25 Years ISSI

A Quarter Century of ISSI – the International Space Science Institute in Bern

In 2020, it has been 25 years since the ISSI was founded in January 1995 by Johannes Geiss and his colleagues and supporters! In January 2020, he sadly passed away. And we were losing the chance of celebrating ISSI’s birthday with him, to which we all had looked forward. Since February, ISSI has been confronted – as much as everybody else – with the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic. The plans that had been made in the fall and winter for celebrating the quarter-century birthday have all become infeasible, even as we were hoping for an improvement of the situation in the fall of the year. Instead infections are rising again, making travel to Bern impossible or impractical for most members of our world-wide community.

Still, many of us have looked back at the past 25 years and have measured and noted ISSI’s success and growth through the years. Starting with a workshop on the heliosphere in the fall of 1995, ISSI has in the meantime organized 88 Workshops, hosted 518 International Teams, 22 Forums and 115 Visiting Scientists. Overall, more than 6000 scientists have visited the institute over the years! To celebrate the anniversary of the first workshop, we plan to have a workshop on the heliosphere in November named after Johannes Geiss. But the attendance to the workshop will have to be via the web for most.

When the ISSI staff discussed the situation as we are entering into the last quarter of this unusual year, it was agreed that we should not let the year pass without some looking back and ahead. We were considering what we could share with the community to allow some fond memories. As a result, we have revisited our guest books (twelve in number altogether) and scanned the best and most memorable entries – although there is admittedly some bias in the final selection. In addition, we have passed to the International Teams an invitation to present in 25-second-videos the subject of their work. 

The ISSI staff along with the directorate are hoping that the best-of-25-years guest book will be enjoyed and that perhaps some fond memories be revitalized. And that our web-site visitors will enjoy the videos provided by the teams, all of which keep working relentlessly although a meeting in person of the full teams is presently unfeasible.