This became an iconic photo overnight
On the occasion of the first radio astronomical recording of a black hole with the "Event Horizon Telescope", "Stars and Space" spoke to the German radio astronomer Heino Falcke, who played a leading role in the discovery.
Stars and space: Professor Falcke, how did you get into astronomy and in particular radio astronomy and black holes?
Falcke: I still remember seeing the last moon landing as a child, around five years old. That fascinated me. I hung out in front of the black and white TV while the other kids played outside. In addition, my grandmother often took me to the public observatory in Cologne. At first I wanted to be a garbage collector or a veterinarian. But then physics and theology appealed to me because I was interested in the fundamental questions. I was very curious and asked many questions, for example what is behind the sky or whether the universe is infinite. Then I thought that maybe pastor isn't such a good idea because I can't remember names. Also, I wasn't very good at ancient languages. So I stuck to physics. I read popular science magazines like "Spektrum der Wissenschaft" and realized that astronomy was a hot topic. I realized that one of the big mysteries is gravity and there is still something to discover. This is still the case today, because it has not been possible to unite quantum theory and gravitation. So I started with physics in Cologne and then switched to the University of Bonn with its great astronomical competence. There I met my later supervisor, Professor Peter Biermann from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, who, among other things, researched black holes and who fascinated me. I realized that if I wanted to study gravity, black holes were the place to be. That was my introduction to gravitational physics and radio astronomy…