Curriculum vitae Ralf Christian Kotulla

  • Academic Record
  • Teaching experience
  • Conferences, Meetings and summer schools
  • Memberships and professional services
  • Observing experience
  • More

Academic Record:

  • 02/2015 – today
    Assistant Researcher and Data Scientist
    Department of Astronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • 09/2010 – 02/2015
    Postdoctoral researcher at Center for Gravitation and Cosmology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
    since ~ Sept. 2013 funded by own grant from HST/STScI
  • Sept. 2010: PhD in Astrophysics
    Thesis: Galaxy Evolution and the redshift desert
    Advisors: Prof. Uta Fritze & Prof. Elias Brinks
    Examiners: Prof. Max Pettini (IoA, Cambridge) and Prof. Martin Hardcastle (U. Herts)
  • 01/2010 – 05/2010
    Research Internship at University of Wisconsin – Madison
    Collaboration with Prof. Dr. Jay Gallagher on interacting galaxies
  • 07/2007 – 09/2010
    PhD Research studentship from University of Hertfordshire
  • Nov. 2006
    Graduation with Diploma in Physics: grade “very good”
    Thesis: Optical spectroscopy and multiwavelength analysis of X-ray selected Active Galactic Nuclei
  • 09/2004 – 02/2005
    Semester abroad at Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Netherlands
  • 10/2003 – 06/2007:
    Study of physics at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
    financial support: excellence grant from Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (10/03 – 11/05)
  • 04/2002 – 09/2003:
    Study of physics at Technische Universität Darmstadt
  • June 2001:
    Abitur – German Grammar School degree

Teaching and Related Experience

  • 09/2019 – present:
    Director of the Research Experience for Undergraduates in Astrophysics (AstroREU) program at U. Wisconsin-Madison
  • 01/2019-05/2019 (Spring Semester 2019)
    Lecturer for “Astronomy 103 – Stars and Galaxies” (2 sections, ~250 students combined) at U. Wisconsin-Madison
  • 08/2014 – 12/2014 (Fall Semester 2014)
    Lecturer for “Astronomy 103 – Survey of Astronomy” (~70 students) at U. Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • 10/2003 – 09/2004, 03/2005 – 09/2006
    Teaching Assistent “Physikalisches Praktikum für Nebenfächler” (Physics lab courses for minor subject students), Institute for Nuclear and Atomic Physics, University Göttingen
  • 04/2006 – 08/2006
    Teaching Assistent, “Einführung in die Geo- und Astrophysik”,
    Institute for Geophysics, University Göttingen
  • 09/2005 – 07/2007
    Teaching Assistent “Fortgeschrittenenpraktikum Astrophysik” (Advanced astrophysics lab-courses for 3rd-year students), Institute for Astrophysics, University Göttingen
  • 09/2005 – 07/2007
    > 200 hours of observation with the IAG 50cm-telescope
    Supervision of observations at the 0.5m telescope and of practical courses at the Institute for Astrophysics, University Göttingen
  • 02/2007 – 06/2007
    Supervision of two “Projektpraktikum” (2nd pratical, lasting ~2 weeks full-time) groups:
    “Spektroskopie von aktiven Galaxienkernen” (Spectroscopy of active galactic nuclei)
    “Bestimmung der Lichtgeschwindigkeit mittels variabler Sterne” (Determination of the speed of light using variable stars).
    Institute for Astrophysics, University Göttingen
  • 09/2005 – 07-2007
    Creation and supervision of two praticals for third-year students:
    “Strukturanalyse von Galaxien” (Structure analysis of galaxies)
    “Photometrie von Sternhaufen” (Photometry of star clusters)
    teaching the students the principles of astrophysical observations, data reduction and analysis (for more information see the institute’s website), Institute for Astrophysics, University Göttingen
  • 04/2007 – 07/2007
    Revision and extension of three astrophysics beginner practicals:
    “Photometrie eines Sternhaufen” (Photometry of star clusters)
    “Morphologie von Galaxien” (Morphology of galaxies)
    “Spektren Aktiver Galaxien” (Spectra of active galaxies)
    Institute for Astrophysics, University Göttingen
  • 08/2008 – 12/2009
    Student demonstrator for astrophysics experiments at the university observatory in Bayfordbury



  • International Astronomical Union
  • Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (German Physical Society)
  • Astronomische Gesellschaft (German Astronomical Society)
  • European Astronomical Society
  • American Astronomical Society

Synergistic Activities

  • Referee for the Astrophysical Journal & Astronomical Journal
  • Referee for Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  • Technical Reviewer for NASA (2013, 2014, 2016)
  • Reviewer for the National Science Foundation (NSF; 2014)
  • Member of the WIYN One Degree Imager (ODI) Commissioning Working Group and the ODI Pipeline Science Team

Astronomical / Other Knowledge

  • Programming – also see my project at GitHUB
    • fluent in C, C++, Python, Cython;
    • experienced in PHP and Fortran, Perl, and shell-scripting
    • Multi-threaded and multi-process programming for High Performance Computing
    • MIDAS and IRAF Scripting, PyRAF
    • MPI Parallel Computing
  • Astronomical Software
    • Single Lead Developer for a python-based data reduction pipeline for the WIYN One Degree Imager, a wide-field multi-CCD imager with ~480 Mpixels
    • Development of an efficient Data Reduction Pipeline (Mr. Miller) for optical AND near-infrared data from various instruments and telescopes
  • Imaging and spectroscopy:
    • Own observations (Optical and Near-Infrared, see above)
    • ESO-, HST- and ING-Archives
    • Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)
  • LaTeX, HTML, SQL, PHP, Perl, etc.