Prof. Dr. Svetlana Berdyugina

Kiepenheuer Institut fuer Sonnenphysik - KIS
Schoeneckstr 6, Freiburg 79104, Germany

Professor Chair for Astrophysics
Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg
Department of Mathematical and Physical Sciences

Habilitation, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, 2005
PhD, St.-Petersburg University, Russia, 1994
M.Sc., with honors, St.-Petersburg University, Russia, 1987

phone: +49-761-31980

Research Expertise

Solar and Stellar Magnetism
Exoplanets, Biosignatures, Exolife
Physics of Polarized Light
Physics of molecules
Inverse Problems


2018 Fellowship award, Singularity University, Mountain View, CA, USA
2011 Senior Fellowship Award, NASA Astrobiology Institute, USA
2011 ERC Advanced Grant, HotMol (, European Research Council
2004 EURopean Young Investigator Award (EURYI, first one in astrophysics), ESF, (
2001 Senior Fellowship Award, Academy of Finland, Finland
1996-1998 Several Scholarships from the Centre for International Mobility, Finland
1995 Prize for the best PhD thesis in astrophysics, Euro-Asian Astronomical Society
1994 Scientific Achievement Award, International Science Foundation (Soros Foundation)
1992 Award for young scientists, American Astronomical Society

Professional Experience

2017- Director, KIS, Freiburg, Germany
2008- Professor (W3 Chair), Physics Institute, University of Freiburg, Germany
2015- Co-Founder, Board of Directors, PLANETS Foundation (nonprofit), USA
2014-2018 Visiting Scientist, Predictive Science Inc., San Diego, USA
2011- Visiting Scientist, Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii, USA
2008-2017 Board of Directors, Vice-director, KIS, Freiburg, Germany
2011-2014 Senior Fellow, NASA Astrobiology Institute, University of Hawaii, USA
2008-2010 Visiting Professor, Physics Department, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
2005-2008 Professor, EURYI Award Fellow, Physics Department, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
2002-2005 Senior Lecturer, Docent, Institute of Astronomy, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
2001-2005 Academy Senior Fellow, Academy of Finland, University of Oulu, Finland
2000-2001 Professor, Astronomy Department, University of Oulu, Finland
1998-2000 Postdoctoral Researcher, Academy of Finland, University of Oulu, Finland
1997-1998 International Mobility Fellow, University of Oulu, Finland
1996 Visiting Researcher, University of Helsinki, Finland
1990-1996 Researcher, Crimean Astrophysical Observatory, Ukraine
1987-1989 Junior Researcher, Crimean Astrophysical Observatory, Ukraine
1982-1987 Undergraduate studies, Leningrad State University, Russia

Physics of sunspots and starspots, invited talk at Cool Stars 20 Workshop, Boston, MA, July 2018,

Stochastic entropy production in the quiet Sun, ApJ, under revision, 2018
MHD simulations of the small-scale magnetism, A&A, 614, id.A78, 19 pp., 2018

Spatial variations of scattering polarization in the quiet Sun, A&A, 614, id.A89, 4 pp., 2018

Scattering linear polarization of late-type stars, A&A, 613, id.A7, 10 pp., 2018

Detecting non-terran life in the universe: Session and panel discussion (chair and co-organizer) at Breakthrough Discuss Symposium, Mountain View, CA, USA, Apr 2018

Exoplanet Terra Incognita: Book chapter, Feb 2018

ExoLife Finder Telescope: NAS Astrobiology White paper, Jan 2018

The mysterious "Boyajian's Star" goes dark, ApJL, 853, L8, 14pp., Jan 2018

The Maximum entropy limit of small-scale magnetic field fluctuations in the quiet Sun, ApJSS, 233, id. 5, 10pp. Nov 2017

Space weathering of Super-Earths: AJ, 154, id. 139, 10pp., Oct 2017

ExoPlanet Surface Imaging (EPSI) ApJ, submitted, Nov 2017

ExoLife Finder Telescope: Kickstarter Campaign, 2017, Sep 5 - Oct 8

Biohaze as Atmospheric Biosignature of Exoplanets: Talk at Astrobiology Science Conference, AZ, USA, 2017/04/24
Youtube video

Surface Imaging of Proxima b and Earth-like Planets: Invited talk, Breakthrough Discuss Symposium, Mountain View, CA, USA, 2017/04/21
Youtube video

ExoLife: Live Hangouts with Deep Astronomy, 2017-2018
Youtube videos

Interdisciplinary Winter School: Molecules in Astrophysics and Astrobiology, February 13-17, 2017, Zurich, Switzerland

Molecules as probes of cosmic magnetic fields and exoplanets: Invited talk, International Society of Theoretical Chemical Physics (ISTCP) Symposium, Grand Forks, ND, USA, 2016/07/19

Communication with Alien Life: Public talk, 2016/07/15
Youtube video, Slides

Markov properties of the magnetic field in the quiet solar photosphere: ApJ Lett., 825, L18, 5pp., July 2016

10 Leibniz-Forscher blicken in die Zukunft: ZEIT Magazine, 2016/06/30

A water detection technique to shortlist potentially-habitable exoplanets: CORDIS magazine, issue 53, June 2016

Inner Solar system material discovered in the Oort cloud: Science Advances, 2, 4, id. e1600038, April 2016

Polarized scattering and biosignatures in exoplanetary atmospheres: J. Quant. Spec. Rad. Trans., in press, April 2016

Infrared dual-line Hanle diagnostic of the coronal vector magnetic field: Front. Astron. Space Sci., 3, id.13, April 2016

Remote sensing of life: polarimetric signatures of photosynthetic pigments as sensitive biomarkers: Int. J. Astrobiology, 15, 45-56, January 2016