Prof. Dr. Harald Lesch
GREEN BRANDS Germany Personality 2023
Astrophysicist, Philosopher, Science Journalist and "Senior Influencer"
He is an astrophysicist, philosopher, science journalist and now also a “senior influencer”: Prof Dr Harald Lesch. When he explains highly complex topics such as particle physics and solar storms or provides information on how heat pumps or telescopes work, millions of people listen to him. Competent, comprehensible and always scientifically sound – that’s how TV viewers have known and loved him for more than 20 years.
Hardly anyone explains the world better than the habilitated physics professor. But he is not only concerned with nature and the environment in theory. He also has a very practical interest in protecting and preserving our planet. Lesch has been a member of the Bavarian Climate Council since 2015. He supports and advocates the work of Fridays for Future and is a public campaigner for more climate protection.
He uses his reach on TV and the internet to draw attention to climate change and its consequences and to shake people up. In an interview with “Apotheken Umschau”, Lesch said: “We will have to deal with climate adaptation for many decades, if not centuries”. There is already too little groundwater today, which is causing farmers to suffer. “They know that the climate crisis is already here.”
Lesch is full of praise for the Fridays for Future movement. They had “made an incredibly important, morally clean point. Any generation of children could have said: “What are you doing to our future!” Because the movement was “morally so clear”, no one could contradict them. “And they have managed to create an awareness via the new media that would have been impossible in the past” says Lesch. He himself also uses the reach of TV and the internet to educate and inform.
The 63-year-old’s media career began in 1998 with the programmes “Alpha Centauri” and “Die Physik Albert Einsteins” on the BR-alpha television channel. From 2007, he initially presented the ZDF television programme “Abenteuer Forschung”, which was later renamed “Leschs Kosmos”. Despite the late broadcasting time, Lesch regularly reaches an audience of millions. Since 2009, he has also hosted the Terra X series “Faszination Universum”. This also paved the way gave rise for the YouTube channel “Terra X Lesch & Co.” in 2016, with which Lesch conquers the internet.
Can we achieve the energy transition? How intelligent is AI? Or how do gravitational waves actually work? In his ZDF TV programme “Leschs Kosmos” and on his YouTube channel “Terra X Lesch & Co.”, Harald Lesch presents interesting facts about science and technology. And always in a competent, comprehensible and entertaining way.
Each week, the TV programme focuses on a scientifically or philosophically relevant topic of our time. Harald Lesch approaches each topic from a scientific perspective and provides viewers with a detailed understanding of relevant facts, the latest research findings and current socio-political discussions. The programme regularly reaches more than 1.6 million viewers on late Tuesday evenings. The YouTube videos reach up to one million clicks per episode.
A YouTuber older than 50? Harald Lesch initially resisted the idea. “I said: I’m 55! I’m not a YouTuber. And certainly not an influencer.” Meanwhile, he enjoys the format. He explained all kinds of things early on. “I’m a pedagogue from head to toe.”
But let’s start at the beginning: Harald Lesch was born on 28 July 1960 in Giessen to a family of innkeepers. His father was a high-voltage electrician. Originally, he not only wanted to observe the stars, but to fly to them himself. His dream job as a child: astronaut. He applied at NASA. But the US space agency kindly turned him down.
After all, the applicant was only nine years old. “Back then, I was what you would call a nerd today,” says Lesch about himself. He was particularly fond of the science fiction series “Perry Rhodan”. “That was the first time I read about neutron stars.”
After leaving school, he studied physics from 1978 to 1987 at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen and later at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms University in Bonn, with a minor in philosophy. He initially worked as a research assistant at the Heidelberg-Königsstuhl State Observatory until 1991. In 1992, Lesch was a visiting professor at the University of Toronto. Since 1995, he has worked as a professor of theoretical astrophysics at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. He also teaches natural philosophy at the Munich School of Philosophy.
In addition to his TV career as a presenter and speaker, Harald Lesch has also made a name for himself as a non-fiction author. His topics range from the Big Bang to the secrets of the universe and renewable energies. As in his TV programmes, Lesch also knows how to explain things in an entertaining and comprehensible way in his books.
In 2018 and 2020, Harald Lesch was honoured with the German Television Award in the category “Best Infotainment” for his in-depth reporting in front of the camera. In 2012, he received the “Urania Medal” for his “extraordinary commitment to science communication”. He is also a recipient of i.a. the Bavarian Order of Merit, the Hanns Joachim Friedrich Prize and the Bavarian Book Prize..
Harald Lesch is convinced that man-made climate change can still be stopped if we act now. But what does he recommend to citizens as immediate measures to save energy? “Use the bicycle or public transport. Only fly if you absolutely have to. Less meat, fewer dairy products, because milk production is very costly”.
The government must create the conditions in such a way that ecologically sensible behaviour is always rewarded. There is no other option than to implement radical change. “This is the most beautiful planet in the Milky Way” says Harald Lesch. It is worth protecting it.
Harald Lesch manages to captivate people in an impressive way. He provides factual and scientifically sound yet passionate information. He is an accomplished teacher, smart explainer and astute analyst who uses his media reach to shake people up. For his commitment to climate protection and the preservation of our planet, we are therefore honouring Prof. Dr Harald Lesch as “GREEN BRANDS Germany Personality 2023”.
Picture Credits // © Copyright:
- ZDF/Jens Hartmann, Honorarfrei – nur für diese Sendung bei Nennung ZDF und Jens Hartmann.
- ZDF/Jacqueline Krause-Burberg, Honorarfrei für redaktionelle Berichterstattung inkl. SocialMedia bei Nennung ZDF und Jacqueline Krause-Burberg.
- ZDF/Stefan Busse, Honorarfrei – nur für diese Sendung bei Nennung ZDF und Stefan Busse.
- ZDF/Johanna Brinckman, Honorarfrei für redaktionelle Berichterstattung inkl. SocialMedia bei Nennung ZDF und Johanna Brinckman.
- DF/Zeljko Pehar, Honorarfrei – nur für diese Sendung inkl. SocialMedia bei Nennung ZDF und Zeljko Pehar.
- ZDF/Claudius Pflug, Honorarfrei – nur für diese Sendung inkl. SocialMedia bei Nennung ZDF und Claudius Pflug.
- ZDF/Sascha Baumann, Honorarfrei – nur für diese Sendung inkl. SocialMedia bei Nennung ZDF und Sascha Baumann.