Tim de Zeeuw received his PhD from Leiden University in 1984. He subsequently worked at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and at Caltech, before returning to Leiden in 1990 as Professor of Theoretical Astronomy. His research focuses on the formation, structure and dynamics of galaxies including our own Milky Way. He was Co-Principal Investigator on the SAURON project, which combined groundbreaking integral-field spectroscopy and theoretical modeling to revolutionize our understanding of the nature and formation of early-type galaxies. He has supervised 25 PhD theses, was co-founder of the Lorentz Center in Leiden, directed the Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA) and Leiden Observatory, and served on oversight committees for AURA (Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy), ESA (European Space Agency), ESO and NASA. He also led the development of the European Science Vision for Astronomy in 2007. Awarded the 2001 Prix Descartes-Huygens and the 2010 Brouwer Award, he holds honorary doctorates from the universities of Lyon, Chicago and Padova.
Tim de Zeeuw has been Director General of ESO since September 2007, and currently chairs the EIROforum, a partnership between eight of Europe’s largest intergovernmental scientific organizations (including CERN, ESO and ESA).