Prof. Dr. Volker Schönfelder

Academic Career and Research Areas

Prof. Schönfelder`s main research field was MeV Gamma-Ray Astronomy. He has develloped a new, previously unknown telescope ( called Compton Telescope ) for observations at MeV - energies, first as balloon-born experiment and later as satellite experiment COMPTEL aboard NASA`s Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory GRO. After that he was Co-Principal Investigator of the satellite experiment SPI for high spectral resolution aboard ESA`s INTEGRAL mission. Since 1985 he has held the introductory lectures in Astrophysics (2hours/week) at the TUM, which he has completed by special lectures on selected topics. He was supervisor of 28 diploma and 20 PhD-students with exams at the TUM.

Prof. Schönfelder studied Physics in Göttingen and Kiel from 1959 to 1966. He finished his degree as Diploma physisist at the "Institut für Reine und Angewandte Kernphysik" in Kiel.From 1966 till 1969 he was PhD-student at the "MPI für Extraterrestrische Physik" (MPE) in Garching and got the degree in 1970 at the TUM. From 1970 till 1979 he was employee at MPE. His main field was Gamma-Ray Astronomy. In 1979 he became Dr. rer nat habil at the TUM. From 1980 till his retirement in 2004 he was head of the Gamma-Ray Group at MPE  as Senior Research Scientist (C3-position). In 1973 and in 1989 he visited science institutes in Cambridge/England and New Hampshire/USA for 3 and 2 monthes, respectively. Since1995 he is Professor for Experimental Physics at the TUM.


  • Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande (2019)
  • Goldene Ehrennadel der Fakutät für Physik der TUM (2013)
  • Philip Morris Forschungspreis (verbunden mit einem Preisgeld) (1997)
  • NASA "Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement" (1993)

Erwähnenswert (obwohl keine direkte Auszeichnung):

  • ein 1:1 Modell von COMPTEL befindet sich im Deutschen Museum
  • 1999 hat die Deutsche Post eine Sonderbriefmarke mit dem Compton Observatorium der NASA und der COMPTEL Himmelskarte als Motiv herrausgegeben

“INTEGRAL entdeckt den Gamma-Himmel”. Physik in unserer Zeit 6. 2004; S.264-271.


“Das Compton Gammastrahlen Observatorium”. Sterne&Weltraum 7. 2002; S.34-44.

“The First COMPTEL Source Catalogue”. Astronomy&Astroph.Suppl. 143. 2000; S. 145-179.


“Instrument Description and Performance of the Imaging Gamma.Ray Telescope COMPTEL aboard NASA`s Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory”. The Astrophys. Suppl. 86. 1993; S. 657-692.


“A Telescope for Soft Gamma Ray Astronomy”. Nucl. Instruments & Methods 107. 1973; S.385-394.