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Professor Hartmut Winkler

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Professor Hartmut Winkler
Department of Physics; Department of Physics Academic Staff

Contact Details
C1 Lab 235
011 559 4417

For more detailed information, please visit Hartmut Winkler’s Personal web page:


Authored or co-authored 39 articles in scientific journals (31 subsidised & peer reviewed; 16 as first author) and 26 articles in conference proceedings. Click HERE to view the list and access the articles.

Presented four oral and four poster papers at international conferences 

Numerous scientific talks, including fifteen overseas 

Awarded FRD Y-rating for promising scientists under the age of 35 years - 1993 

FRD/NRF C3-rating for established scientists - 1997 and again in 2002 

Awarded the Matsumae International Foundation Fellowship with which I spent a six month sabbatical at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan in Tokyo (only South African to date to be granted this fellowship) - Apr-Sep 1996 

Recipient of a DAAD Research Grant for visiting scientists for a two-month trip to Germany – May-Jul 2011 



Prof Winkler’s scientific work is split between two foci of interest:

1) Atmospheric Physics: Solar irradiation, aerosols, interaction between radiation and aerosols, solar energy

Prof Winkler has been closely involved in observational campaigns to determine the aerosol concentrations and characteristics over southern Africa, using sun photometers (e.g. SAFARI’2000). He is now engaged in the Enerkey project, which studies the energy requirements of Gauteng and assesses solutions. He is presently engaged in developing higher-accuracy models to quantify (on a site-specific basis) the solar radiation collected by a range of solar power technologies, including photovoltaic panels and parabolic troughs. In particular these models consider the impact of aerosols and atmospheric pressure profiles on the light path, attenuation and scattering, leading to improved, light wavelength-specific insolation parameters. Model parameters are in most cases expressly tailored to describe the conditions at South African sites, and thus provide site diagnostics for potential solar power station developments.

2) Astrophysics: Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN), in particular Seyfert galaxies – spectral properties, classification, variability, optical photometry.

Prof Winkler devised and developed the flux variation gradient method for determining the obscuration and intrinsic luminosity of Seyfert nuclei. He has also been engaged and published in a multitude of projects in different branches of astronomy, including the determination of intrinsic infrared colours of B-stars, an analysis of the spectra of B[e] stars, the large scale structure of the universe, several novae, supernova 1987a, symbiotic stars and cataclysmic variables. He is currently developing the ZORROASTER database of AGN optical spectra and luminosities, and devising a more sophisticated spectral classification system for AGN.




Winkler H, Glass IS, Van Wyk F, Marang F, Spencer Jones JH, Buckley DAH, Sekiguchi K, 1992: 'Variability studies of Seyfert galaxies. I Broad band optical photometry', Monthly Notices Roy. Astron. Soc. 257, 659-676 (59 citations) 

Winkler H, 1992: 'Variability studies of Seyfert galaxies. II Spectroscopy', Monthly Notices Roy. Astron. Soc. 257, 677-688 (85 citations) 

Winkler H, 1997: ‘Red and infrared colours of B-stars and the reddening law in the Galaxy’, Monthly Notices Roy. Astron. Soc., 287, 481-494 (48 citations) 

Winkler H, 1997: ‘The extinction, flux distribution and luminosity of Seyfert 1 nuclei derived from UBV(RI)c aperture photometry’, Monthly Notices Roy. Astron. Soc., 292, 273-288 (29 citations) 

Winkler H, Formenti P, Esterhuyse D, Swap RJ, Helas G, Annegarn HJ, Andreae MO, 2008: ‘Evidence for large scale transport of biomass burning aerosols from sunphotometry at a remote South African site’, Atmos. Env. 42, 5569-5578