Johanna Stachel studied chemistry and physics at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany, and the ETH Zurich. She received her doctorate in Physics at Mainz in 1982. After her PhD, she spent a postdoctorate at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook and became a member of its faculty already in 1984. From 1993-1996 she was a Full Professor at SUNY. She was appointed to her present position of Full Professor of Physics at the University of Heidelberg in 1996, where she is the Chair of the Institute for Experimental Physics.
Her current research focuses on understanding relativistic heavy-ion collisions, quark-gluon plasma, the phenomenology of high-energy nuclear collisions, and detectors for particle physics experiments. Johanna Stachel has been instrumental in high-energy physics experiments at CERN. Among her contributions, she was spokesperson of the Super Proton Synchrotron CERES / NA45 experiment, and she directed the development of the ALICE transition radiation detector at the Large Hadron Collider.
From 2012 to 2014, Professor Stachel served as the first female President of the Germany Physical Society. She was honored with its Stern-Gerlach-Medal in 2019. Johanna Stachel also received a large number of further honours and awards, among them a Presidential Young Investigator Award 1988, the Lise Meitner Prize of the European Physical Society 2014 and the Honorary Membership of the famous “Physikalischer Verein Frankfurt” 2014. She is a Fellow of the American Physical Society since 1997 and a member of the German National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, the Academia Europaea, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy and the Heidelberg Academy. She was awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1999 and received its First Class Medal in 2021.