Harald Lesch

Harald Lesch ( born July 28, 1960 in Gießen) is a German astrophysicist, natural philosopher, science journalist, television presenter and professor of physics at the University of Munich and of natural philosophy at the Munich School of Philosophy.


Lesch grew up as the son of an innkeeper in the village of Nieder- Ohmen the community on midge in Hesse. After graduating from high school in 1978 at the Theo - Koch-Schule Grünberg Lesch studied physics and a minor in philosophy, first at the Justus -Liebig- University Giessen, then at the Rheinische Friedrich- Wilhelms- University of Bonn, where he became in 1984 his diploma degree with a thesis on " solar Wind interaction with the interstellar medium " (Eng. " solar wind interaction with the interstellar medium " ) graduated. Same place it was custom built in 1987 with a at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy ( MPIfR) dissertation on "Nonlinear Plasma Processes in Active Galactic Nuclei " rer (German " Nonlinear plasma processes in active galactic nuclei " ) to Dr.. nat. doctorate. Between 1988 and 1991, Lesch was a research assistant at the Heidelberg State Observatory king chair. From 1991 to 1995 he worked as a research assistant at the MPIfR in Bonn. 1992 Lesch was a visiting professor at the University of Toronto. In 1994 he completed his habilitation at the University of Bonn with a thesis on "Galactic Dynamics and Magnetic Fields " (Eng. " Galactic dynamics and magnetic fields ").

Harald Lesch is married and has a son.


Since 1994, Lesch is Professor of Theoretical Astrophysics at the Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at / near the University Observatory of the Ludwig- Maximilians- University of Munich. He also teaches natural philosophy at the Munich School of Philosophy. His main areas of research are cosmic plasma physics, black holes and neutron stars. He is a Reviewer for Astrophysics of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and a member of the Astronomical Society. He is also a non-fiction author.

Lesch is known mainly for his television appearances, first as host of the 1998 lasted up 2007 series alpha Centauri. Hence his media presence on television and in radio developed. It is typical of his style moderation in both media that he alone holds a presentation (usually in a 15 -minute frame) or with a person leads a conversation. In this way he tries to bring the audience almost complex scientific and philosophical issues.

Him the Communicator Award of the DFG and the Donors' Association for German Science was awarded in 2005 for his television appearances and publications. In recognition of his services to make scientific findings to a wide public, the Society for Natural Sciences Emden gave him on 15 March 2011 at its Annual General Meeting, the Honorary Membership.

TV appearances

In 1994, Lesch along with Ranga Yogeshwar, Illobrand of Ludwiger and Heinz Rohde at the gate moderated by Peter live talk show UFOs: Are they real? ARD in part in Hamburg. Trigger the discussion was Heinz Rohde's controversial documentary UFOs ... and they do exist!

The beginning of his media career made ​​Lesch at the transmitter BR -alpha, first with alpha Centauri, where he covered topics from the field of astrophysics. Later, other productions of the same transmitter were added: In Lesch & Co. and thinkers of the West, he is talking with his friend, a philosophy professor Wilhelm Vossenkuhl on philosophical topics. Alpha to Omega treated in the conversation between Lesch and the Catholic theologian Thomas Schwartz topics in the area between religion and science.

He has also hosted many shorter program series on TV:

  • To mark the Einstein Year 2005 BR -alpha radiated from the eight -part series The physics of Albert Einstein, in which each episode presented a single scientific knowledge of Albert Einstein by Lesch and was set out in its importance.
  • As of August 2007, BR -alpha weekly 16 -part show the 4 elements. broadcast, which deals with the nature of the world and treated in addition to the scientific and the cultural and historical aspect.
  • BR -alpha launched a series LeschZug, in the Lesch while driving in the Munich subway should express his or her opinion about a current topic in each case. In the single produced episode he talked about the challenge of climate change.
  • For the pay- TV division SciFi channel he differentiated in the lecture series Star Trek - Science vs. Fiction science-based and fictional elements from Star Trek.
  • From April to the end of 2007 moderated Lesch for SciFi weekly 5 - minute program sci_xpert - Lesch universe. which dealt with questions from the audience, which revolved around the feasibility of science fiction concepts (such as: How realistic are the big spaceships from Independence Day? ), but also purely scientific issues concerned (eg, What is gravity? ) treated in the tradition of alpha Centauri. A total of 35 episodes created.

