astrophysicist and author
Heino Falcke is an astrophysicist investigating the depths of the sky. He uses a network of telescopes spanning the entire planet to look for black holes and a lunar telescope to find the Big Bang. He believes in divine reason and in a reasonable God. Often, silly questions are his best answers. He is blessed with a mix of Rhineland humour and Prussian stubbornness. Falcke holds a professorship at the Radboud University in Nijmegen and is guest professor at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn. His scientific achievements earned him knightly accolades from the Dutch King. He received the Spinoza Prize, the highest scientific award in the Netherlands, and the Academy Award of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. He is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and an ordained predicant of the Protestant Church; in this role he performs marriages, baptisms, funerals and holds sermons. For a long time, the closest he got to heaven was in his microlight aircraft, until 6 April 2019, when the International Astronomical Union (IAU) named an asteroid after him: (12654) Heinofalcke. Ever since then, he’s been cruising the solar system on a very eccentric trajectory.
»SPIEGEL« SCIENCE editor
Born in 1974, Jörg Römer grew up in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and in Eastern Westphalia, Germany. In Hamburg, he pursued Mesoamerican and Latin American studies and studies of Prehistory and Ancient Civilizations while working in nursing care and as a journalist.
Since 2012, he has been working as freelance editor, and since 2015 as editor in the health & science department of DER SPIEGEL – Germany’s leading news magazine. Römer had written two articles about Heino Falcke and his research, before he joined him as a co-author.