National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS
Gesellschaftsstrasse 6 | CH-3012 Bern | Switzerland
  Tel. +41 (0)31 631 32 39

Avenhaus Henning, Dr.


Please give us a personal quote or a quote of a famous person (e.g. of Albert Einstein) that describes you and your life/work.
“Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.” (Carl Sagan)

Please describe your job in only one sentence and tell us what the most important goal of this work is.
Using high-contrast imaging to make the most beautiful images of protoplanetary disks ever and also discover the planets. Goal: Understand how they form, of course!

How did you get into this research/work field?
To be honest, my career path has been neither straight nor obvious. I got so discouraged from the lack of supervision when trying to do a PhD in another field that I quit and thought about what I would really like to do. Stars have always been fascinating, so Astronomy it was… it turned out to be a very good decision.

What would be the greatest discovery you would like to see in your life time?
Well, extraterrestrial intelligence, of course! Then again, I am not so sure I actually want to see that kind of intelligence, because of what (technologically!) superior cultures have done to others on earth. Speaking of which – something that provides peace to the world would be something I would prefer over extraterrestrial life.

You work for the NCCR PlanetS. What do you think will the NCCR enable you to do you couldn’t do without it?
Significantly easier contact and interaction to scientists working in the same or related fields (and often one only realizes the relation through talking).

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