Wempe Award for Elisabeth Newton

24 September 2019. In recognition of her outstanding research on the rotation and magnetism of low-mass stars, the Johann Wempe Foundation is honoring Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Newton of Dartmouth College, USA, with the Wempe Award. The ceremony will take place on 26 September 2019, starting at 3:00 pm at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) in Babelsberg.
Wempe Award for Elisabeth Newton

Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Newton. Credit: private

Prof. Newton's research deals with the physics of stars and their planets, in particular with long-lived low-mass M-class dwarf stars, their rotation and magnetism, and the formation of exoplanets.

Prof. Newton received her doctorate from Harvard University with a thesis on M dwarf stars and subsequently researched M dwarf stars as host stars of planets as a Postdoctoral National Science Foundation Fellow at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since the beginning of the year she has been Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, USA.

Her work on the rotation of very low-mass M dwarf stars has attracted much attention and offers direct links to AIP research on stellar activity and exoplanets. M dwarf stars have such low luminosity that not one is visible from Earth with the naked eye, even though they make up a large percentage of all stars.


Artist’s impression of an M dwarf star with planets. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


Schedule of the award ceremony

From 3:00 pm

  • Opening by Prof. Dr. Matthias Steinmetz, Scientific Chairman at AIP
  • Welcome by Dr. Jürgen Kroseberg, Federal Ministry of Education and Rsearch
  • Laudation by Prof. Dr. Katja Poppenhäger, section head of Stellar physics and exoplanets at AIP
  • Award ceremony
  • Ceremonial lecture by Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Newton “Spin and magnetism in M dwarf stars”
  • Reception


About the Wempe Award

In honor of Prof. Dr. Johann Wempe (1906 - 1980), the last director of the former Astrophysical Observatory of Potsdam, the Johann Wempe Award, first awarded in 2000, is granted to an outstanding scientist. The award is financed from funds left in the will of Johann Wempe.

Former recipients are Alice Quillen, Oliver Gressel, Brent Tully, Thomas R. Ayres, Yehuda Hoffman, Matthias Rempel, Kenneth C. Freeman, Ignasi Ribas, Eva Grebel, Alexander Kosovichev, Isabelle Baraffe und Gilles Chabrier, Russell Cannon and Tom Abel.


Science contact

Prof. Dr. Katja Poppenhäger, 0331 7499 521, kpoppenhaeger@aip.de

Media contact

Sarah Hönig, 0331 7499 803, presse@aip.de


The key areas of research at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP) are cosmic magnetic fields and extragalactic astrophysics. A considerable part of the institute's efforts aim at the development of research technology in the fields of spectroscopy, robotic telescopes, and e-science. The AIP is the successor of the Berlin Observatory founded in 1700 and of the Astrophysical Observatory of Potsdam founded in 1874. The latter was the world's first observatory to emphasize explicitly the research area of astrophysics. The AIP has been a member of the Leibniz Association since 1992.