Michael Backes - University of Namibia

Particle Physics (T), Extraterrestrial Physics (EP)

Position Associate Professor
Address Department of Physics
University of Namibia
Private Bag 13301
Windhoek, Namibia
Research Astrophysics, Gamma-ray Astronomy, Active Galactic Nuclei, Multivariate Data Analysis
Weblinks Group-Website
Divisions Particle Physics (T)
Extraterrestrial Physics (EP)

© Michael Backes

Research Agenda: My research focuses on gamma-ray astronomy of Active Galactic Nuclei with the H.E.S.S. telescopes. Besides that, I am particularly active in the fields of advanced data analysis methods and camera electronics for very high-energy gamma-ray astronomy, and site-testing for future observatories. Further, I work on the establishment and the science program of the Africa Millimetre Telescope (AMT), and occultation observations of Trans-Neptunian Objects. Besides those hard science topics, I pursue societal impact-driven research on astro-tourism and archaeoastronomy in Namibia.
Here you find a recent presentation of mine on Multiwavelength Astronomy in Namiba: https://youtu.be/ClwxAgkJKnQ.

Short Bio: I received my PhD from TU Dortmund University for work on gamma-ray observations of Active Galactic Nuclei. In the SFB 876, I was Research Associate and worked on various data analysis techniques. Our team was awarded the Application Award 2012 by the German Data Science Society.
In 2013, I joined the University of Namibia as Lecturer and led the Namibian site bid for the Cherenkov Telescope Array. In 2015, I got appointed as head of the Namibian H.E.S.S. group and became Co-PI of the Africa Millimetre Telescope. After accelerated promotion to Senior Lecturer in 2016, I became Extraordinary Senior Lecturer at North-West University in 2017 and Academic Visitor at the University of Oxford in 2018. Also, I got elected a member of the Global Young Academy. Since 2019, I am the Namibian-PI for a Global Challenges Research Fund project and since 2020, I also serve as the founding head of the Virtual Institute for Scientific Computing and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Namibia. In 2021, I was promoted to Associate Professor and elected to the Executive Committee of the Global Young Academy.