No more work! On 30 July 2015 I retired, I am now travelling the world.
See my work history at my list of publications and my Curriculum Vitae.
I have been out of research for many years now. I used to work on topics like:
- Interplanetary Dust Detectors (both ground based via Zodiacal Light and space based via impact detectors (HEOS and Helios) and scattered light (HOPE on the GIOTTO probe encountering P/Halley).
- Age determinations of lunar samples with a laser probe. This was way back in the late 70's when lunar samples were still fairly new. With this method we could determine ages of single mineral grains in lunar breccias, moon rocks that are conglomerations of different older rocks, created during impacts of meteorites on the moon.
- Space based Gamma Ray Detectors (flew one from Antarctica on a stratospheric balloon in 1988 to observe Supernova SN1987A).
- Real-Time Data Acquisition Systems (eg. a high speed Speckle Camera at Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, and an automated telescope to observe P/Halley during the GIOTTO encounter from the ground, as well as various laboratory systems).
- Rocket experiment to observe the Zodiacal Light close to the Sun during a solar eclipse in 1992 from Nayarit in Mexico.
- Astrophysics Data System (ADS). I was Project Scientist for the ADS from 1992 - 2007. During this time I wrote the search software and user interface software for the literature search system in the ADS myself. This software system is still in use as of 2015. The ADS was the first web based scientific literature search system. During my time as Project Scientist essentially the complete astronomical literature back to the early 1800's was included. Most of the literature was scanned and made available freely to everybody with embargo periods for new articles of 3 years or less. For my contribution to astronomy I was awarded the 2008 Award for Services in Astronomy from the Royal Astronomical Society and asteroid 69287 was named after me.
- Flying in aerobatics competitions. I own a Pitts Special S-2A , a two seat aerobatics biplane. I fly currently in the Advanced Category. In 1999 I flew in Unlimited and received the Unlimited Stars Achievement Award. I have all 10 Achievement Awards, all flown in the Pitts S-2A. I have won quite a few contests (Overall Arizona State Champion in 1991, New England Champion, Intermediate, in 1993, third place in the International Aerobatics Championships and Championships of the Americas in Fond du Lac, WI, 1998, an FAI sanctioned international contest, Northeast Aerobatic Champion in Unlimited for 1999). I practice as much as the weather allows, so on the weekends I usually can be found at the airport at Deer Valley, AZ (DVT). I try to go to as many competitions as possible, but sometimes work interferes
Besides flying in competition myself, I also give aerobatics flight instruction in my plane. If you are interested in finding out what flying upside down feels like, drop me a note.
- Web site maintenance I maintain several web sites for different organizations. I am involved in the aviation website at Landings. I also maintain a soaring website and an aerobatics website. The Soaring Turnpoint website is also mirrored in New Zealand and South Carolina, USA Other sites that I maintain include our local IAC Chapter 35. My aviation website was the first aviation server to go on the WWW in 1994. I still have some soaring pictures and soaring contest results from these early years online.
- Scuba Diving: Unfortunately Arizona is not really the best part of the country to do that. I used to live in Florida which was much better suited for that kind of activity. That's where I learned to scuba dive. Since then I have experienced some spectacular dives in Florida, Hawaii, Mauritius, the Galapagos Islands, and Australia.
- Hiking: I started hiking in the mountains around Phoenix in 2013. The scenery is fantastic, and the weather allows you to hike basically all year long. One of my most interesting hikes was a hike into the Grand Canyon all the way to the Colorado River (26 km (16 miles), 1,350 m (4,430 ft), 6 hours, track). In February 2015 I finally fulfilled a 40 year old dream and hiked to the top of Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa with the summit at 5,895 m (19,341 ft). It was a great experience.
- Music: Country and Western Music is my favorite music. I also have come to like Irish music. One of my favorite bars, The Burren in Somerville, MA, has live Irish session music on several days of the week.
- Lifestyle: I am a crossdresser, meaning I like to wear women's clothes. I don't try to look like a woman (I have a beard after all), I just like to wear skirts.
- Traveling: In 1997 I started traveling to interesting destinations all over the world on a regular basis (at least once per year). I have put some of my pictures on-line for various countries. I almost invariably get asked which country I would like to visit again, and which country I liked best. The answer to the first question is none. There are so many countries that I haven't seen, that I don't have time to go back to any of them. I may visit some larger countries again to see parts that I haven't seen (India and Russia come to mind). The answer to the second question is that I can't answer that simply. Every country is different, has different things that are interesting. You can't compare seeing tigers in India with seeing Inca ruins in Perú, with seeing stone-age monuments in Ireland, with scuba diving in Australia on the Great Barrier Reef, with seeing a cheetah mother with four cubs eating a reed buck in Tanzania. Altogether I think I had the most comfortable feeling in Việt Nam. Up to my visit to Myanmar, I considered the food in Việt Nam as the best I had anywhere. Already on the way from the airport to the hotel in Hanoi I felt that I liked that country. But then again .....
I try to identify animals and plants that I have pictures for. I have the list of all binomial Latin names together with the English names for all the species that I have identified online. The list contains links to the Encyclopedia of Life for each species, to the Wikipedia entry, as well as a link to my pictures of that species.
Following are links to the countries for which I have pictures from my trips online.
- Here is a list of all countries in the world that I know of, with the spelling of the name of the country in the original script wherever I could find it.
- If you wonder what all those abbreviations and symbols mean in newsgroup and email messages, here is a List of smileys
- I have collected a list of the different Aircraft Engine designations. If you know of anything that is missing or incorrect, please let me know.
Dr. Günther Eichhorn