Professor Karri Muinonen

Department of Physics

P.O. Box 64 (Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2a)

00014 University of Helsinki

Phone: +358 50 415 5474

Email: karri.muinonen (at)

Curriculum Vitae (Complete), Curriculum Vitae (Short)
List of Publications, and List of Publications in the TUHAT research database of the University of Helsinki


  • Doctor of philosophy, 1990, University of Helsinki, theoretical physics
  • Master of Science, 1986, University of Helsinki, theoretical physics


  • Astronomy, University of Oulu, 1995
  • Space astronomy, University of Helsinki, 1994

Main research and teaching subjects:

  • Light scattering (electromagnetic scattering)
  • Coherent backscattering by complex random media
  • Empirical systems of asteroid magnitudes and polarization phase curves
  • Inversion for asteroid orbits, spins, shapes, and scattering properties
  • X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy of planetary regoliths
  • Advanced courses on light scattering, solar-system dynamics, and inverse methods

Main research accomplishments:

  • Coherent-backscattering and single-scatterer mechanisms for the opposition effect and negative linear polarization of atmosphereless solar-system objects
  • Solution of the statistical inverse problems in asteroid orbit computation for arbitrary numbers and time intervals of observational data
  • Development of the stochastic geometry of the Gaussian random sphere

Most important posts and full-time positions:

  • Professor, University of Helsinki, Department of Physics & National Land Survey, Finnish Geospatial Research Institute FGI: March 1, 2009-
  • Permanent Research Staff Member, Observatory, University of Helsinki: August 2003 – February 28, 2009
  • Academy Research Fellow, Academy of Finland: May 1998 - July 2003
  • Visiting Academy Research Fellow, Astronomical Observatory of Torino: 2001 August 1 - 2002 July 31
  • Director, Observatory, University of Helsinki: September 1999 - December 2000
  • Research Scientist, ABB Corporate Research and University of Helsinki: January - April 1998
  • Special Researcher, University of Helsinki: January 1995 - December 1997
  • Visiting Special Researcher, Astronomical Observatory, Uppsala University: 1997 June 1 - December 31
  • Research Fellow, University of Pisa: January - June 1996, funded by European Commission TMR
  • Permanent Research Staff Member, Observatory, University of Helsinki: 1992 August –
  • Adjunct Scientist, Lowell Observatory: February 1993-
  • NASA Postdoctoral Fellow, Lowell Observatory: September 1990 - January 1993

Organization of international conferences (examples):

  • 2014, host: Chairman of Scientific Organizing Committee, Asteroids, Comets, Meteors, Helsinki, Finland, summer 2014
  • 2010, host: Chairman of Scientific Organizing Committee, 12th Conference on Electromagnetic and Light Scattering by Nonspherical Particles: Theory, Measurements, and Applications, University of Helsinki, Finland, 2010 June 28 -July 2
  • 2011: Vice-Chairman, Program Committee, Physics Days 2011, Helsinki, Finland, spring 2011
  • 2004: Member of International Advisory Committee, The Three-Dimensional Universe with Gaia, Paris, 2004 October 4-7

International prizes and awards:

  • In 2010, Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer (Elsevier) has granted a 50-Year Milestone Award; for the article “Muinonen, K., Nousiainen, T., Fast, P., Lumme, K., and Peltoniemi, J. I. (1996). Light scattering by Gaussian random particles: ray optics approximation. Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer 55, 577-601.” placing it among the four most significant articles in light scattering in the history of the journal.
  • In 1991, asteroid (4665) Muinonen named in recognition of work on coherent backscattering and orbital studies of near-Earth objects.


  • Nordic Walking
  • Badminton
  • Swimming

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