Michael Wiescher, received his PhD in 1980 at the University of Münster, Germany. After postdoctoral positions at Ohio State University (USA), Caltech (USA), and the University of Mainz (Germany), he joined the faculty at the University of Notre Dame (USA) to build a program in experimental nuclear astrophysics. In 2003 he founded the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics (JINA), which is now an international research organization including more than 100 research institutions worldwide. For the period of 2003 to 2014, he served as JINA director. In 2010 he became also the director of the Notre Dame Nuclear Science Laboratory (NSL) at Notre Dame. Wiescher’s research focuses on the experimental and theoretical study of stellar reaction rates for quiescent and explosive stellar environments. More recently Wiescher was instrumental in the installation of CASPAR, the first US deep underground accelerator at Homestake Mine in South Dakota which concentrates on the study of reactions important for stellar helium burning.
Wiescher is a fellow of the American Physics Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he is also an elected member of the Academiae Europaeae. In 2003 Wiescher was awarded with the Hans Bethe Prize of the American Physical Society for his work on the rapid proton capture process that drives thermonuclear explosions in accreting binary systems. In 2018 he was awarded the 2018 Prize for Laboratory Astrophysics by the American Astronomical Society for ”his leading contributions to the experimental foundation of nuclear astrophysics”. Presently he serves as the Heraeus Guest Professor for Physics at the University of Frankfurt, Germany.