Since September 2008 he is the moderator of the ZDF science magazine adventures research. He succeeds Joachim Bublath, who hosted this show for many years. For subsequent drilling or chill? The road to the Super Kid 2012 he won the Bavarian Television Award.

At the start of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, he hosted the ZDF, the two and a half hour special broadcast " As the light came into the world: the Long Night by Harald Lesch ," in which he - between rehearsed documentary films - talks with the cabaret artist Christoph Suess, the physicist Günther Hasinger and the theologian Thomas Schwartz led.

Since 2009, Lesch performs the Terra - X series fascination universe and will succeed Joachim Bublath.

Since 2010, Lesch also moderated ZDFneo on the quarter -hour broadcast Lesch cosmos, which was renamed in 2013 with the beginning of the second season in Ask the Lesch.


  • Bennigsen - Foerder Award of North Rhine -Westphalia ( € 75,000 ): "Heating of galactic high velocity clouds by magnetic reconnection "
  • Prize for Science Journalism of Grüter Foundation (10,000 € )
  • Communicator Award - Science Award of the Donors' Association (€ 50,000 )
  • Medal for scientific journalism of the German Physical Society
  • Medal " Bene Merenti de Astronomia Norimbergensi " in gold of the Nuremberg Astronomical Society
  • German IQ Price
  • Bruno H. Bürgel price
  • Pipe Smoker of the Year
  • Honorary Member of the Society of Natural Sciences Emden on 15 March 2011
  • Honorary member of the Physical Society of Frankfurt am Main
  • University Teacher of the Year 2012
  • Bavarian Television Award as host of the show Adventure Research: Drilling or chill? The road to the Super Kid


  • Nonlinear plasma processes in active galactic nuclei. University of Bonn, 1987. (Dissertation)
  • Galactic dynamics and magnetic fields. University of Bonn, 1994. ( Habilitation thesis )
  • Harald Lesch, Jörn Müller: Cosmology for pedestrians. A journey through the universe. Goldmann, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-442-15154-6.
  • Big Bang, second act On the trail of life in the universe. Bertelsmann, Munich 2003, ISBN 3-570-00776-6.
  • Cosmology for bright minds. The dark side of the universe. Goldmann, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-442-15382-4.
  • Do you know how many stars are there? As the light comes into the world. C. Bertelsmann, München 2008, ISBN 978-3-570-01054-9.
  • Star. Paperback edition of Do you know how many stars are there? . Goldmann, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-442-15643-6.
  • Great moments of the universe. From dancing planets and cosmic records. C. Bertelsmann, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-570-10075-2.
  • Audiobook: cosmology for pedestrians. Complete Media, Munich / Grünwald 2001, ISBN 3-8312-6067-2
  • Audiobook: Magic moments of the universe. Lagato Verlag eK, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-942748-22-3.
  • Audiobook: stars. Lagato Verlag eK, Leipzig 2012, ISBN 978-3-942748-33-9.
  • Physics for the vest pocket. Piper, Munich / Zurich 2003, ISBN 3-492-04542-1.
  • Quantum mechanics for the vest pocket. Piper, Munich / Zurich 2007, ISBN 978-3-492-05125-5.
  • The shortest history of all life. Piper, Munich / Zurich 2008, ISBN 978-3-492-05093-7.
  • About God, the Big Bang and the beginning of life. Galilee Verlag, 2009, ISBN 978-3-902533-20-3.
  • About the evolution of life, plants and animals. Galilee Verlag, 2010, ISBN 978-3-902533-24-1.
  • Big Bang, the universe and life. Complete Media, Munich / Grünwald 2012, ISBN 978-3-8312-0389-5.
  • Audiobook: Big Bang, the universe and life. Complete Media, Munich / Grünwald 2012, ISBN 978-3-8312-0389-5.
  • The discovery of the Higgs particle Bertelsmann, Munich, 2013, ISBN 978-3-570-10208-4


  • Lesch is tobacco pipe smoker, jazz lovers and Children's University professor.
  • The asteroid (35357) 1997 SX9 bears the official name ( 35357 ) Harald Lesch.