Institute for Theoretical Physics

News and Events

News archive

(December 2018) Towards the end of the year

ITP hosted the traditional Xmas Fondue on Tuesday December 18, welcoming about 55 guests. This year's speciality was a slightly anticipated birthday celebration for Uwe-Jens Wiese, who received a bottle of 1958 Bordeaux as a present. In addition to congratulating Uwe-Jens for reaching a milestone, we wish relaxing holidays and a Happy 2019 to all our friends and colleagues!

(November 2018) Einstein lectures, graduate course, SwissMAP/GeNeZiSS meeting

November brings along a busy program of activities at the ITP. On November 12-14, the Nobel laureate Barry Barish visits Bern, in order to deliver this year's Einstein lectures; more information can be found here. Starting on November 27, Jay Armas offers a graduate course on the modern understanding of the dynamics of surfaces. On November 30, we host yet another SwissMAP/GeNeZiSS meeting, specifially the "New Postdocs Day 2018".

(October 2018) Happy 80th

On October 12, Heiri Leutwyler, a member of the ITP since the 1960s and one of the founding fathers of Quantum Chromodynamics and Chiral Perturbation Theory, turned 80. Best wishes for the birthday!

(October 2018) Several new postdocs at AEC/ITP

Several new postdocs have started at the ITP this fall: Andrew Gasbarro, Hongliang Jiang, Thomas Rauh, Gabriele Tartaglino-Mazzucchelli, and Tuomas Tenkanen. Hopefully everyone has a good time in Bern!

(October 2018) Conference at the ECT* in Trento

On Oct 1-5, David Schaich co-organizes the workshop "Interdisciplinary approach to QCD-like composite dark matter" at the ECT* in Trento. More information can be found here.

(September 2018) Fall semester starts

The fall semester kicks off on September 17. Once again two graduate courses will be offered. The first one, by Massimo Passera on Precision Electroweak Physics, starts at 10am on Tuesday September 25, in lecture hall B1. Some more information about the contents of these lectures can be found here.

(August 2018) Work well done

At the end of July, Gilberto Colangelo finished his 4-year tenure as the Dean of the Faculty of Science. He now takes a well-earned sabbatical, including extended stays in Paris and Kyoto. Many thanks to Gilberto for an efficient and fair handling of this challenging task.

(July 2018) AEC/ITP postdoc obtains permanent position

Germano Nardini, who has been a postdoc in Bern since 2015, leaves us at the end of July, in order to take up a permanent professorship in the growing cosmology group at Stavanger University, in Norway. We thank Germano for his contributions, and wish him good luck with the upcoming challenges.

(June 2018) Upcoming conference

Final preparations are under way for a 3-day conference on "Supersymmetric theories, dualities and deformations", to take place at AEC premises on July 16-18, 2018. An illustrious list of speakers is expected to participate in this event, organized by Susanne Reffert, Antonio Amariti, and Domenico Orlando. The program and more details can be found here.

(May 2018) Several important events

On Tuesday May 15, starting at 5pm in the lecture hall 099, Juan Maldacena is awarded the Einstein Medal for 2018. On this occasion he delivers a public lecture on "Quantum mechanics and the geometry of spacetime". On Wednesday May 23, a "Women in HEP day" takes place at the Kuppelraum of the University main building. More information, including the program, can be found here. On May 21-24, David Schaich co-organizes a workshop on "Numerical approaches to holography, quantum gravity and cosmology", at the Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics in Edinburgh, Scotland. More information on this event, sponsored by the AEC, can be found here.

(April 2018) Graduate course, highlighted article

This semester's second graduate course, by Gilberto Colangelo on Low energy effective theories of QCD, kicks off on Tuesday Apr 17 at 2:15pm in lecture hall 119. On the side of research, a recent paper co-authored by one of the ITP postdocs, Florian Hebenstreit, was selected as one of the highlights of 2017 by the New Journal of Physics. A link can be found here , under Atomic, molecular and optical physics.

