Harald Lesch

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Harald Lesch (2018)

Harald Lesch (born July 28, 1960 in Gießen ) is a German astrophysicist , natural philosopher , science journalist , television presenter and audio book speaker . He is professor of physics at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and lecturer in natural philosophy at the Munich University of Philosophy .


Lesch grew up as the son of a host family in the Nieder-Ohmen district of the Mücke municipality in Hesse . His father was a heavy current electrician. After graduating from the Theo Koch School in Grünberg in 1978 , Lesch studied physics and philosophy as a minor at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen , then at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn , where he completed his diploma in 1984 with a thesis on Topic Solar Wind Interaction with the Interstellar Medium (German "interaction of the solar wind with the interstellar medium") concluded. There he was in 1987 with the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy -built (MPIfR) dissertation on nonlinear plasma processes in active galactic nuclei to Dr. rer. nat. PhD . Between 1988 and 1991 Lesch was research assistant at the State Observatory in Heidelberg-Königstuhl . From 1991 to 1995 he worked as a research assistant at the MPIfR in Bonn . In 1992 Lesch was visiting professor at the University of Toronto . In 1994 he completed his habilitation at the University of Bonn with a thesis on Galactic Dynamics and Magnetic Fields (German " Galactic Dynamics and Magnetic Fields ").

Lesch had been married to Carolina Haut since 1984. They have their son Florian. Harald Lesch is currently married to Cecilia Scorza de Appl (* 1961 in Hamburg). Cecilia's parents are Venezuelan doctors. She grew up in Venezuela and England, studied physics in Mérida and received her doctorate in astronomy in Heidelberg in 1992 . She then worked there for a few years at the state observatory as a scientist on the study of galaxies.

According to his own statement, Lesch is " Protestant from head to toe ".


At a lecture, on the blackboard his nickname Harry (2010)

Since 1995 Lesch has been Professor of Astrophysics at the Chair of Astronomy and Astrophysics - Observing and Experimental Astronomy at / at the University Observatory of the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich . He also teaches natural philosophy at the Munich University of Philosophy. His main areas of research are cosmic plasma physics , black holes and neutron stars . He is a specialist reviewer for astrophysics for the German Research Foundation (DFG) and a member of the Astronomical Society . He is also a non-fiction author.

At a lecture "How light comes into the world" in Jena (2015)

Lesch is best known for his television appearances, initially as the presenter of the alpha-Centauri series, which was broadcast from 1998 to 2007 . From this his media presence on television and radio developed. Typical of his style of moderation in both media is that he gives a lecture alone (usually in a 15-minute framework) or holds a dialogue with a conversation partner. In this way he tries to bring complex scientific and philosophical issues closer to the audience.

Since 2005, Harald Lesch has regularly published books and book chapters with the historian of science Harald Zaun . B. the bestseller The Shortest Story of All Life.

Since 2014 Harald Lesch has also been a member of the Advisory Board of the Heraeus Education Foundation ; since October 2015 he has been a member of the Bavarian Climate Council.

Television appearances

Lesch took part in 1994 with Ranga Yogeshwar , Illobrand von Ludwiger and Heinz Rohde in the live panel discussion hosted by Peter Gatter : UFOs: Do they really exist? of the ARD in Hamburg . The discussion was triggered by Heinz Rohde's controversial documentary UFOs ... and they do exist!


Lesch started his media career with BR-alpha , initially with alpha-Centauri (1998–2007), where he dealt with topics from the field of astrophysics. Other productions by the same station were later added: In Lesch & Co. (2001–2006) and Denker des Abendlandes (from 2005) he talks about philosophical topics with his friend, philosophy professor Wilhelm Vossenkuhl . Alpha bis Omega (2003-2008) dealt with topics between religion and natural sciences in a conversation between Lesch and the Catholic theologian Thomas Schwartz .

On the occasion of the Einstein year 2005, BR-alpha broadcast the eight-part series The Physics of Albert Einstein , in which each episode presented a single scientific finding by Albert Einstein von Lesch and its significance. Starting in August 2007, BR-alpha broadcast the 16-part program The 4 Elements every week , which deals with the nature of the world and deals with the natural-scientific as well as the cultural-historical aspect. In 2007, BR-alpha started a series of LeschZug in which Lesch was supposed to give his opinion on a current topic while driving in the Munich subway. However, only one episode was produced in which he spoke about the challenge of climate change.

Sci Fi

For the pay-TV - interest channel SciFi differentiated Lesch 2006 in the lecture series Star Trek - Science vs. Fiction with 15 episodes scientifically based and fictional components of Star Trek . From April to the end of 2007 Lesch hosted the weekly 5-minute program sci xpert - Leschs Universum for SciFi , which dealt with audience questions that revolved around the feasibility of science fiction concepts (such as: How realistic are the large spaceships from Independence Day ? ), But also related to purely scientific topics (e.g. what is gravity ? ), Which were treated in the tradition of alpha-Centauri . A total of 35 episodes were created.

ZDF and ZDFneo

From September 2008 he hosted the adventure research program on ZDF . He succeeded Joachim Bublath , who had presented this program for many years. Drill or chill for the result ? The way to the super child he won the Bavarian TV Prize in 2012 . The series was renamed Leschs Kosmos in 2014 (not to be confused with the eponymous predecessor of the series Ask den Lesch on ZDFneo ).

