Simon D M White was born in 1951 in Ashford, Kent, UK and is currently the Director at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Germany. He received his BA degree in Mathematics and his PhD in Astronomy from the University of Cambridge, UK in 1972 and 1977 respectively. He was a Lindemann Fellow at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, USA (1977–1978) and Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge (1979–1980). He then returned to UC Berkeley as Adjunct Assistant Professor (1981–1984). He joined the University of Arizona, USA, where he was successively Associate Professor/Astronomer (1984–1987) and Professor/Astronomer (1987–1991) at the Steward Observatory. He served as Director at the European Association for Research in Astronomy from 1992 to 1994. Since 1994, he has been a Director of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics. He is also a Foreign Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, a Member of the German National Academy, Leopoldina and a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences.  His many awards include, most recently, the 2011 Gruber Prize in Cosmology and the 2017 Shaw Prize in Astronomy.

Professor White is an astrophysicist who has made important contributions to the fascinating study of the evolution of galaxies.  He is also known for his work on dark matter.  His computer simulations have led to the standard model of growth of structure in the Universe.  He was first to show that when two galaxies merge, the final product is similar to an elliptical galaxy.  With Martin Rees, he proposed that galaxy formation was caused by gas condensing at the centres of dark halos.  With other colleagues, he pioneered supercomputer simulations of cosmic structure formation, showing that our Universe appears to be dominated by cold dark matter. 

Update 10 May 2019    Hong Kong