Klaus Pontoppidan

Associate Astronomer w/tenure

Klaus is an associate astronomer at STScI. He works on the formation of planets and the origin of our own Solar System, as well as the infrared instrumentation needed to understand the formation of planets, and our own origins. One particularly exciting question is how common the chemical ingredients (like water) for life are and whether they naturally evolve as part of new planets. He is a member of the Science Definition and Technology Team for the Origins Space Telescope, the far-infrared NASA flagship concept to be submitted to the 2020 Decadal Survey and a CoI for HIRMES a next-generation SOFIA high-resolution spectrometer. He is a frequent user of infrared spectrometers on Keck, the VLT and Gemini. He also works on the development of scientific software, including radiative transfer codes, and the JWST exposure time calculator. Klaus is the James Webb Space Telescope Project Scientist at STScI.

Science Interests:

  • The evolution of chemistry in planet-forming regions
  • Origin of the chemical ingredients of life, and their delivery to exoplanetary surfaces
  • The chemistry of ices in the dense interstellar medium
  • The development of non-LTE infrared line radiative transfer codes


Research Topics: Protoplanetary Disks, Star Formation, Astrochemistry, Interstellar Ices, Scientific Software


Professional Websites:

Professional Website

To contact one of our research staff members
please call 410-338-4700 or view the index for their email alias