’re missing important events back home. On Friday, my niece Julia was born and I couldn’t be happier about it. But not being able to see her and hold her in my arms is making me more homesick than ever. In compensation for that, and because it was overdue, I had a housewarming wine & cheese with my NY astro pals on Saturday.


The pic is taken from Kelle Cruz’s Instagram without permission. Thanks, Kelle! It was great fun, and I not only got to know my pals better, but also learned a lot about food costs in NYC. A wine & cheese, I estimated, costs pretty much twice as much as if you did the same back home in Germany!! Ach, Germany…