Job Posting: Postdoctoral Position Opening in the Multi-messenger Astronomy related to CTA

The International Space Science Institute (ISSI) in Bern, Switzerland, invites applications for a

Postdoctoral Position Opening
in the Multi-messenger Astronomy related to CTA

for one year, renewable, ideally starting in January 2024, or to be negotiated. The Postdoctoral Fellow position is within the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) project and in close collaboration with the University of Geneva. The CTA is the next-generation ground-based gamma-ray observatory featuring tens of telescopes located at two sites in both hemispheres. It will allow probing the high energy cosmic ray sources with unprecedented sensitivity and angular resolution, in the energy domain from tens of GeV to hundreds of TeV.

The University of Bern and Geneva group lead the Calibration Pipeline subsystem of the CTA Data Processing and Preservation System (DPPS) and contribute to the development of the Data Quality Pipeline. The DPPS is a software system responsible for the reconstruction, processing, quality monitoring, and preservation of data products of the CTA.

The successful candidate should have received a Ph.D. within the last five years and is expected to work on the development and implementation of the data quality monitoring tools, and related software infrastructure.

Required Qualifications

  • Experience with the Data Quality Monitoring in the domain of (astro)particle physics
  • Strong knowledge of Python
  • Familiarity with version control systems (Git/GitLab)
  • 0Ph.D. in Physics/Astronomy/Computer Science or related discipline

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience with UI design
  • Experience in data analysis in the field of very high-energy gamma-ray astrophysics
  • Experience in web application development

Salary and conditions of employment will be similar to those provided by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF salary ranges). Nationals from ESA Member States are especially encouraged to apply.

Further information may received by contacting Prof. Maurizio Falanga ( or Prof. Teresa Montaruli (

All applications must be received by ISSI no later than January 12, 2024.

Full Job Announcement and Applications >>

Michael R. Meyer has been selected as the Johannes Geiss Fellow 2024

The International Space Science Institute ISSI is proud to announce

Prof. Michael R. Meyer

(University of Michigan, USA) as the Johannes Geiss Fellow 2024.

Michael R. Meyer, Johannes Geiss Fellow 2024

Michael R. Meyer has been a Professor of Astronomy at the University of Michigan since 2016. He was Chair of Star and Planet Formation at the ETH in Zürich (2009-2016) and was formerly a Professor/Astronomer at the Department of Astronomy/Steward Observatory of the University of Arizona (2000-2009). He was a Hubble Fellow at the University of Arizona (1997-2000) and did a post-doc at the Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomie (1995-1997). Prof. Meyer is a world recognized expert in the formation, evolution, and characterisation of planetary systems, and associated implications on the prospects for life in the Universe. He has also been deeply involved in the development of ground- and space-based instrumentation, including both the NIRCam and NIRISS instruments for the James Webb Space Telescope as well as high contrast imaging systems/spectrographs for 6-10 meter telescopes and next generation extremely large telescopes. Prof. Meyer will visit ISSI in the summer of 2024.



The Fellowship is named after Prof. Johannes Geiss, the founder of the institute.


ISSI as an Observer of the Virtual Alpine Observatory (VAO)

The International Space Science Institute is now an associated partner in the research network of the Virtual Alpine Observatory (VAO). The VAO, located in Bavaria, Germany, is operating as a network of European High Altitude Research Stations based in the Alps and similar mountain ranges, and now includes ten countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Georgia, Italy, Norway, Slovenia and Switzerland). In addition, the “International Space Science Institute (ISSI)” is welcomed as a new “observer”. ISSI now supports VAO in this capacity alongside the Alpine Convention and the European Space Agency (ESA). Find more information on the Webpage of the Virtual Alpine Observatory (VAO) >>

Michael Rast, ISSI Earth Science Director, and Michael Krautblattler, VAO Coordinator and Chair of the VAO Board 

Science for a Better World

We have previously expressed ISSI’s concern about the invasion of Ukraine and the resulting humanitarian crisis. The need to maintain science as a platform for dialogue even in times of conflict has become more prominent. As this war continues and other tensions rise around the world, it seems more important than ever to maintain institutions where such peaceful and constructive dialogue can take place. Science is a universal language that knows no geographical or political boundaries, nor boundaries related to race, gender or sexual orientation.

ISSI provides an open and neutral environment where such open and free discussions about Space and Earth Science, and related fields can take place. Dialogue between scientists promotes not only better science, but also a better mutual understanding among people of different origins and cultures. At ISSI we like to think of this as our own small contribution to a better world.

