02/04/2020 | Prof. Dr. Jan O. Haerter has been appointed to a joint professorship for Complex Systems at Jacobs University and the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen at the beginning of April. At ZMT, he will take over as head of the department “Theoretical Ecology and Modelling” and will establish the new research group “Complexity and Climate”. At Jacobs University, he will support the activities in the field of Big Data, simulations and complex systems. The physicist holds a Villum Young Investigator Grant from the Danish VELUX Foundations and an ERC Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council.

Professor Dr Jan O Haerter
Photo: Privat collection

In his research at ZMT, Jan O. Haerter will focus on convective clouds, which determine precipitation in the tropics. He is also interested in extreme weather events and their effects on tropical coastal regions, as well as in theoretical ecology and socio-economic relationships on tropical coasts.

“Prof. Haerter’s work is of great interest to natural and social scientists alike”, says Prof. Dr. Arvid Kappas, Dean and Professor of Psychology at Jacobs University. “We are very pleased about this excellent support for our MSc program Data Engineering.”

“With Jan O. Haerter, ZMT gains an excellent scientist whose expertise in complex biological and ecological systems and social networks ideally complements the research at our institute,“ says Prof. Dr. Hildegard Westphal, Scientific Director of ZMT.

Jan O. Haerter has been Associate Professor of the “Atmospheric Complexity” research group at the Niels Bohr Institute of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark since 2016. He will remain affiliated with the institute in the future and continue to head his research group there within the framework of the Danish Villum Young Investigator Grant.

The 40-year-old received his doctorate in Theoretical Physics of Condensed Matter from the University of California at Santa Cruz, USA, in 2007. Since his PhD, he has ventured into a range of complex systems topics. Predominantly, he has been engaged in the physics of the atmosphere, in particular the global hydrological cycle and precipitation extremes on varying spatial and temporal scales. He followed these topics during his postdoc at Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M) during 2007-2010. During this time, he was involved in the European Water and Global Change Project (WATCH).

In 2011, Jan O. Haerter accepted a postdoctoral position at the “Center for Models of Life (CMoL)” at the Niels Bohr Institute of the University of Copenhagen, which appointed him assistant professor two years later. At CMoL, he has studied a range of additional complex systems, taken from biology, ecology, and social network science. He followed this thread of theoretical complex systems science during a research visit at the University of Barcelona (2015-2016).

For ZMT, Jacobs University and the Bremen science location, recruiting Jan O. Haerter is an important step towards strengthening theoretical expertise, intensifying cooperation, and establishing new links with the Niels Bohr Institute.