Doctoral Thesis Prize 2020

Anna-Christina Eilers is awarded the 2020 Doctoral Thesis Prize for her studies on quasars in the early Universe and the dynamics of the Milky Way.


Anna-Christina Eilers from the MPIA in Heidelberg, now a NASA Hubble Fellow at the MIT, USA, studied in her thesis the diffuse gas in the intergalactic medium to infer the emission properties of distant luminous quasars, and to probe and understand the physical conditions in the universe after the epoch of reionization.

The scientific results of her thesis have been published in several first author papers and have been very well received by experts in the field. By studying quasar proximity zones, i.e. the immediate environment of the quasar where the diffuse gas is highly ionized by the intense quasar radiation, Anna-Christina Eilers discovered a new population of high redshift young quasars.

In parallel she also studied the structure of the Milky Way, by applying machine learning techniques to astrometric and spectroscopic data resulting in the most precise measurement of the Milky Way’s circular velocity curve to date. Her outstanding research was also recognized with the Ernst Patzer Award, the Heraeus PhD Prize, the Otto Hahn Medal and the IAU PhD Prize.