The Team at ISSI and Willy Benz, chair of the Board of Trustees

Rumi Nakamura and Geraint Jones appointed as ISSI Discipline Scientists

ISSI is pleased to announce that Dr. Rumi Nakamura and Prof. Geraint Jones have been appointed as Discipline Scientists as of 1st July 2023. We welcome two outstanding additions to the ISSI Team: Plasma Discipline Scientist Dr. Rumi Nakamura, and Planetary Discipline Scientist Prof. Geraint Jones. Not only Discipline Scientists provide scientific expertise that is complementary to the current ISSI portfolio, but, most important, they are ISSI Ambassadors with their unique communities. As such, they will  channel ideas and develop scientific initiatives that will best  serve their community, while at the same time explore ways to identify how best ISSI can advance  the scientific discourse in their respective fields.


Rumi Nakamura

Rumi Nakamura did her PHD research on “Aurora dynamics and particle injection associated with magnetospheric substorms” at the University Tokyo in Japan. She is currently a group leader at Space Research Institute (IWF), Austrian Academy of Sciences and Lecturer at University of Graz in Austria. Her research interest are space plasma physics; plasma transport and acceleration in the magnetosphere, magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling, solar wind magnetosphere interaction, substorm and storm dynamics.  She participated in a number of ESA and NASA space plasma physics missions such as Cluster, DoubleStar, THEMIS as a Co-Investigator and is currently leading the Active Spacecraft Potential Control (ASPOC) instrument for Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission.




Geraint Jones

Geraint Jones is Professor of Planetary Science at the UCL Department of Space and Climate Physics and is head of MSSL’s Planetary Science Group in the UK. Geraint Jones’ primarily research interests are outer planet systems and cometary science. He has been a member of three different instrument teams on the Cassini-Huygens mission, and is a member of two JUICE teams. His interest in cometary science have concentrated on interactions between comets and the solar wind, as well as modelling the large-scale structure of dust tails. Topics of particular interest include the behaviour of comets near the Sun, and serendipitous comet tail crossings, of which he has found several examples. Geraint led the proposal to ESA for the Comet Interceptor mission to an undiscovered long-period comet. This project adopted by the agency in 2022, and is planned to launch in 2029. He has been appointed as an interdisciplinary scientist on the mission. 


edited by Andrea Fischer

JWST Opens New Scientific and Collaborative Avenues at ISSI

Last July scientists and journalists gathered at ISSI to celebrate the unveiling of the first JWST images and spectra. On this occasion Willy Benz, the new chair of ISSI’s BoT, anticipated that JWST would be an observatory that everyone will want to use. The ISSI community is certainly no exception in this respect, with at least two ISSI International Teams securing JWST observing time this spring.

Among these was ISSI Team #562 “First Light at Cosmic Dawn: Exploiting the James Webb Space Telescope Revolution”, composed of astrophysicists and computer scientists, who are working on one of the core science goals of JWST: finding the first stars and galaxies in the Universe. Discussions on the insights from the initial months of JWST data during their first meeting led Team #562 and their collaborators to submit three proposals that were awarded 153 hours of observing time with three complementary JWST observing modes.

The first survey (GO-4111; PI Wren Suess) titled “Medium bands, Mega Science: Spatially-resolved R~15 spectrophotometry of 50,000 sources at z=0.3-12” is a NIRCam imaging program that leverages the power of medium-band filters combined with cosmological lensing of the Abell2744 cluster/UNCOVER field to efficiently map both stellar continuum and nebular line emission from ionised gas for large, unbiased galaxy samples. By simultaneously probing multiple emission lines the JWST data will measure star formation and dust obscuration and chart the growth of galaxies across >10 Gyrs of cosmic history.

GOODS-S field (NIRCam image) Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, B. Robertson (UC Santa Cruz), B. Johnson (Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian), S. Tacchella (University of Cambridge, M. Rieke (Univ. of Arizona), D. Eisenstein (Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian), A. Pagan (STScI)

The second program obtains spectroscopy with the NIRSpec instrument (GO-4233; PIs de Graaff & Brammer) over existing, public JWST fields: “A complete census of the rare, extreme and red: A NIRCam-selected extragalactic community survey with JWST/NIRSpec”. The main goal is to obtain detailed, spectroscopic information for newly identified galaxies from JWST images to reveal their nature, and doing this at high completeness.

