krawczynski photo

Henric Krawczynski


Office Contact Information

254 Compton

Physics Department, CB 1105
Washington University
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899, USA

(314) 935-8553

Research Interests

Dr. Krawczynski works on experimental and theoretical astroparticle physics. His work aims at revealing the inner workings of astrophysical black holes, and using black hole and neutron star observations for testing the theory of General Relativity and the Standard Model of Particle Physics in regimes not accessible in terrestrial laboratories.

Krawczynski is the Principal Investigator of the balloon-borne X-Calibur polarimetry mission. X-Calibur studies the polarization of hard X-rays from mass accreting black holes and rotation and accretion powered neutron stars. The experiment was flown for the first time on Sept. 17., 2016 from Fort Sumner, NM. The next flight is scheduled for December 2018 from McMurdo, Antarctic. Krawczynski is furthermore a member of the science team of the Imaging X-ray Polarimeter Explorer (IXPE) - a NASA mission targeting black holes and neutron stars which is scheduled for launch in 2021. Krawczynski's group develops analysis methods and astrophysical models for IXPE.

In his lab, Krawczynski works on the development of semiconductor and cryogenic X-ray and gamma-ray detectors for future NASA missions. He collaborates with scientists at the Brookhaven National laboratory on the development of room temperature Cadmium Zinc Telluride detectors, and with scientists of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) on the development of cryogenic microcalorimeter arrays read out by Transition Edge Sensors. Both types of detectors can be in the focal plane of a future hard X-ray imaging spectroscopy mission following up on NASA's successful NuSTAR mission.

On the theoretical side, Krawczynski studies general properties of radiation processes, the observational appearance of black holes (based on General Relativistic ray tracing studies) and gravitationally lensed black holes, and on models describing the continuum emission from the ultrafast outflows of mass accreting black holes.

Henric Krawczynski is one of four founding members of the Washington University Center for Quantum Sensors ( and a member of the Washington University McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences (

Selected Recent Publications

Henric Krawczynski's Complete Publications List


1997 Ph.D., University of Hamburg, Physics
1994 M.Sc., University of Hamburg, Physics


2011-present Professor at Washington University
2007-2011 Associate Professor at Washington University
2002-2007 Assistant Professor at Washington University
2000-2002 Research Associate and Instructor at Yale University
1997-2000 Research Associate at the Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics

Responsibilities in the Physics Department

2012-2018 Director of Undergraduate Studies at Washington University

Honors and Awards

2007 Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award of the Graduate Student Senate
2004 Department of Energy Outstanding Junior Investigator Award
2001-2002 Gibbs Research/Instructor Fellowship at Yale
1992-1993 German DAAD Fellowship

Professional Societies

  • American Astronomical Society

Organization of Conferences and Meetings

  • Member of the scientific organizing committee of the COSPAR panel "X-RAY POLARIMETRY: EXPERIMENTS AND SCIENCE PROSPECTS", 41st COSPAR Scientific Assembly, Istanbul, Turkey, August 30- July 7, 2016.
  • Member of the scientific organizing committee of the conference "Relativistic Jets: Creation, Dynamics, and Internal Physics", Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland, April 20-24, 2015.
  • Scientific organizer of a special session on "Ballooning and Sounding Rockets" at the 14th Meeting of the High Energy Astrophysics Division (HEAD) of the American Astronomical Society (AAS), Chicago, IL, August 17-21, 2014
  • Lead scientific organizer of the SNOWPAC Special Session on the "Physics and Astrophysics with X-ray Polarization", Feb. 1, 2011, Snowbird, (UT).

Community Service

  • Member of the Executive Committee of the Physics of the Cosmos Program Analysis Group (PhysPAG), 2015-2017.
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astornomical Society, 2013-2016.
  • Participation in the 2010 NRC decadal survey of astronomy and astrophysics in the "galaxies across cosmic time" Science Frontier Panel.
  • Member of the Fermi User Group (2007-2010).