Sabine Hossenfelder

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Sabine Hossenfelder
Hossenfelder in 2017
Born (1976-09-18) September 18, 1976 (age 47)
Alma materGoethe University Frankfurt
(Dr. rer. nat.)
Known forAnalog models of gravity
SpouseStefan Scherer [d]
Scientific career
FieldsQuantum gravity
ThesisSchwarze Löcher in Extra-Dimensionen : Eigenschaften und Nachweis (2003)
Doctoral advisorHorst Stöcker
YouTube information
Years active2007–present
GenreScience communication
Subscribers1.29 million[1]
Total views158 million[1]
100,000 subscribers2020
1,000,000 subscribers2023

Last updated: 12 May 2024

Sabine Karin Doris Hossenfelder (born 18 September 1976) is a German theoretical physicist, philosopher of science, author, science communicator, YouTuber, musician, and singer. She is the author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, which explores the concept of elegance in fundamental physics and cosmology, and of Existential Physics: A Scientist’s Guide to Life’s Biggest Questions.

Early life and education[edit]

Sabine Hossenfelder was born in Frankfurt, West Germany, on 18 September 1976.[2][3] She received an undergraduate degree in Mathematics in 1997 from the Goethe University Frankfurt.[4] In 2004, she completed a doctorate in theoretical physics from the same institution, with her thesis titled "Schwarze Löcher in Extra-Dimensionen: Eigenschaften und Nachweis" (lit.'Black Holes in Extra Dimensions: Properties and Proof').[2]. That same year, she published an English research paper with a similar title, "Black Hole Relics in Large Extra Dimensions", in Physics Letters B.[5]


Hossenfelder remained in Germany until 2004 as a postdoctoral researcher at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt.[4] She was subsequently employed as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Arizona, Tucson, University of California, Santa Barbara, and later at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada. In 2009, she became an assistant professor at the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics in Sweden.[6] Between 2015 and 2023, she was employed at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies,[citation needed] followed by a post at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich's Center for Mathematical Philosophy[7] after which she left academia.[8][9]

Public engagement and scientific outreach[edit]

Hossenfelder is a popular science writer who has written books, and written a blog since 2006.[10] The blog is called Backreaction and it is run by both Hossenfelder and her husband Stefan Scherer who is also a physicist.[11] She contributes to the Forbes column "Starts with a Bang"[12] and to The Guardian[13][14] as well as Quanta Magazine,[15] New Scientist,[16] Nature Physics,[17] Scientific American,[18] Nautilus Quarterly[19] and Physics Today.[20]

Her 2018 book, Lost in Math, was also published in German with the title Das hässliche Universum (The Ugly Universe). Hossenfelder posits that the universe (and its particle model) is messy, and that it cannot be described by a mathematically beautiful Grand Unified Theory.[21]

Hossenfelder runs two eponymous YouTube channels (one subtitled "Science without the gobbledygook"),[22] another named "Sabine Hossenfelder [Music Videos]" for music videos she makes.[23]

In August 2022, Hossenfelder released a book titled Existential Physics: A Scientist's Guide to Life's Biggest Questions, published by Viking Press.[24]

In January 2023, Hossenfelder started her association with Big Think YouTube channel. Her first video published on the channel was a lecture named 'Do humans have souls?'.[25][26]

Personal life[edit]

Hossenfelder married physicist Stefan Scherer [d] in 2006.[27][28] They have twin daughters born in December 2010.[27]


In 2024, the International Astronomical Union named an asteroid after her, designated (16648) Hossi, after a nickname she acquired while in school.[29][30]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Hossenfelder, Sabine (12 June 2018). Lost in Math. New York, NY: Basic Books. ISBN 978-0-465-09425-7.
  • Hossenfelder, Sabine (9 August 2022). Existential Physics: A Scientist's Guide to Life's Biggest Questions. New York, NY: Penguin. ISBN 978-1-9848-7945-5.
  • Hossenfelder, Sabine; Palmer, Tim (2020). "Rethinking Superdeterminism". Frontiers in Physics. 8. arXiv:1912.06462. doi:10.3389/fphy.2020.00139. ISSN 2296-424X.


