Sofja Kovalevskaja Prize brings Jason Dexter to the MPE

August 06, 2014
In early August, the Humboldt Foundation announced that Jason Dexter (currently at the University of California, Berkeley) will receive one of the most highly endowed scientific awards in Germany: this will enable the junior scientist to come to the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, where he will spend the next five years interpreting data of novel monitoring tools and testing general relativity near supermassive black holes.

The research of Dr. Jason Dexter is at the overlap between theory and observation. He works primarily on finding explanations for phenomena around the supermassive black hole at the centre of our galaxy, which can be observed using telescopes. This is one of the most competitive fields in astrophysics – and an area in which the American astrophysicist has already made his mark. At MPE he plans to interpret data from novel observing instruments using models. In particular, Dexter will use data from the new Gravity instrument, which is being developed here in Garching. With his work, he will contribute to testing the general theory of relativity near supermassive black holes - a field that is largely unexplored in modern astrophysics so far.

Dr. Jason Dexter was born in 1983 in the United States. He graduated from Occidental College, Los Angeles with a bachelor's degree in physics in 2005, followed by his master and his dissertation at the University of Washington in 2011. Since then he worked at the University of California, Berkeley as postdoc. Dexter has been involved in the project "Event Horizon Telescope" since 2013, where an international research team is working to combine radio telescopes on different continents, and to gain ever sharper insights into the centre of our Milky Way and other galaxies.

The Sofja Kovalevskaja Prize is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Germany and is being awarded every two years. This year, the Humboldt Foundation awards the Sofja Kovalevskaja Prize to eleven research talents aged from 29 to 40 years. With the programme, the junior scientists and scholars receive a grant of up to 1.65 million euros at an early stage of their career - venture capital for innovative projects. This enables them to do their research for up to five years at German universities and research institutions and to build their own research group at their host institutions. The official ceremony will take place in November in Berlin, when Federal Research Minister Johanna Wanka and the President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Helmut Schwarz, will present the junior scientists with their prize.


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