Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon for Volker Schönfelder

June 21, 2021

On 21 June 2021, the Bavarian State Secretary for Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy, Roland Weigert, awarded the Federal Cross of Merit on Ribbon to Professor Dr Volker Schönfelder, former head of the Gamma Astronomy Group at MPE from 1982 to 2004.

From right: The Bavarian State Secretary for Economic Affairs, Roland Weigert, with Prof. Dr. Volker Schönfelder and his brother.

From 1970 to 2004, Volker Schönfelder was a scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching; in particular, he was head of the Gamma Astronomy Group from 1982 to 2004. He was also an applied professor at the Faculty of Physics at the Technical University of Munich from 1995 to 2004. Among other things, he developed the Compton telescope, which was optimised in several balloon experiments and finally brought into orbit in the COMPTEL project as part of NASA's Gamma Ray Observatory in 1991. The telescope produced, among other things, the first sky survey in the gamma-ray range. In a the second major satellite mission, Schönfelder was also co-PI of the high-resolution spectrometer SPI, which was launched into space with ESA's INTEGRAL observatory in 2002 from Baikonur and is still delivering data today.

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