Lex Kaper is Associate Professor at the University of Amsterdam and Professor at the VU University Amsterdam. He obtained his PhD (cum laude) at the University of Amsterdam in 1993, and worked for four years at the Headquarters of the European Southern Observatory in Garching near Munich (Germany). He returned at the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy in 1998 with a Royal Academy fellowship. Kaper is the NL-PI of X-shooter, the most powerful spectrograph in the world, mounted on the ESO Very Large Telescope in 2009. He is the NL-PI of MOSAIC, the multi-object spectrograph for the ESO Extremely Large Telescope (2024), the biggest eye on the sky. Kaper is the secretary of the Netherlands Committee for Astronomy and is member of the Council of the European Astronomical Society.
His research group works on the formation, evolution and fate of massive stars. Recent research highlights include the first spectroscopic identification of young massive stars that are still on their way to become main-sequence stars, the detection of dust waves in Galactic H II regions, and the study of distant galaxies using gamma-ray bursts, the most powerful cosmic explosions. He has also been involved in the search for variations of the fundamental constants of nature. Kaper teaches the second-year bachelor course on Astrophysics and coordinates the Master’s course Observation Project where UvA students observe with the Mercator Telescope on La Palma.
Massive stars, star formation, stellar evolution, gamma-ray bursts, spectroscopy