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Invited researcher

Ralf Ingo Kaiser

Centre for Laboratory Astrophysics
Year of birth
Academic degree
Field of studies

Professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (USA)

General information

Ralf Ingo Kaiser was the first to propose the use of crossed molecular beams for the research chemical reactions related to interstellar chemistry at the most fundamental, microscopic level. The researcher has also influenced the astrophysical chemical community by using cutting-edge methods of molecular beam crossing, specifically to understand the physical and chemical processes in the formation of molecules in the extraterrestrial environments. In particular, reactions of carbon atoms in cyano and ethynyl radicals with unsaturated hydrocarbons in crossed beams have shown that complex organic molecules can form in interstellar clouds. This important discovery casts doubt on the commonly accepted opinion that it is mainly ion-molecule reactions in the interstellar space that are responsible for that.

The researcher's recent achievements, such as the elucidation of the ways of formation of aromatic molecules of indene and naphthalene in flames and interstellar space, conveniently demonstrate the novelty of his experiments. Prof. Kaiser has, in fact, created a new modern domain of physico-chemical research, i. e. methods of laboratory reaction dynamics in the gaseous and condensed phase have been used to research the problems of fundamental chemistry and physics in interstellar clouds and star formation regions, in planetary atmospheres related to a wide range of problems in such critically important disciplines as combustion chemistry and astrobiology.


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Leading scientist's research interests: astrochemistry and astrobiology (interstellar space, Solar system chemistry, sugars, amino acids, dipeptides, DNA/RNA), planetary sciences (planetary atmospheres, bodies of ice, Kuiper belt objects, comets), reaction dynamics and kinetics (gaseous phase, condensed phase, levitating particles).

Scientific recognition

Awards and achievements:

2017 — Fellow of the American Chemical Society.

2014 — Fellow of the Institute of Physics.

2013 — Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

2012 — Fellow of the American Physical Society.

2011 — Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

2008 — W M. Keck Research Laboratory in Astrochemistry.

2007 — University of Hawaii Regents Excellence in Research Award (USA).

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