Linda Tacconi Elected as Next ESO Council President

8 december 2020

Linda Tacconi, a senior astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) in Garching, Germany, has been elected as the next president of ESO’s main governing body, the Council.

I am honoured to have been chosen as president of the ESO Council,” Tacconi says. “The coming years represent a very exciting time for the organisation, as the first light of ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope approaches and current facilities, such as ESO’s Very Large Telescope, continue at the forefront of astronomical research. The various ESO observatories will work in synergy, furthering our knowledge of the Universe and strengthening ESO’s position as a world-leader in ground-based astronomy. I look forward to sharing in this experience and working with Council to support ESO in maintaining this leadership role.

Tacconi completed her PhD at the University of Massachusetts, USA, in 1988 and later worked at the Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy, in Dwingeloo, before starting her career at the MPE in 1991. In 2012, she received the Lancelot M. Berkeley New York Community Trust Prize in recognition of her contributions to the field of astronomy, in particular for her work on cold gas in massive star-forming galaxies in the young universe.

Tacconi has been strongly involved with ESO for a number of years, including in Council where she has served as the German Scientific Delegate since 2016. In addition to her role in Council, she was the chair of ESO’s Scientific Technical Committee in 2006–2008. She has also served on several other international committees, including as chair of the Programme Committee and of the Science Advisory Committee of IRAM, an international research institute for millimetre astronomy. She currently serves on the ALMA Board and chairs the Senior Committee for the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Voyage 2050, a programme to define ESA’s space science roadmap for 2035–2050.

Tacconi succeeds Willy Benz from the University of Bern, Switzerland, in leading the ESO Council.  ESO’s Director General, Xavier Barcons, expresses his thanks to the former president: “I would like to thank Willy on behalf of all ESO staff for his tireless work as Council President, particularly during these unprecedented times. I look forward to continuing working with Linda in her new role as Council President.


Linda Tacconi
Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
Garching bei München, Germany

Bárbara Ferreira
ESO Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Cell: +49 151 241 664 00

Over de Mededeling



Portrait of Linda Tacconi (MPE Garching)
Portrait of Linda Tacconi (MPE Garching)