The final program is a combination of the previous two. GO-3516 (PIs Matthee & Naidu) uses slitless spectroscopy at ~3-4 micron over the same galaxy cluster as the first program in order to search for faint, metal-poor emission line sources. The title of this program summarizes its goals: “All the Little Things: Pop III Signatures & the Ionizing Photon Budget of Dwarf Galaxies in the Epoch of Reionization”.

With more than an 8:1 oversubscription rate for proposals in these categories, the successes of ISSI Team #562 are particularly noteworthy. Speaking on behalf of their team members team leaders Pascal Oesch and Michael Maseda highlighted: “The ISSI team meeting was instrumental in putting these successful proposals together, and we are very thankful to the whole ISSI team for providing us with this opportunity.” ISSI is particularly pleased that the first of these three proposals is led by early-career researcher (ECR) Wren Suess, whose participation to the ISSI Team meeting was enabled by ISSI’s dedicated ECR funding line.

Webb NIRCam composite image of Jupiter from three filters – F360M (red), F212N (yellow-green), and F150W2 (cyan) – and alignment due to the planet’s rotation. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Jupiter ERS Team; image processing by Judy Schmidt.

Freshly approved ISSI Team #23-592 “Jupiter’s non-auroral ionosphere” got off to a flying start of its activities with the award of 22 hours with JWST for project GO-3665 (PIs Stallard & Melin). Studying Jupiter’s equatorial ionosphere in more detail with JWST will further the understanding of energy exchange at the top of the atmosphere, by providing improved constraints for ionospheric models. Atmospheric loss occurs only within this upper region, and so characterising the process on Jupiter provides insight into atmospheric erosion and ultimately thresholds the long term evolution of planets both within and outside our own Solar system.

Determining the vertical structure in the ionosphere away from the bright aurora requires a combination of JWST spectral imaging, utilising the NIRSpec instrument’s integral field spectroscopy mode, and spacecraft occultations of the radio signal from Earth. Via JWST project GO-3665, ISSI Team #23-592 plans to measure the ionospheric structure with JWST simultaneously with the first Juno radio occultations of the Jupiter ionosphere on Sep. 7.


In its first year of science operations, JWST has already demonstrated that it is capable of exceeding expectations and making breakthrough observations in many fields of astrophysics.

Looking ahead to the near future, in March 2024 ISSI will organise a workshop on “The chronology of the 1st billion years”. Outlining her expectations for this workshop, ISSI Executive Director and workshop convenor Antonella Nota, says: “JWST was designed to shed (IR) light on what happened in the early stages of the Universe. Now that most observations from the first JWST cycle have been completed, the time is ripe to convene at ISSI all the cosmology experts with early JWST data, to discuss and distill our current understanding of the formation and early evolution of the first stars and galaxies. At ISSI, we felt that this topic was so important that we are dedicating to it our very first Breakthrough Workshop, a workshop that is aimed at addressing one big question in science” Antonella Nota adds: “ISSI is the perfect place to hold such important conversations, by offering a neutral and welcoming environment, and advancing science – one big question at a time.

The ISSI staff look forward to hosting this workshop and to many further exciting JWST results from the ISSI community.

edited by Mark Sargent

Antonella Nota is named as 2023 AAS Fellow

Antonella Nota is named 2023 AAS Fellow for extraordinary scientific leadership and service to the international astronomy community, facilitating a key partnership between NASA and the European Space Agency, and for inspiring and engaging the public with the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope.

Antonella Nota (ISSI Executive Director)

The American Astronomical Society (AAS), a major international organization of professional astronomers, astronomy educators, and amateur astronomers, is honoring 22 members for extraordinary achievement and service by naming them AAS Fellows. They are being recognized for original research and publications, innovative contributions to astronomical techniques or instrumentation, significant contributions to education and public outreach, and noteworthy service to astronomy and to the Society itself. 

The inaugural class of AAS Fellows was named in 2020; those Legacy Fellows included more than 200 Society members, including past recipients of certain awards from the AAS or its topical Divisions, distinguished AAS elected leaders and volunteer committee members, and previously unrecognized individuals with long histories of outstanding research, teaching, mentoring, and service.

Press Release of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) >>

Sandra Chapman has been selected as the Johannes Geiss Fellow 2023

The International Space Science Institute ISSI is proud to announce

Prof. Sandra Chapman

(Physics Department, University of Warwick, United Kingdom) as the Johannes Geiss Fellow 2023.


