A word from the ISSI Executive Director

Dear friends of ISSI,
Dear visitors of our web page,

As you are certainly aware, the COVID-19 crisis is ongoing and although some of the lockdown measures are being lifted or at least alleviated, life is far from having returned to normal. This applies to ISSI as well. Even more, as an international Institute of Advanced Studies, ISSI depends on borders being open and scientists being able to travel!

Of course, we have been considering how we could take better advantage of the chances that working from remote and telecommunication are offering. ISSI committee meetings have been web meetings for two months and will continue for the coming weeks. The Johannes Geiss Fellowship selection has been done remotely, keeping the schedule. As you may have already seen on our web page we have able to select two outstanding scientists, an astronomer and an oceanographer working on Global Change. You are invited to read interviews with the two fellowsthat will be published on the web in the next few days. ISSI’s science committee is presently evaluating the proposals for International Teams using remote services and the directorate will announce the successful projects in time. ISSI will further improve its technological readiness for tele-meetings by installing hardware that will allow scientists from remote to better follow the discussion in the meeting room.

Conveners of workshops and forums that were originally scheduled to occur in May to August have been offered the opportunity to use telepresence rather than postpone their events. To date, all meeting conveners have emphasized the importance of face-to-face discussion and have decided that they would rather postpone to the fall or next spring. This includes the Venus workshop, the workshop on Strong Gravitational Lensing and that on Magnetic Reconnection as well as the Forum on Ground and Space Astronomy. However, we are committed to have the workshop on the Geophysics of the Deep Earth occurring as the first Workshop after the lockdown. Of, course, it is entirely possible that we will see the first team meeting before that and possibly the first team meeting that will be using remote services. ISSI is committed to provide its service as well as it possibly can and will open as soon as the Swiss authorities allow and as soon as is considered reasonable and safe. Given what is known today, it is likely that certain measures of precaution will be necessary but we are ready to implement what is needed to continue. We are committed to keeping the damage to the program at the lowest possible level!

In the meantime, I hope that you and your loved ones stay safe. You can reach us per email or over the phone at the institute.

Our thoughts and sympathies continue to be with those all over the world hit by COVID 19!

Stay safe and hope to meet you all in person at ISSI sometime soon!

Tilman Spohn

ISSI executive Director