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Sera Markoff, astrophysicist at the University of Amsterdam's Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, has been elected as a new member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (KNAW). On Monday, 30 September, Markoff will be inducted together with 16 other new members.
Sera Markoff. Copyright: UvA / Dirk Gillissen

Sera Markoff is a world leader in the field of black holes. She played an important role in creating the first images of black holes. Markoff primarily investigates how these astronomical objects capture matter and channel it into new forms, such as powerful beams of particles and magnetic fields, so-called jets. Her work on the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way led to new insights, for example about the influence of black holes on the galaxies around them. 

This also enabled Einstein's General Theory of Relativity to be tested in new ways. Markoff's idea that X-rays and high-energy particles can also arise at the origin of the jets was initially not taken seriously, but is now widely accepted.  

In addition to all this, Markoff excels at outreach activities, where she tries to involve the public and especially girls and minorities in scientific research. One of the ways she does this is through a learning module on astronomy for children with a migration background, which includes a focus on medieval Arabic science.  

About the KNAW  

The KNAW is both a society of outstanding scientists, an organization of national scientific institutes, and an advisory body for the Dutch government. The members of the KNAW, around 600 in total, are leading scientists from all disciplines. The membership is for life.  


Prof. dr. S.B. (Sera) Markoff

Faculty of Science

Anton Pannekoek Institute of Astronomy