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Curriculum Vitae

Jens Kauffmann, PhD

Astronomy Group Lead
Haystack Observatory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology   (please modify!)

Research Positions

 since 2017
Research Scientist
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 2014 — 2017
Research Associate
Max–Planck–Institut für Radioastronomie

 2009 — 2013
(Senior) Postdoctoral Researcher
California Institute of Technology & JPL

 2006 — 2009
Postdoctoral Researcher
Harvard University, Center for Astrophysics

Science Interests

  • star formation laws (e.g., Gao & Solomon relation)
  • molecular cloud structure and scaling laws (e.g., Larson relations)
  • molecular clouds in the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ)
  • connections between galactic and extragalactic star formation studies

Participation in Observational Surveys

  • PI of the Galactic Center Molecular Cloud Survey (GCMS)
    a detailed survey of the major molecular clouds in the central ~100 pc of the Milky Way (~150 hours on ALMA, CARMA, SMA, APEX, CSO)
  • PI of the LEGO Survey
    wide–field mapping of about 20 Milky Way molecular clouds with about 30 GHz bandwidth, producing the most comprehensive line imaging surveys of molecular line emission available yet (~600 hours on IRAM 30m–telescope)
  • SMA Galactic Center Legacy Survey
    a survey of dense gas in the Central Molecular Zone of the Milky Way (~1,000 hours on the SMA)
  • CARMA Large Area Star Formation Survey (CLASSy)
    wide–field views at high angular resolution of the Perseus and Serpens molecular clouds (700 hours on CARMA)
  • CARMA Orion Project
    a wide–field mosaic of the Orion A molecular cloud at high angular resolution (~1,200 hours on CARMA)

Publication History

See my separate publication list for details. In January 2018 my publications resulted in an h–index of 27 and a total of more than 2,580 refereed citations.

Committee Work and Refereeing

  • referee for Nature, A&A and A&A Letters, ApJ and ApJ Letters, MNRAS
  • member of the NRAO (star formation: SFM SRP; 2012–2013) and CARMA (2012) Time Allocation Committees
  • member in the "Star Formation" and "ISM" Survey Design Groups for the Cerro Chajnantor Atacama Telescope (CCAT)
  • referee for the NASA Postdoctoral Program (since 2016)
  • initiator and co–chair of the "Unbiased Views of Young Stars in the Milky Way" working group for the future generation V of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Selected Professional Activities

  • science PI and main author of accepted Spitzer, NSF, and NASA research proposals (>$770k)
  • PI on top–rated competitive observing proposals (e.g., Herschel and ALMA)
  • science PI and main author of the “Airships as Platforms for Earth and Space Science” internal concept study at JPL, invited speaker for the related workshop at the Keck Institute for Space Studies
  • invited speaker (e.g., ADASS London, Berkeley, Harvard, IIA Bangalore, NASA Ames, NAOJ Tokyo, MPE Garching, MPIA Heidelberg, TIFR Mumbai, Radboud U., IAU Symposium 322)
  • initiator, host, and coordinator of the “Large-Scale Structure in Molecular Clouds” (2010) and “Connecting the Domains: From Galactic to Extragalactic Star Formation Laws” (2012) review sessions at the “Early Phases of Star Formation” (EPoS) meetings in Ringberg Castle
  • guest lecturer, e.g., at NAOJ Tokyo (2012) and the International MPI Research School Bonn (2015, 2017)
  • master’s thesis supervisor while at Harvard University (for U. Leipzig), mentor to PhD students and postdocs at Harvard and in Bonn, PhD co–supervisor and co–supervisor of high school research interns in Bonn
  • lead organizer for the 3D Visualization in Astronomy tutorial at ADASS XVII, summer 2007, London, UK; and the IIC presentation booth (4 projects, including the public launch of Microsoft’s WorldWideTelescope) at the AAS winter meeting 2008, Austin, TX

Funding History

lead author and science–PI of successful proposals to (total >$770k):

  • Spitzer Science Center data analysis program
  • National Science Foundation
  • NASA Astrophysics Data Analysis Program (ADAP)
  • Herschel Open Time Program 2

recipient of:

  • NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellowship (equivalent to $100k to $200k)

Main Collaborators

Paul Goldsmith (JPL), Thushara Pillai (Bonn), Alyssa Goodman (Harvard University), Frank Bertoldi (University of Bonn), Karl Menten (MPI Bonn), Di Li (NAO Beijing), Philip Myers (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory), Mario Tafalla (OAN Madrid), Paola Caselli (University of Leeds), Rahul Shetty (ITA Heidelberg), Alvaro Hacar (University of Vienna)

Observing Experience

PI and Co-I of successful programs using the following instruments…

  • single-dish radio telescopes: IRAM 30m, APEX, JCMT, CSO, GBT, Effelsberg, SEST
  • radio interferometers: ALMA (PI, cycles 1 & 2), IRAM PdBI, SMA, CARMA, VLA, ATCA
  • space telescopes: Herschel (PI), Spitzer (Science PI; archive proposal)
  • Near–IR imaging: Perkins (at Lowell), Calar Alto 3.5m

Teaching, Outreach, and Community Service

Supervisor of successful one–year Master’s thesis while at Harvard University (for U. Leipzig).

Enthusiastic astronomy lecturer (e.g., lecturer at the MPIfR Research School; NAOJ star formation winter school invited lecturer). Extensive exposure to very diverse communities (university, high school, elementary school, general public). Avid amateur astronomer. Solar eclipse guide.

Past member in the managing boards of astronomy and aeronautical clubs ("Astronomischer Verein Remscheid" and "Luftsportverein Wipperfürth"). Budgetary responsibilities, acquisition of external funding, design of outreach and education programs.

In the Media


  • German: native speaker
  • English: excellent (seven years of US experience)