Born in Hungary and raised in Belgium and Argentina, he received his M.S. in Physics from the National University of Buenos Aires, followed by a Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1972. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton and Cambridge Universities before joining the permanent staff of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany. He has held long term visiting appointments at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; Cambridge University; the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; CalTech; and the Kavli Institute of Theoretical Physics, UCSB. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, External Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and Fellow of the American Physical Society; he has been a co-recipient of the Rossi Prize of the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society, and the First Prize of the Gravity Research Foundation, as well as a recipient of Guggenheim, Royal Society, Smithsonian and NAS/NRC fellowships. He was awarded an Einstein Professorship of the Chinese Academy of Science in 2013.
His main research interests are high energy astrophysics, cosmology and particle astrophysics. He has made significant contributions in the theory of structure formation in the early Universe; the high energy properties of magnetized neutron stars; the physics of gamma-ray bursts; ultra-high energy neutrinos and cosmic rays, and gravitational astrophysics. He is known for the "Mészáros effect" in cosmology, and for his role in the development of the fireball shock model of gamma-ray bursts and the theory of afterglows. Thomson- Reuters ranks his work on gamma-ray bursts as number one by citations and number of papers over the 1999-2009 period. He has written 365+ refereed research articles, three books, 160+ invited review or conference papers, with 31,000+ citations and an H-index of 93. Here is a bibliography, a citation-ranked publication list and a C.V..