Universiteit Leiden

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Harold Linnartz Professor of Laboratory Astrophysics

The Executive Board has appointed Professor Harold Linnartz as Professor of Laboratory Physics with effect from 1 June 2011. Linnartz has worked since 2005 as senior lecturer at the Leiden Observatory.

Universe in the lab

Harold Linnartz (1965) researches the chemical reactions that take place around stars. In spite of the temperatures, strong radiation fields and low densities, complex molecules are formed there. In the lab Linnartz mimics processes that may be able to explain the presence of the molecules that have been observed in space.

Study and PhD

From 1984 to 1989 Linnartz studied experimental physics in Nijmegen. He then worked for two years as a junior researcher at the MPI Stromungsforschung in het Duitse Göttingen. In 1994 he obtained his PhD based on his dissertation on Infrared and Far Infrared Spectroscopy of Transient Species.


Linnartz was awarded an NWO Talent Grant to carry out postdoc research between 1994 and 1995 at the Institut für Angewandte Physik in Bonn. He then became senior researcher at the University of Basle. In 2002 he received a 'habilitation' in physical chemistry. This is a further qualification on top of a PhD that is common in a number of European countries. In the same year he received a Springboard subsidy from the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter.

VICI subsidy

Between 2003 and 2005 Linnartz was senior researcher at the Laser Centre of the Vrije Universiteit (LCVU), following which he became senior lecturer and Director of the Sackler Astrophysics Laboratory. In 2008 he was appointed Professor by Special Appointment at the LCVU. In 2009 he received a VICI subsidy for his research proposal on 'Unlocking the chemistry of the heavens'.

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