Frank Eisenhauer was born in Augsburg, Germany, in 1968. His father, a logistics manager, died when Eisenhauer was still in elementary school, leaving his mother, a member of the administrative staff at a charity, to raise two sons while also planning (successfully) for them to become the first in her family to receive a university education. In high school Eisenhauer developed an interest in physics, a subject he continued to pursue when he entered higher education. But not until he was a postdoctoral fellow and he found himself working on SINFONI and the galactic center did he realize that experimental astrophysics was to be, as he says, “my lifetime obsession.” He lives with his wife and three children in Munich.
Eisenhauer received his diploma in physics from the Technical University of Munich in 1995 and his doctorate in physics from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in 1998. While pursuing his doctorate, he was a student of Reinhard Genzel at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, an institutional affiliation that he has maintained to this day, first as a postdoctoral research associate, and then, since 2003, as a senior staff scientist. Since 2011, Eisenhauer has also served as Adjunct Teaching Professor at the Technical University of Munich. He has been the principal investigator of both the SINFONI and GRAVITY instruments since 2003 and 2005, respectively.
Among the honors that Eisenhauer has received are the Tycho Brahe Medal of the European Astronomical Society for his leadership of the SINFONI and GRAVITY instruments, the Stern-Gerlach Medal of the German Physical Society for his pioneering work in high-resolution infrared astronomy, and the Jackson-Gwilt Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society for the development of astronomical instrumentation. He has also been elected to the French Academy of Sciences. Eisenhauer has published more than 390 articles, which have received more than 18,000 citations.