Guinevere Alice Mei-Ing Kauffmann is an American astrophysicist. She is known for her work studying galaxies among other subjects.

Guinevere Kauffmann
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge
Spouse(s)Simon White
AwardsGottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize (2007)
Scientific career
InstitutionsMPI for Extraterrestrial Physics,
MPI for Astrophysics


Academic careerEdit

Kauffmann obtained a BSc(Hons) in applied mathematics at the University of Cape Town in 1988 and a MSc in astronomy in 1990. She obtained her Ph.D in astronomy at the University of Cambridge in 1993, working with Simon White.

She was a member of the Miller Research Fellows program at the University of California, Berkeley and was then employed as a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany. She became head of a research team at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in 2003. As of 2013, she is one of the directors of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics.

Her areas of research interest include models of galaxy formation, analysis of observed properties of galaxies including their atomic and molecular gas, active galactic nuclei, and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.[1]

Kauffmann has coordinated a Marie Curie Research Training Network of the European Union that brought together researchers from all over Europe for interdisciplinary projects.[2]


In 1997, Guinevere Kauffmann received the Otto Hahn Medal.[3]

In 2002, she received the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz-Preis.[4][3]

In 2007, she received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft,[3] which is the highest honour awarded in German research.

In 2009, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[5]

In April 2010, she was awarded with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, with the Cross of Merit (on ribbon) and the certificate in the name of the German President. The award ceremony was carried out by Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer on 21 April 2010.[2]

In 2010, she was elected to the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.[6]

In 2012, she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.[7][8]

Bullying AllegationsEdit

In February, the German news magazine Spiegel Online published an article about abuse of power by senior scientists at the MPI for Astrophysics.[9] Several emails obtained by BuzzFeed News Germany revealed in June 2018 that the allegations concerned MPA director Guinevere Kauffmann, who was accused of harassing and bullying students and scientists for years.[10][11][12] Leaked emails published by BuzzFeed News Germany also include what has been described as racist, sexist and homophobic statements directed at employees and students. Responding to questions by the journal Nature, Kauffmann denied the accusations of racism, sexism and homophobia, claiming that she is merely interested in cultural differences between people and Buzzfeed had made severe errors. She conceded that as a student she was subject to "very high pressure supervision", acknowledging however that such a mentoring style "has now become unacceptable" and claiming to have changed her behavior substantially after complaints were received.[13] This and other cases [14] sparked a general debate about the abuse of power in science. [15][16]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-07-10. Retrieved 2012-01-29.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b Garching, Max-Planck-Institut fuer Astrophysik,. "MPA :: Federal Cross of Merit for Guinevere Kauffmann". Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  3. ^ a b c "Dr. Guinevere Kauffmann". Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  4. ^ "List of winners of the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize 1978 - 2019" (PDF).
  5. ^[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "List of Members". Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  7. ^ "MPA :: Guinevere Kauffmann elected to the US National Academy of Sciences Press Release". Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  8. ^ "2012 NAS Members and Foreign Associates Elected". Archived from the original on 2012-05-04. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  9. ^ Kristin Haug (2018-02-27). "Machtmissbrauch an Hochschulen: "Ihr Verhalten war unvorhersehbar, und ich hatte Angst und Stress"". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 2018-07-15.
  10. ^ Germany, BuzzFeed. "A Star Scientist From The Max Planck Society Allegedly Harassed And Bullied Her Colleagues". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  11. ^ "Mobbing-Vorwürfe erschüttern Garchinger Vorzeige-Institut". Sü Süddeutsche Zeitung.
  12. ^ "Willkür, Angst, zerstörte Träume". Frankfurter Allgemeine.
  13. ^ "Max Planck astrophysicist at centre of bullying allegations speaks up".
  14. ^ "Swiss university dissolves astronomy institute after misconduct allegations". Science.
  15. ^ "No place for bullies in science". Nature.
  16. ^ "Lab heads should learn to talk about racism". Nature. Retrieved 12 July 2018.