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What environment created life on earth? Dr. Tim Lichtenberg receives prestigious The Branco Weiss Fellowship

03 October 2022

Dr. Tim Lichtenberg has been selected for The Branco Weiss Fellowship, a program for outstanding postdoctoral researchers hosted by ETH Zurich. Dr. Lichtenberg now enjoys up to five years of academic freedom to perform his interdisciplinary research at any institution in the world.

Dr. Tim Lichtenberg
Dr. Tim Lichtenberg

The Branco Weiss Fellowship – Society in Science has selected Dr. Tim Lichtenberg of the University of Groningen, The Netherlands, as one of nine new fellows after an extended global recruitment campaign.

In his research, Dr. Lichtenberg will explore the coupled evolution of highly molten planetary states of exoplanets and the chemistry of forming exoplanetary atmospheres to gain novel insights into the climate and surface geochemistry of the earliest Earth, and the plausible range of planetary environmental conditions conducive for the origins of life. For this, he will establish a new research group at the University of Groningen. Dr. Lichtenberg recently discovered that extrasolar planets – worlds circling around stars other than our Sun – can host vast quantities of water in their deep interiors that is hidden from astronomical observations. Due to the intense starlight that many of the currently known exoplanets receive on their surfaces, their interiors can be molten magma instead of solid rock, as we are used to on Earth. New evidence points to worlds that harbour several thousand times the total volume of Earth’s oceans of water – hinting to the interior as an important reservoir of atmospheric build-up on rocky, potentially Earth-like worlds.

More information about Dr. Tim Lichtenberg:

The Branco Weiss Fellowship offers an opportunity for postdocs in all areas of the natural and social sciences as well as engineering who have conceived an original and independent research idea that falls outside the scope of large-scale research projects. This year’s new fellows come from a wide range of research fields including astronomy, biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, computer science, epigenetics, geophysics, medicine, neuroscience, physics, sciences of religions, and virology. They originate from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom and are currently working at institutions and universities in the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the USA.

“The quality of applications for the Branco Weiss Fellowships is always impressively high. After rigorous rounds of evaluation by experts and the final interviews nine new fellows were selected. We are looking forward to the exciting new projects which complement and expand the research topics of the Fellowship community”, says the fellowship’s member of the directorate Heidi Wunderli-Allenspach.

About The Branco Weiss Fellowship – Society in Science
The Branco Weiss Fellowship – Society in Science was founded in 2002 to provide a platform for researchers in the natural sciences and engineering who are aiming to extend their scientific work to cover specific social and cultural questions and perspectives. The fellowship was initiated and financed by the Swiss entrepreneur Dr. Branco Weiss, who died in 2010. It is hosted by ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich). Professors Angelika Steger, Heidi Wunderli-Allenspach and Josef Zeyer direct the fellowship program and are supported by prominent international scholars from a wide array of disciplines. To qualify for the prestigious grant, candidates must hold a PhD and provide evidence of outstanding scientific achievement.

Source: The Branco Weiss Fellowship - Society in Science

Last modified:22 September 2022 3.08 p.m.

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