  1. ^ a b "About Sabine Hossenfelder". YouTube.
  2. ^ a b Sabine Hossenfelder (6 October 2003), Schwarze Löcher in Extra-Dimensionen: Eigenschaften und Nachweis (in German), Frankfurt University Library, OCLC 1184087608, Wikidata Q124666711
  3. ^ "Die Grundlagenphysik hat sich vergaloppiert, sagt die Physikerin Sabine Hossenfelder im Interview" – Kultur
  4. ^ a b "Bio". Archived from the original on 28 January 2019. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  5. ^ Hossenfelder, Sabine; Bleicher, Marcus; Hofmann, Stefan; Stöcker, Horst; Kotwal, Ashutosh V. (31 July 2003). "Black hole relics in large extra dimensions". Physics Letters B. 566 (3): 233–239. arXiv:hep-ph/0302247. doi:10.1016/S0370-2693(03)00835-9. ISSN 0370-2693.
  6. ^ Mühlen, Hans. "Sabine Hossenfelder – NORDITA". Archived from the original on 28 January 2018. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  7. ^ Neuman, Scott (23 September 2023). "She got famous on YouTube. Now it helps fund her research in quantum gravity". NPR. Retrieved 24 September 2023.
  8. ^ Coyne, Jerry (8 April 2024). "Sabine Hossenfelder hangs it up; and some personal thoughts". Why Evolution Is True. Retrieved 12 April 2024.
  9. ^ Sabine Hossenfelder. My dream died, and now I'm here. Retrieved 12 April 2024 – via
  10. ^ "About". Archived from the original on 28 January 2018. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Blog life: Backreaction". physicsworld. IOP Publishing. 1 June 2007. Retrieved 9 January 2024.
  12. ^ Hossenfelder, Sabine. "Why Trust A Theory? Physicists And Philosophers Debate The Scientific Method". Starts with a Bang. Forbes. Archived from the original on 28 January 2018. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Sabine Hossenfelder | The Guardian". the Guardian. Retrieved 13 January 2024.
  14. ^ Fox, Killian (26 November 2022). "Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder: 'There are quite a few areas where physics blurs into religion'". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 13 January 2024.
  15. ^ "Sabine Hossenfelder | Quanta Magazine". Archived from the original on 15 January 2018. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  16. ^ "Strangely familiar: Is dark matter normal stuff in disguise?". New Scientist. Archived from the original on 28 January 2018. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  17. ^ Hossenfelder, Sabine (5 April 2017). "Science needs reason to be trusted". Nature Physics. 13 (4): 316–317. Bibcode:2017NatPh..13..316H. doi:10.1038/nphys4079. S2CID 125850100.
  18. ^ Hossenfelder, Sabine (2015). "Head Trip". Scientific American. 313 (3): 46–49. Bibcode:2015SciAm.313c..46H. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0915-46. PMID 26455101.
  19. ^ Hossenfelder, Sabine (2 February 2017). "What Quantum Gravity Needs Is More Experiments". Nautilus. Archived from the original on 28 January 2018. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  20. ^ Hossenfelder, Sabine (1 December 2013). "The Universe in the Rearview Mirror: How Hidden Symmetries Shape Reality". Physics Today. 66 (12): 50. Bibcode:2013PhT....66l..50H. doi:10.1063/PT.3.2217. ISSN 0031-9228.
  21. ^ Hossenfelder, Sabine (26 September 2018). Das hässliche Universum (in German). Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer. p. 67. ISBN 978-3-10-397246-7.
  22. ^ "Sabine Hossenfelder – Youtube". Retrieved 28 September 2023.
  23. ^ "Sabine Hossenfelder [Music Videos] – Youtube". Retrieved 28 September 2023.
  24. ^ Catherine Lantz (reviewer) (1 June 2022). "Existential Physics: A Scientist's Guide to Life's Biggest Questions". Library Journal.
  25. ^ "Do humans have souls? | Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder". YouTube.
  26. ^ "Sabine Hossenfelder".
  27. ^ a b "Freedom from Religion Foundation". 18 September 1980. Retrieved 11 March 2023.
  28. ^ Scherer, Stefan (11 March 2007). "Why I am a physicist: Stefan Scherer". Retrieved 9 January 2024.
  29. ^ "16648 Hossi (1993 SH7)". Small-Body Database Lookup (Solar System Objects). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 7 May 2024.
  30. ^ "WGSBN Bulletin Volume 4, #6" (PDF). International Astronomical Union. Retrieved 13 May 2024.

External links[edit]