Michael Wiescher received his PhD in Physics in Munster, Germany. He held research positions at Ohio State University, Caltech, and the University of Mainz, Germany before he joined 1986 the faculty of the University of Notre Dame. His research is focused on nuclear astrophysics studying the origin of elements in our Universe and the nature of nuclear processes in stars and stellar explosions. He is the Freimann Chair of Physics and Director of the Institute for Structure and Nuclear Astrophysics, a university research center and accelerator laboratory. He is also Director of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, a Physics Frontier Center of the National Science Foundation between Notre Dame, the University of Chicago, and Michigan State University as well as a number of other national and international research institutions.
While Wiescher heads a large research group with a number of graduate and undergraduate students. Over the years he has taught a large number of graduate and undergraduate courses. He is particularly interested in communicating science goals and concepts to non science students since a basic knowledge of science and and understanding of the role of science in society is important in today's world. In this spirit Wiescher revitalized and developed a number of interdisciplinary courses to attract non-physics major students and to pass this message to Notre Dame undergraduate students. These courses include Physics in Medicine, Physics Method in Art and Archaeology, and Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Warfare. For this effort Wiescher received the 2007 Joyce Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. He presently plans to develop a course on the Physics of Global Warming.