Prof. H.D.E. Falcke (Heino)

Professor - Astrophysics

Prof. H.D.E. Falcke (Heino)
Visiting address

Heyendaalseweg 135
6525 AJ NIJMEGEN
Internal postal code: 62

Postal address

Postbus 9010
6500 GL NIJMEGEN

Heino Falcke is Professor Astroparticle Physics and Radio Astronomy at the Institute for Mathematics, Astronomy and Particle Physics (IMAPP) of the Faculty of Science.

He studies the role of super massive black holes and jets in glaxies, and accretion physics through theoretical, observational and experimental astronomy. Combining these fields, he wants to test General Relativity and alternative theories in the most extreme strong field limit.

In 2000, Falcke coined the term ‘shadow of the black hole’ for the effect of light bending around the event horizon. Later, Falcke launched the idea of a network of radio telescopes around the world to answer these questions. This became the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), of which Heino Falcke became chair of the science council. In 2013, Falcke, Kramer and Rezzolla secured a Synergy Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) for ‘BlackHoleCam’: to provide the required instrumentation, organize the effort required to process the data and the accompanying numerical simulations.

In April 2019 the first ever image of a black hole was presented by Heino Falcke at a press conference in Brussels. It shows the first ever image of lensed and relativistic beamed emission on the scale of the event horizon in extreme gravity, and it helps to constrain models for jet formation and energy extraction from black holes.

Falcke was awarded the 2011 Spinoza Prize by the Dutch Research Council, appointed member of the Academia Europaeana in 2013, and became member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) in 2014. For his work on black holes Falcke received several international distinctions. In 2021 he received the Amaldi Medal, Henry Draper Medal, Robert M. Petrie Prize, and the Einstein Medal in 2020. He was awarded honorary doctorates at FPTR in Brussels, and University of Novi Gorica. As part of the EHT Collaboration Falcke received the 2020 RAS Team Prize, and the 2020 Breakthrough Prize in Fundament Physics.

Research theme
  • Super massive black holes & Jets
Research group

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About
Heino Falcke studies black holes. He combines theoretical, experimental and observational astronomy in order to test Einstein’s general theory of relativity. He is one of the founders of the EHT (Event Horizon Telescope) consortium, which published the first picture of a black hole.