At the start of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 , he hosted the two-and-a-half-hour special program How light came into the world: The Long Night with Harald Lesch , in which he - between recorded documentary films - talks with the cabaret artist Christoph Süß and the physicist Günther Hasinger and the theologian Thomas Schwartz .

Since 2009 Lesch has been running the Terra-X series Faszination Universum on ZDF - also as the successor to Joachim Bublath . In 2017 Lesch presented the three-part Terra-X series The Great Beginning. 500 years of the Reformation . The following year he led the two-part Terra-X series Unresolved Cases of Archeology .

From 2010 to 2017, Lesch hosted the quarter-hour program Leschs Kosmos on ZDFneo , which was renamed Ask den Lesch in 2013 with the start of the second season . The video channel Terra X Lesch & Co on YouTube , a ZDF production, in cooperation with objektiv media, originated from this series .

In 2016 Lesch dealt with the statements from the election manifesto of Alternative für Deutschland that denied human-made global warming , and refuted them. AfD supporters then wrote him hate mail and complained to the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich , where Lesch teaches as a professor. Representatives of EIKE , an association for climate change denial and the fight against climate protection, attacked him particularly hard . Lesch responded with a Terra-X episode on the psychology of hatred in which he explored the motivation behind such attacks.

In 2018 Lesch was a guest in the 33rd episode of Die Anstalt . The topic was global warming and how society deals with it.


Harald Lesch receiving the German Television Award (2018)


  • Nonlinear plasma processes in active galactic nuclei. Dissertation , University of Bonn , 1987, DNB 880719311 .
  • Galactic dynamics and magnetic fields. Habilitation thesis , University of Bonn, 1994.
  • Sun. 20 poems from five continents. Scientific introduction and astronomical formulas by Harald Lesch. Hand typesetting on Velin d'Arches paper 160 g / m² and Gmund Color 100 g / m², 70 numbered and signed copies, GaragenDruck Munich. (No ISBN and not in DNB)



Web links

Commons : Harald Lesch  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Why aliens are in a bad mood. In: Gießener Allgemeine . June 23, 2009. Retrieved June 10, 2011 .
  2. Information on speakers and moderators. EKHN Foundation, accessed on July 17, 2020 .
  3. Matthias Korfmann: Harald Lesch: "I learned to talk in the pub". August 24, 2008, accessed on July 17, 2020 (German).
  4. Successful with comprehensive school leaving certificate , Gießener Allgemeine, February 23, 2018
  5. Curriculum Vitae - Prof. Dr. Harald Lesch. Department of Physics at Ludwig Maximilians University, March 10, 2005, accessed on July 17, 2020 .
  6. A couple explains the universe. February 28, 2018, accessed July 17, 2020 .
  7. ^ Scorza, Cecilia | House of Astronomy. Retrieved July 17, 2020 .
  8. How the great bear came to heaven. Retrieved July 17, 2020 (Austrian German).
  9. Stories That Heaven Tells: Cecilia Scorza de Appl: 9783936765045. Retrieved July 17, 2020 .
  10. Planet sagas . Retrieved on August 9, 2020 (Swiss Standard German).
  11. "I am a Protestant from head to toe" - Interview with Harald Lesch , last seen on June 5, 2018.
  12. Harald Lesch, the Protestant: Lesch about his evangelical being , zdf.de, April 14, 2017
  13. Harald Lesch: Curriculum Vitae
  14. Prof. Dr. Harald Lesch. Munich University of Philosophy, accessed on April 20, 2020 .
  15. My work with Harald Lesch - Harald Zaun . In: Harald Zaun . ( haraldzaun.de [accessed on February 21, 2018]).
  16. Terra X Lesch & Co. In: YouTube. Retrieved May 28, 2016 .
  17. "Very ugly hate mail". In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . August 15, 2016. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  18. Harald Lesch on climate skeptics. “The generation of the economic miracle feels under massive attack”. In: Geo . April 27, 2017. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
  19. Press release on the award of the Communicator Prize 2005 to H. Lesch
  20. Nürnberger Astronomische Gesellschaft: Award of the Gold Medal of Merit to Harald Lesch ( Memento from March 30, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  21. "Naturforschende again has over 100 members". Retrieved June 9, 2012 .
  22. Harald Lesch becomes an honorary member. Archived from the original on March 13, 2012 ; Retrieved September 11, 2011 .
  23. Professor Dr. Harald Lesch is "University Professor of the Year". Retrieved November 28, 2011 .
  24. University professor of the year 2012. Accessed July 5, 2012 .
  25. Award of the Bavarian Constitutional Medal 2016 p. 24.
  26. Prime Minister Dr. Markus Söder awards Bavarian Order of Merit | Bavarian state portal. Retrieved July 23, 2019 .
  27. ^ Hanns-Joachim-Friedrichs-Preis: Nguyen-Kim and Lesch awarded. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung GmbH, Munich, sueddeutsche.de. November 14, 2019, accessed November 15, 2019 .
  28. Suddenly gay in the Süddeutsche Zeitung on June 8, 2014
  29. ^ Announcement from the Starkenburg observatory ( memento of October 27, 2010 in the Internet Archive ), of June 18, 2010.
  30. 35357 Haraldlesch (1997 SX9) @ JPL Small-Body Database Browser, accessed on August 18, 2011.
  31. ^ Board of Directors of the Haar Community Foundation