MEET TORSTEN BÖKER: WEBB TELESCOPE'S EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY (ESA) DEPUTY PROJECT SCIENTIST AND MIRI INSTRUMENT SCIENTIST
Torsten Böker is the European Space Agency (ESA) Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) scientist and the James Webb Space Telescope Deputy Project Scientist. In his role as ESA MIRI Instrument Scientist, he is deeply involved in the technical aspects of MIRI, and in analyzing how they relate to its ultimate performance and sensitivity. He likes the challenge of building an instrument that is sensitive to mid-infrared radiation and therefore must work at -265 degrees Celsius (-445 degrees Fahrenheit).
He's excited about the fascinating science that MIRI will deliver. As an astronomer, he is most interested in its ability to peer deeply into dense dust clouds. He is planning to use MIRI to study the nuclei of nearby galaxies in order to better understand the interplay between black holes and nuclear star formation. He works for the European Space Agency, and their main technology center is located in the Netherlands close to the North Sea coast.
Böker grew up in Lüneburg, a small town in northern Germany with lots of medieval charm. He studied physics at the Technical University in Munich. Throughout his professional career, he has worked as a part of the Webb telescope and as a Calibration Scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope. Participating in those two flagship missions gave him extensive experience in every phase of a major space observatory.
He lives in the town of Leiden in the Netherlands. His wife Ute is a freelance journalist for a number of major German magazines that cover science and travel stories. He enjoys playing golf, running, and following soccer on TV together with their two dogs.