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Arnold O. Benz is a Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Astronomy in the Physics Department of ETH Zurich.[1]

Arnold Benz
Benz Arnold 2013klein.JPG
Arnold O. Benz in 2013
Born(1945-04-21)April 21, 1945
Alma materCornell University
Known forSolar radio emission, science-religion dialog
AwardsHonorary doctorates awarded by University of Zurich (2011) and University of the South (2017)
Scientific career
FieldsAstrophysics, theology
ThesisThe Acceleration of Solar Wind Protons and Heavy Ions (1973)
Doctoral advisorThomas Gold


Education and careerEdit

Benz was educated at ETH Zurich where he was awarded a Diploma in Theoretical Physics in 1969. He then went to Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. USA, where he received a PhD in astrophysics for his research on the acceleration of the solar wind in 1973.[2] After his return to ETH Zurich he studied plasma physical processes in the solar corona.[3] He led a research group on radio astronomy from 1974 to 2010. In 1974 he became a lecturer at the Physics Department and in 1993 he was nominated professor for physics with focus on astrophysics. He is professor emeritus at ETH Zurich since 2010 and continues to work at the Institute for Astronomy and part-time at Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz (FHNW) in Windisch, Switzerland.

Research and achievementsEdit

Benz is well known for his observations and interpretation of the solar radio emission and particle acceleration in solar and stellar flares with several hundred scholarly publications. The Güdel-Benz relation between radio and X-ray emission of flares was named after him.[4] More recently, Benz studied star formation using molecular line observations by the Herschel Space Observatory. Benz presided several scientific committees, such as the Swiss Society for Astrophysics and Astronomy (1999-2002) and Division II (Sun and Heliosphere) of the International Astronomical Union (2000-2003).

To the public at large, Benz is known for his numerous presentations on astronomy at the popular level, most prominently on Swiss television and radio since 1979, as well as for his books on the dialog between science and religion. He received an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Theology of the University of Zurich [5] for his merits to the interaction between science and theology, in which he stresses the differences between scientific and religious perception.[6] The University of the South (Sewanee, TN, USA) awarded him 2017 an honorary doctor's degree in Science "for his distinguished contributions to astronomical inquiry and for his illuminating, interdisciplinary reflections".[7]

Books and Articles (selection)Edit

  • Plasma Astrophysics. Kinetic Processes in Solar and Stellar Coronae. 2nd ed. Kluwer, Dordrecht 2002, ISBN 1-4020-0695-0
  • Astrophysics and Creation: Perceiving the Universe Through Science and Participation. Crossroads Publishing, New York 2016, ISBN 978-0824522131.
  • The Future of the Universe: Chance, Chaos, God? second edition, Continuum Publishing, New York 2002, ISBN 978-3-8436-0074-3.
  • Meaningless Space? in : George, Mark/ Pezzoli-Olgiati, Daria (eds.), Meaningful Spaces. Religious Representations in Place, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 23–34 (2014).
  • Würfelt Gott? Was Physik und Theologie einander zu sagen haben (in German, with Samuel Vollenweider). Topos Plus, Kevelaer 2015, ISBN 978-3-8367-0009-2
  • Astrophysics and Creation: Perceiving the Universe Through Science and Participation. Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, 52, 186-195 (2017).


  1. ^ Publication list of Arnold O. Benz (
  2. ^ Arnold O. Benz: The Acceleration of Solar Wind Protons and Heavy Ions. Bibcode1973PhDT.........8B
  3. ^ Arnold O. Benz: Millisecond radio spikes. Bibcode1986SoPh..104...99B
  4. ^ Jan Forbrich: The Radio-X-ray Relation in Cool Stars: Are We Headed Toward a Divorce? 16th Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars, Stellar Systems, and the Sun, ASP 448 (2012), 455
  5. ^ Laudation (in German) for honorary degree from the University of Zurich 2011
  6. ^ Jesse J. Thomas: Astrophysics and Creation: Perceiving the World through Science and Participation (Review) Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, vol. XXVIII, no. 1-2 (2016), 171-173
  7. ^ [Citation:]

External linksEdit