Prof. Dr. Keiichi Kodaira


Professor emeritus of Astrophysics, Director of the Bonn Office of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)

DAAD Doctoral Scholarship 1961–1963

Prof. Dr. Keiichi Kodaira Kodaira

In October 1999, Keiichi Kodaira came a bit closer to his dream of unravelling the origin of the universe. It was at his instigation that the world's largest telescope was opened on the 4,200-metre peak of Mount Mauna Kea on Hawaii. For more than ten years – from 1980 to 1991 – Kodaira fought for the financial resources to build the telescope and he then had to wait a further eight years before he could first look into the far reaches of the universe with the eight-metre, optical-infrared device. The Subaru Telescope (the Japanese name for the Pleiades) helped find a galaxy 12.8 billion light years from Earth, breaking all distance records at the time.

It's all about unravelling the origin of the universe.
Keiichi Kodaira

Kodaira gained his doctorate at the University of Kiel in the early 1960s, a time when astronomers in Japan were above all engaged in theoretical research due to the lack of technical equipment. The German doctorate was followed by a doctorate in astronomy at Tokyo, since his German degree had not been recognised. Kodaira researched and taught at the University of Tokyo, the California Institute of Technology, and the University of Heidelberg. In September 2001 he was the first Japanese to receive the distinguished Karl Schwarzschild Medal for his services as an excellent astronomer. For six years (until 2000) he held the position of general director of the National Astronomy Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). From 2001 to 2008 he was president of the Graduate University for Advanced Studies (Sokendai). Today, the professor emeritus is still active in research and teaching. As director of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) in Bonn he is especially concerned with promoting an integrated research culture. The Society provides information about Japanese universities and research centres and represents various programmes to promote international cooperation in research and education. Since October 2016, Kodaira is also a guest researcher at Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn.