Xander Tielens

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Alexander Godfried Gerardus Maria † Xander Tielens , also cited by AGGM Tielens, (* 1953 ) is a Dutch astronomer . He is a professor at the observatory at Leiden University .

Tielens studied astronomy at Leiden University with the degree in 1982 and was followed several years at the Ames Research Center of NASA , interrupted by the time 1985 to 1989 at the University of California, Berkeley . From 1997 he taught astrophysics at the University of Groningen (professor 2004) and was at the Netherlands Institute for Space Research (SRON). In 2005 he was also back at the Ames Research Center, but remained an associate professor in Groningen. In 2009 he became a professor in Leiden.

Among other things, he conducts research at the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) and the Herschel Space Telescope (lead scientist at the HIFI).

He pioneered the role of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in interstellar clouds of gas and dust, and was one of the first to recognize the important role these large molecules play in interstellar matter chemistry. He also discovered that much of the interstellar gas resides in photodissociation regions near stars.

In 2012 he received the Spinoza Prize and in 2009 an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC).

The asteroid (15171) Xandertielen was named after him in 2012.


  • Tielens: Interstellar Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Molecules , Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Volume 46, 2008, pp. 289-337

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