Ernst Mach Medal for Andreas Eckart
Award of the Czech Academy of Sciences for Cologne Professor and External Scientific Member of the MPIfR
Professor Andreas Eckart of the University of Cologne, an External Scientific Member at Bonn's Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, received the Ernst Mach Medal of Honor from the Czech Academy of Sciences for his lifelong contribution to physics at a three-day meeting of experts on the dynamics and physics of black holes and star formation in galactic nuclei at the Observatory and Planetarium Brno in early June.
Prof. Andreas Eckart, External Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, received the Ernst Mach Medal of Honor of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic for his life's work on June 1, 2022. The award, which is the Czech Republic's highest recognition for scientific achievements in physics, was presented to Prof. Eckart in a ceremony in Brno, co-organized by the Observatory and the Masaryk University, by Academy President Prof. Dr. Eva Zažímalová.
Prof. Eckart worked in the field of "Very Long Baseline Interferometry" (VLBI) at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Bonn from 1980 onwards as part of his diploma thesis and subsequent doctorate. He received his PhD from the University of Münster in 1984 and was awarded the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society in the same year. After scientific work at the MPIfR in Bonn, as a Feodor Lynen Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the Steward Observatory in Tucson (USA) and finally at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, he took up a professorship in physics at the University of Cologne in 2000.
In addition to significant contributions to near-infrared instruments such as SHARP or GRAVITY for telescopes of the European Southern Observatory, Prof. Eckart performed the first spatially high-resolution near-infrared observations of the stars in close proximity to the super-massive black hole Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) at the center of our Galaxy. Also, in 2002, he demonstrated for the first time that the high-speed star S2 is gravitationally bound to Sgr A*. In the last two decades, Prof. Eckart also made important contributions to the understanding of accretion processes in the immediate vicinity of the black hole with, among others, the first simultaneous observation of a glow of Sgr A* in the X-ray and infra-red wavelength range.
The award named after Ernst Mach has been granted by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic since 1996.