Short CV/Education and training

    Studied physics and astronomy at the University of Hannover and Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

    Doctorate at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching, Germany

    W2 researcher at the MPE

    Researcher at Technische Universitaet Muenchen / Excellence Cluster 'Universe'

    Now at Max-Planck Institut fuer Radioastronomie

    Extended stays of several months abroad (USA and Australia)

Selected publications

  • Komossa, S.: Tidal Disruption Flares from Recoiling Supermassive Black Holes. In: Astrophysical Journal 683, 2008. L21.

  • Komossa, S.: Discovery of a binary AGN in the ultraluminous infrared galaxy NGC 6240 using Chandra. In: Astrophysical Journal 582, 2003. L15.

  • Komossa, S.: X-ray Evidence for Supermassive Black Holes at the Centers of Nearby Galaxies, Ludwig-Biermann-Award Lecture. In: Reviews in Modern Astronomy 15, 27.

  • Komossa, S.: The giant X-ray outbursts in NGC 5905 and IC 3599: Follow-up observations and outburst scenarios. In: Astronomy & Astrophysics 343, 1999. S. 775.

  • Komossa, S.: Interpretation of the emission line spectra of Seyfert 2 galaxies by multi-component photoionization models. In: Astronomy & Astrophysics 323, 1997. S. 31.

Complete list of publications

Selected projects

  • Various methods for detecting black holes in galactic nuclei

  • Initial detection of, and the ongoing search for, binary black holes

  • Scaling relations (of host galaxies and black holes) and the growth of black holes

  • Interpretation of the X-ray spectra of active galaxies by means of models of absorption and emission

  • Use of large databanks to search for new phenomena and for the statistical investigation of classes of astrophysical objects

Membership in scientific bodies/juries

  • Member of the German Astronomical Society

  • Member of committees for evaluating proposals submitted for research projects using the Chandra and XMM-Newton observatories

Additional qualifications

  • ca. 230 publications

  • 130 presentations at colloquia and international conferences, 90 of them as an invited speaker

  • Co-organiser of international conferences

  • Reviewer for numerous astrophysics journals, for national and international research projects and for proposals for observation time at various observatories

  • Numerous successful proposals for research projects at large ground-based and space-based observatories and for research funding to support doctoral students, postdocs and visiting scientists

  • Supervision of doctoral students and postdocs

  • Public outreach activities


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  1. The Dance of Black Holes

    A pair of supermassive black holes orbiting one another have been discovered by an international research team, including Stefanie Komossa from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany. This pair was found because they were ripping apart a star when ESA's space observatory XMM-Newton happened to be looking in their direction.

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