NASA Fermi Interdisciplinary Scientist
Martin Karl Wilhelm Pohl is an astrophysicist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Iowa State University. He is also a NASA Interdisciplinary Scientist in the Fermi project, the next major satellite experiment in gamma-ray astrophysics.
Pohl has studied a variety of astrophysical sources of high-energy gamma-rays, from cosmic rays and supernova remnants, pulsars, clusters of galaxies to active galactic nuclei and gamma-ray bursts.
Pohl's research interests focus on the physics of relativistic particles in astrophysical environments. Young supernova remnants (SNR) and active galactic nuclei (AGN) are unique laboratories in which to study a coupled system of turbulence, energetic particles, and colliding collision-less plasma.
"A thorough understanding of the physics governing the interactions in this nonlinear system would have profound consequences for a number of important scientific questions, such as the origin of cosmic rays, the generation of primordial magnetic fields, and the properties of driven turbulence in a system far from equilibrium, all three of which are among the main unsolved, yet fundamental, problems in modern astrophysics," Pohl said.
The recent growth in our understanding of the physics of non-thermal astrophysical plasmas, fostered by the availability of new investigative tools like high-resolution plasma simulations and advances in the development of sensitive detectors of the high-energy emission from astrophysical plasmas, continues to present a window of opportunity for fundamental studies of astrophysical plasmas.
Pohl is conducting both observational and theoretical investigations to obtain a comprehensive and complementary picture of how nature transfers energy to individual particles. He is or has been involved in a number of experiments of gamma-ray astronomy, including: The Energetic Gamma Ray Experiment Telescope (EGRET); the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.); and the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System (VERITAS). His research is supported by NASA and by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Pohl graduated in from the University of Bonn, Germany. He received his degree in Physics in 1990 and a Ph.D. in Astronomy 1991. In 2002, he received the Habilitation in Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics from the Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany.
His experience spans a number of organizations. In July, he was named Associate Professor in Iowa State University's Dept. of Physics and Astronomy. Prior to that, he was an Assistant Professor since 2003. Before coming to the university, he was a Lecturer, for the High-Energy Astrophysics Group at the Ruhr University from 2002 to 2003.
From 1998 to 2002, Pohl was a Research Associate at the Institute for Theoretical Physics, at Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany.
From 1997 to 1998 he was a Research Associate at the Danish Space Research Institute (DSRI), Copenhagen, Denmark. Prior to joining DSRI, from1994 to 1997 Pohl was a Research Associate at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Germany. From 1992 to 1993, he was a Research Associate at the Max-Planck-Institute for Radioastronomy in Bonn, Germany.
Pohl was born in Kempen, Germany, is married and has two daughters.