Karl Schwarzschild Medal 2020

The most prestigious prize in Germany in the field of astronomy and astrophysics, the Karl Schwarzschild Medal, is awarded to Friedrich-Karl Thielemann in honour of his research on the boundary of nuclear physics and astrophysics.


His theoretical efforts, combined with comparison to experiments and observations, has had a significant impact on the understanding of stellar explosions. In his many outstanding theoretical contributions, he predicted nuclear cross sections and reaction rates of nuclei across the nuclear chart, including highly unstable ones.

During his more than 40-year career, he achieved a full circle from nuclear input to studies of stellar evolution and explosions, the formation of heavy elements and the resulting chemical evolution of galaxies. Friedrich-Karl Thielemann excelled in providing the basis for the most extreme events in the universe from type Ia supernovae, novae and X-ray bursts, core-collapse supernovae and hypernovae to neutron star mergers.

Thielemann’s dedication to the combination of mathematics and physics to unravel the origins of the elements in the universe has allowed him to hold professional positions around the globe. He currently holds an emeritus professorship in the field of cosmology and particle physics at the University of Basel, and also continues his research as a guest scientist at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt. Thielemann is member of the German Astronomical Society since 1978.

Photo: Dr. Friedrich-Karl Thielemann (Credit: Schweizerische Akademie der Naturwissenschaften)