Johann Wempe Award 2008 - Professor Ken Freeman

Portait photo

Prof. Kenneth C. Freeman

Credit: Emily McNeil

This year's Johann Wempe Prize of the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam (AIP) will be awarded on Monday, 15 December 2008 to Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Kenneth C. Freeman from the Australian National University for his life's work in researching the structure of galaxies.

The prize is financed by funds bequeathed by the last director of the former Astrophysical Observatory Potsdam, Prof. Dr. Johann Wempe (1906-1980). It includes an invitation to spend several months as a guest at the AIP with appropriate financial support. It can be awarded both to younger scientists who have already distinguished themselves with remarkable achievements and to experienced scientists in recognition of their life's work. Previous winners were Prof. Tom Abel of Stanford University (2001), Dr. Russel D. Cannon of the Anglo-Australian Observatory Sydney (2002), Dr. Isabelle Baraffe and Prof. Gilles Chabrier of the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon (2004), Dr. Alexander G. Kosovichev of the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon (2004), and Dr. G. Kosovichev of the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon (2004). Alexander G. Kosovichev of Stanford University (2005), Prof. Eva Grebel of the Astronomical Institute of the University of Basel (2006) and Dr. Ignasi Ribas of the Institut de Ciències de l'Espai in Barcelona, Spain (2007).

Prof. Ken Freeman's research interests lie mainly in the structure and formation of galaxies, especially our Milky Way. He has also devoted himself to the problem of dark matter in galaxies: he was one of the first to prove that spiral galaxies contain a very large amount of dark matter. Ken Freeman studied mathematics and physics at the University of Western Australia and graduated there with distinction in applied mathematics. For his doctorate, Ken Freeman went to Cambridge University to work in the field of theoretical astrophysics. After subsequent research stays at the University of Texas at Austin and a research fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge, Ken Freeman returned to Australia in 1967 as a Queen Elizabeth Fellow at Mt Stromlo Observatory. With the exception of a year at the Kapteyn Institute in Groningen, Ken Freeman has worked at Mt Stromlo Observatory ever since. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Western Australia, is a member of the Royal Society and the Australian Academy of Sciences, and is the recipient of numerous science awards. He is one of the five most cited scientists in Australia.

Prof. Dr. Gerry Gilmore from the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge will give a lecture on Prof. Freeman's field of research at the Wempe Award Ceremony on 15 December 2008: "Milky Way Formation - what needs to be explained".


Prof. Dr. Matthias Steinmetz
Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP)
An der Sternwarte 16
14482 Potsdam, Germany

Press contact at the AIP

Madleen Köppen

Last update: 10. November 2021