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Joachim Sauer.

Joachim Sauer (born April 19, 1949) is a German quantum chemist, full professor at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He is the husband of the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel.


Scientific career

Sauer studied chemistry from 1967 to 1972 at the Humboldt University of Berlin and was awarded a doctorate in chemistry in 1972. He continued to do research there until 1977 when he joined the Academy of Sciences, Central Institute of Physical Chemistry in Berlin, one of the leading scientific institutes of the former GDR (East Germany).

For a brief time during and after the German reunification (1990-1991) he was the Deputy Technical Director (Catalysis and Sorption) for BIOSYM Technologies, San Diego/USA. He remained an advisor for BIOSYM until 2002.

In 1992 he joined the Max Planck Society as Head of the Quantum Chemistry Group in Berlin. Since 1993 he has been a full professor of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He is an active research scientist in quantum chemistry and computational chemistry.

Personal life

From his previous marriage to a fellow chemist, Sauer has two sons, Daniel and Adrian. On December 30, 1998, he married Angela Merkel (herself a doctor of physics who had once worked in quantum chemistry research), who later became chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union and on November 22, 2005, first female Chancellor of Germany.

Public visibility as husband of Angela Merkel

Sauer (right) with Angela Merkel, George W. Bush and Laura Bush

Due to the political career of his wife Sauer has gained far more public visibility than usual for a research scientist. On several occasions he said he is not fond of this publicity.

During the 2005 election campaign Joachim Sauer kept a very low profile, declining to give any interviews not related to his scientific work. After attending the Bayreuth Festival (an opera festival and a highly visible social event in Germany) with his wife, he was nicknamed "the Phantom of the Opera" by the German press.[1] Prof. Sauer is known as a great lover of Wagner's music.

Even during his wife's election in the Bundestag, her inauguration, and later her taking the oath of office, Sauer was not present but reportedly sitting at home watching the event on TV.[2] This caused something of an uproar in German press reports. The next day Germany's premier tabloid "Bild-Zeitung" displayed the headline "Merkel - wo war ihr Mann?" ("Merkel - where was her husband?")


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