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Physicist and TV host Philip Häusser:

Cosmic rays in the living room

Working on his doctoral thesis on artificial intelligence at the TUM’s Department of Computer Vision since 2014: TV presenter Philip Häusser. (Photo: Uli Benz)
Working on his doctoral thesis on artificial intelligence at the TUM’s Department of Computer Vision since 2014: TV presenter Philip Häusser. (Photo: Uli Benz)
If you run across Philip Häusser at TUM, you might have the feeling of knowing him from somewhere. From television? The young TV host has his own series in “Galileo” (ProSieben), called “High Speed Heros”. In everyday life, Häusser is a doctoral student at the TUM’s Department of Computer Vision in Garching. In a studinews-interview, he talks about his “double life”.

Philip, how did you get into television?

Philip Häusser: My career started early, but with radio at first. When I was seven, I went to an event for the listeners of the SWR radio in Tübingen – and was invited to visit the broadcast studio during the summer vacation. Later, I started a school radio and did a few radio shows at a free channel in Tübingen with some friends of mine. Later, during my civilian service, I ended up at the SWR in Baden-Baden. I worked the night shift in a retirement home, so I was able to work as a part-time radio host as well. That’s how I got to know the SWR, where I discovered that TV might be something for me.

You were the ARD’s youngest television presenter – how come that worked out so quickly?

After my time at the SWR, I moved to Munich to study Physics at the LMU. But I still wanted to get more involved in television, so I tried to find an agency for TV hosts. Mostly, I got rejected – but then, finally, it worked out: I was able to do a show on EinsPlus, a digital channel belonging to the ARD, and more and more projects followed.

You are currently working towards your doctoral degree at TUM. Are you more a TV host or a scientist?

I was very happy with my choice of studies and working towards my doctoral degree is fun, too. I must admit that I am a bit proud of both – so I can’t really decide between the two. For me, it’s important to be seen as both. If someone introduces me as a TV host, I always say “Wait a minute, there’s also my second life at the university!” … and vice versa.

Also, there is a connection.

Yes, I agree. I am really glad that I can combine both worlds in my projects. In the scope of Galileo, for example, we do experiments that I present and explain from a scientific point of view. Currently, I have a YouTube channel on which I present math tutorials. A new TV format with ZDF was launched on February 3, featuring the astrophysicist Harald Lesch and myself. There I’ll be presenting experiments such as “cosmic rays in the living room”.

How do you manage to balance it all?

My doctoral supervisor is very understanding, and allows the “side job” on TV. I can schedule my working hours quite freely, as long as I don’t let things slide at the chair. It is a challenge to balance it all, but my agency provides support as well – and thanks to adequate project management, it all works out somehow.

Where do you see yourself later in life?

It would be cool if I could continue my “double life”. I definitely see myself in the tech sector and I might be tempted to found a startup. For the future, I hope that I will be able to establish my own TV format – my “baby”, so to say. I want to turn people’s attention to science, by means of science.

Do you focus on a specific area?

No. Biology, Chemistry, Physics … that’s not so important for me. Currently, I’m writing a book in which I present exciting scientific knowledge: how to build a night vision device from an old digital camera, for example. People need to stay curious and I would like to inspire them to do so.

(Interview: Sabrina Czechofsky)

Philip Häusser, 27, is originally from Tübingen. A teacher sparked his enthusiasm for physics. After two years at the SWR in Baden-Baden, Häusser went to Munich for his studies. After his Bachelor’s degree at the LMU, he complete his Master’s degree in California. When he returned, he worked as a TV host for the ARD, RTL and ProSieben. Since 2014, he has been working on his doctoral thesis on artificial intelligence at the TUM’s Department of Computer Vision. In the lectures, students mostly don’t recognize him. “Probably, computer scientists don’t watch TV a lot.”

More information:
Terra X Lesch & Co.

Terra X Lesch & Co.: A new TV-format (ZDF) featuring Harald Lesch (r.) and Philip Häusser. (Photo: obs/ZDF/ZDF/Benedict Baldrian)
Terra X Lesch & Co.: A new TV-format (ZDF) featuring Harald Lesch (r.) and Philip Häusser. (Photo: obs/ZDF/ZDF/Benedict Baldrian)
At the shooting of “Terra X”, a large team ensures that the experiments run smoothly (Photo: Stefan Busse/ZDF)
At the shooting of “Terra X”, a large team ensures that the experiments run smoothly (Photo: Stefan Busse/ZDF)
Taking a plunge: Philip Häusser and his stuntman-colleague Igor Tjumenzev (rear). (Photo: Miriam Kornhass/ProSieben)
Taking a plunge: Philip Häusser and his stuntman-colleague Igor Tjumenzev (rear). (Photo: Miriam Kornhass/ProSieben)
In “GR!PS Biologie” (ARD-alpha), Philip Häusser explains the effects of sports on the bloodstream. (Photo: Katharina Putz/BR)
In “GR!PS Biologie” (ARD-alpha), Philip Häusser explains the effects of sports on the bloodstream. (Photo: Katharina Putz/BR)
Sometimes, Philip Häusser likes to explain the physics of things like roller coasters in self-experimentation. (Photo: BR)
Sometimes, Philip Häusser likes to explain the physics of things like roller coasters in self-experimentation. (Photo: BR)
Getting to the point with formulae in the knowledge-format “GR!PS Physics” (ARD-alpha). (Photo: Katharina Putz/BR)
Getting to the point with formulae in the knowledge-format “GR!PS Physics” (ARD-alpha). (Photo: Katharina Putz/BR)

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