Sandra Chapman, Johannes Geiss Fellow 2023

Sandra Chapman is primarily but not exclusively a plasma physicist working on non-linear and complex systems in astrophysics and in the laboratory. She is Professor of Physics and Director of the Centre for Fusion, Space and Astrophysics at the University of Warwick and Adjunct Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Tromso. She read Physics on an Exhibition Scholarship to Imperial College, London and her interest in nonlinear systems began with her PhD work (also at Imperial College). Her early work was recognised with the COSPAR Zeldovich Medal (commission D) and the EGS Young Scientists’ Medal. She was selected to give the 2014 Royal Astronomical Society James Dungey Lecture and the 2020 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting Ed Lorenz Lecture, was part of a team awarded a 2021 Lloyd’s of London Science of Risk Prize, and has been awarded the 2022 Royal Astronomical Society Chapman Medal. Sandra was a 2017/18 Fulbright-Lloyd’s of London Scholar, a 2003/4 Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study Harvard and has also been granted Research Fellowships by the Nuffield Foundation and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. She has published over 200 papers in the refereed literature and a textbook on Electrodynamics. She is also an artist who works to bridge the ‘arts- science divide’ and has held a NESTA Dreamtime fellowship – working as an artist with the British Antarctic Survey in Antarctica.



The Fellowship is named after Prof. Johannes Geiss, the founder of the institute.

ISSI had received excellent proposals from top level scientists from which the selection committee chose the ninth JGF recipient after thorough evaluation. The selection committee consisted of the Directors and the Chair of the ISSI Science Committee.

ISSI is honored by the high interest from the science community in the Johannes Geiss Fellowship and would like to deeply thank all applicants.

ESA and ISSI sign an Agreement of Cooperation on December 15, 2022


ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher, Tilman Spohn, ISSI Executive Director, and Maurizio Falanga, ISSI Director (from right to left – first row) signing the cooperation contract in the presence of Giovanni Colangelo, ESA Inspector General, Günther Hasinger, ESA Director of Science, Renato Krpoun, Head of the Swiss Space Office (SSO), and Fabio Favata, ESA Coordinator for Astronomy and Fundamental Physics missions (from right to left – second row). (Photo: Philippe Sebirot)

The agreement of cooperation will foster the multi-disciplinary exploitation of space science and Earth science data from ESA missions to maximize their scientific return. ISSI’s commitment is to advance science by facilitating scientific discourse and offering the broad European and global scientific community a forum for scientific meetings and conferences with the ultimate goal to identify, address and resolve key scientific questions that have major implications for space and Earth science and humanity in general. The ESA support through the three year contract provides increased financial stability for ISSI and is gratefully acknowledged.  

Dr. Antonella Nota has been elected as the new Executive Director of the International Space Science Institute

The Board of Trustees of the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) has elected Dr. Antonella Nota from Baltimore, USA, to head the Institute as its new Executive Director as of January 1, 2023. 

Antonella Nota will succeed Professor Tilman Spohn, who finishes his term as ISSI Executive Director on December 31, 2022. We are grateful to Tilman Spohn who has successfully steered ISSI through the difficult years of the Covid pandemic and has recently led the process of resuming all ISSI scientific activities.

Dr. Antonella Nota

A native of Venice, Italy, Antonella Nota completed her university studies in Astronomy at the University of Padua, Italy. She moved in 1986 to Baltimore, to work at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) with a European Space Agency (ESA) contract. She remained at STScI as ESA staff until her retirement. Over more than three decades, she accumulated a rare experience in the scientific leadership and technical management of space science missions. Among other responsibilities, Antonella Nota was the Head of the ESA Office at STScI, as well as the ESA Project Scientist for both the Hubble and the James Webb Space Telescope, until May 2022, when she retired from ESA. As ESA Project Scientist for these two missions, Antonella Nota was responsible for science policies, interface with the scientific community, and outreach efforts in Europe.

Antonella Nota’s scientific interests are in the areas of stellar evolution, massive stars, and young clusters formation and evolution. She has published more than 200 papers in astronomical journals and conference proceedings. She has a passion for connecting science and art in the effort to broaden public interest in science, and she has collaborated with artists and curators on a number of high-visibility exhibits and grand installations. She has supervised a large number of graduate students and post-docs, and she is a staunch advocate for representation of women and minorities in astronomy. She is a member of several professional astronomical societies, including the American Astronomical Society (AAS), the International Astronomical Union (IAU), and the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere & Arti (IVSLA). In 2022, Antonella Nota received the NASA Exceptional Public Service Medal for her contributions to the international advancement and celebrations of the Hubble Space Telescope.


Georges Meylan

Chair of the Board of Trustees

International Space Science Institute ISSI


Announcement New ISSI Executive Director Antonella Nota (pdf) >>