Richard-Heinrich Giese

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The grave of Richard-Heinrich Giese and his parents in the Querenburg cemetery in Bochum.

Richard-Heinrich Giese (born September 13, 1931 in Stuttgart , † June 13, 1988 in Bochum ) was a German astrophysicist .

Live and act

Richard Giese, who discovered his love for astronomy when he was still at school in Ansbach , first studied physics at the Technical University of Stuttgart . At the University of Tübingen he continued his studies with a focus on astronomy and began to work with Professor Heinrich Friedrich Siedentopf on the scattering of light on dust particles. He completed his studies in 1958 with a diploma, which was followed by his doctorate in 1961 on "Scattering of electromagnetic radiation on absorbing and dielectric spherical particles".

After two months of research in the USA at the Smithsonian Institute in Cambridge (Massachusetts) , he completed his habilitation in Tübingen in 1964 with "investigations into a method for the optical determination of the axis of rotation of artificial satellites ". In the same year he moved to the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching. There he mainly worked on the development of models for the development of dust in the solar system and also dealt with the determination of densities in the high atmosphere by observing expanding clouds of neutral gas (artificially generated there by rockets).

In 1966 Richard Giese accepted a position at the Ruhr University in Bochum as a scientific department head and professor for geosciences and astronomy. In the following years he built up the field of extraterrestrial physics there. He supervised numerous diploma and doctoral students.

Giese's research interests focused primarily on the investigation of dust in the solar system and aerosols in the earth's atmosphere using the light scattering on the particles. His theoretical research was supplemented by experimental microwave analogy experiments and later by laser light experiments . The space research was Richard Giese closely connected. His work accompanied the rocket experiments of the Garching period, and he was involved with his own research project on the Helios space probe mission and in an international cooperation on the Giotto mission to Halley's Comet and in an experiment on the ESA space probe.

Appreciation, honorary positions

Richard Giese earned a high international reputation for himself and his working group with his research in the field of light scattering and its application to the interplanetary dust cloud.

From 1982 to 1985 he was President of Commission 21 ( Night Sky Lights ) of the International Astronomical Union . He was a board member of the Astronomical Society and the Working Group for Extraterrestrial Physics. He was also u. a. active as a reviewer for the German Research Foundation , the DFVLR and in the federal jury of the " Jugend forscht " foundation .


A larger number of publications as author and co-author include three reference books by Giese on space exploration and astronomy and teaching materials for the treatment of astronomical topics in physics lessons in schools.

  • Richard Heinrich Giese: Introduction to Astronomy . Bibliographical Institute, Mannheim-Vienna-Zurich 1984. Licensed edition. d. Knowledge Buchges., Darmstadt, ISBN 3-411-01686-8
  • Astronomy III , exercises from astronomy and space travel with detailed solutions, 1979
  • Earth, moon and neighboring planets , bibliogr. Institute, Mannheim 1969
  • Investigations into a method for the optical determination of the axis of rotation of artificial satellites , Tübingen 1964
  • Space Research Volumes I and II , University Pocket Book 107 / 107a, Bibliogr. Institute, Mannheim 1966


  • Manfred Bormann : Obituary for Richard Giese . In: Physikalische Blätter 44 (1988) No. 9, p. 374.
  • Eberhard Grün : Richard Heinrich Giese † . In: Mitteilungen der Astronomische Gesellschaft , Vol. 72 (1989), pp. 15f.

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