Dr. Tanja Rindler-Daller's habilitation

Dr. Tanja Rindler-Daller

On October 6th, 2021, Dr. Tanja Rindler-Daller held her habilitation colloquium under the title “New avenues in exploring cosmological dark matter. Then, on November 3rd, the rectorate accredited her with the licence to teach astronomy. With this, Dr. Rindler-Daller becomes the third woman at the University of Vienna who achieved this rank in astronomy, following her predecessors  Prof. Dr. Maria Firneis (1976) and Prof. Dr. Pascale Ehrenfreund (1999).

Dr. Rindler-Daller started her research on cosmology and dark matter back in her post-doc years in the USA, at the University of Texas in Austin as well as in the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She experienced at first hand how much more attention and money are given to this area of research there, compared to her homeland.

In Vienna-Favoriten born and raised, Tanja’s interest in astronomy was sparked and nurtured by her father. All along the way, she got support from her parents and her future husband. In 1998 she enrolled at the University of Vienna, studying Astronomy and Physics. For her astronomical undergraduate diploma, she specialized in galactic (n-body) dynamics under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Werner Zeilinger, finishing in 2002. Motivated by this and owing to her Physics studies, she continued with her doctoral degree in theoretical/mathematical physics on quantum-statistical mechanics of Bose-Einstein-Condensates, supervised by Prof. Dr. Jakob Yngvason, obtaining her title in 2007. Alongside, she also finished her Physics diploma on experimental growth of crystals, supervised by Prof. Dr. Armin Fuith.

Since 2010 Tanja returned her focus to astrophysics, especially to theoretical cosmology, where she examines not only classical dark matter models, that is, cold dark matter (CDM), but also modern approaches like self-interacting dark matter or fuzzy dark matter. Dark matter  not only influences structure formation, but it could also have an effect on stellar evolution in the early universe, as Tanja and her collaborators show with the example of the so-called Dark Stars. 

In 2016 Tanja came back to the Institute for Astrophysics in Vienna (IfA) and started to teach many undergraduate physics and math courses. In her graduate course her students could try out modern cosmological software to investigate different model universes by themselves. To her students she is known as a very smart and kind scientist who gives her very best to make everyone understand the complex matters in a didactical way. Accordingly, her teaching evaluations and feedback were exceedingly good, encouraging her to pursue the habilitation.

With the habilitation, Dr. Tanja Rindler-Daller is licensed to teach astronomy in its full scope. Female researchers at the IfA, like Dr. Tanja-Rindler-Daller, act as important role models to inspire young girls, women, as well as junior scientists. We celebrate her habilitation as a recognition of the outstanding achievements Dr. Rindler-Daller has accomplished throughout her professional career in research and teaching.

Author: Sanje Fenkart