From the Desk of the ISSI Executive Director

Dear Colleagues,

with 2023 winding down, it is time to reflect on the accomplishments and challenges of this year.

We are saddened to watch a world that is now riddled with conflicts.At ISSI, we take solace in the realization that science remains the great unifier, the common language that you all speak, when you visit our institution. Science does not know national barriers or frontiers, because all scientists share the same desire to pursue knowledge, to understand the Universe, whether it is by studying our beautiful planet, or the mysteries of our Sun, or observing the furthest galaxies.

ISSI’s mission is stronger than ever, and we are eager to continue playing our small role in making this world a better and more peaceful place. The number of scientists we welcomed at ISSI this year has exceeded pre-pandemic levels, and the request to visit is growing. There is a sense of joy in gathering in a neutral and welcoming environment just to focus on compelling scientific questions, unincumbered by daily duties, in beautiful Bern. We hear this from our visitors all the time, how much they enjoy spending time at ISSI, discussing and debating, moving science forward. After less than one year in this job as Executive Director, I still marvel at the feeling of fulfillment that comes from hearing the happy chatter in the hallways, from seeing the smiles of diverse groups of people working together, with intent.

As we look at the future, I am delighted to share some news that I believe will help us serving you, our community, even better. First, we have acquired a small amount of additional space on the fourth floor that will allow for an expanded office and conference footprint. There will be more space for informal discussions and gatherings. Also in 2024, we will be starting new activities in the areas of Exoplanets/Astrobiology, and we will augment our presence in Earth observations with focus on climate change, a topic that is of great interest to us all both as scientists and as citizens of this planet. We are also going to place a bigger emphasis on communicating the amazing science you all do when you visit. A completely redesigned website will do that by giving prominence to science news and easier access to all the valuable initiatives that ISSI offers. Finally, we will explore how to make our activities sustainable. Stay tuned to learn more about all of this in the next few months.

In conclusion, I would like to offer much appreciation to the wonderful ISSI staff, who are dedicated and committed to making your visits pleasant and successful.

And to you all, my best wishes for wonderful festive holidays and a healthy, happy and peaceful New Year.

Antonella Nota

Executive Director