(April 2018) SwissMAP/GeNeZiss meeting in Bern

The meeting of the Swiss String Theory community returns to Bern on April 27. Talks take place in the seminar room 119 of the ExWi building. Some more details can be found here.

(March 2018) Visitors at AEC/ITP

Since a couple of years the AEC maintains a formalized visitor program, which brings dozens of scientists for short or longer research stays to Bern. In addition to the AEC visitor program, there are also guests funded by various Swiss or European grants. As an example, this March we have the pleasure to host Debasish Banerjee, Karim Benakli, Martin Beneke, Chrysoula Markou, Subodh Patil, Mariano Quiros and Peter Stoffer for visits of a duration from a few days up to two months.

(March 2018) Remembering Hawking

As Stephen Hawking passed away on March 14, television crews sought opinions also from the ITP. Matthias Blau appeared in the "10 vor 10" and Susanne Reffert in the "Schweiz aktuell" broadcast of the national channel SRF1, and Susanne additionally in the news bulletin of the local channel TeleBärn.

(February 2018) Spring semester starts

The spring semester 2018 starts on February 19, and lasts until May 31. As
usual we offer two Graduate Courses suitable for a broad audience, from the
advanced Master level to PhD students and postdocs. The first course, by Urs
Wenger on Phase Transitions and Critical Phenomena, takes off on Tuesday Feb
27 at 2:15pm in lecture hall 119.

(January 2018) Physik am Freitag

The yearly outreach series "Physik am Freitag" of the Department of Physics and Astronomy kicks off on Friday January 19 (at 16:30 in lecture hall 099), with a presentation by Urs Wenger on the mass of the proton, on the weight of Universe, and other related matters. The remaining presentations are by our experimental colleagues. There are in total 5 talks this year, on a level suitable for high school students and the general public.

(December 2017) Xmas Fondue

ITP celebrated the traditional Xmas Fondue on Thursday December 14, in the presence of more than 50 guests. In addition to the usual culinary joys and happy reunions with our alumni, the dinner should remain in memory because of a unique Ukrainian music performance as well as spectacular lightning over the city of Bern. We thank once again Thomas Becher and Christoph Greub for the organization, and wish all the participants, as well as other friends of the ITP, a relaxing holiday season and best wishes for a productive New Year 2018!

(November 2017) Several new postdocs at ITP

In the recent months, several new postdoctoral fellows have started their
tenures at the ITP: Franziska Hagelstein, Adrian Lewandowski, Keita Nii,
Debajyoti Sarkar, Christoph Wiegand.  Two further ones, Ahmad Zein Assi and
João Barros, start in January. The interests of the postdocs vary
from low-energy hadronic interactions and collider physics all the way to
supersymmetry and string theory. Hopefully everyone has a productive and
pleasent stay in Bern!

(October 2017) Good success in the latest SNSF round

In the latest round of Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) decisions,
which were released a few weeks ago, all AEC/ITP applicants got their grants
fully or partly funded (Ignatios Antoniadis, Gilberto Colangelo, Christoph
Greub, Urs Wenger). The grants will support several postdoctoral and PhD
student positions within the next 3-4 years.

(September 2017)  AEC/ITP contribution to "Nacht der Forschung"

On September 16, from 4pm until midnight, the University of Bern
organizes its main outreach event. Both parts of the AEC are present,
with a contribution called the "Dance of the particles", consisting of
demonstrations in a tent in front of the university main building and
of oral presentations in the lecture hall 201 of the main building.
Tabletop experiments, numerical simulations, theoretical wisdom,
and dance performances, are equally on offer. 

(August 2017) New Ambizione Grantee at ITP

One of the current ITP postdocs, Dr. Jacobo Ruiz de Elvira, has won
a prestigious 4-year Ambizione grant of the Swiss National Science Foundation.
The topic of his project is "Dispersive techniques for light meson
interactions and spectroscopy". The work is scheduled to start
in coming November. 

(July 2017) Part of ITP moves to new premises

As a consequence of rearrangements following the acquisition of
the old SBB headquarters by the University of Bern, a part of the ITP
recently relocated to new offices at Gesellschaftsstrasse 2, just
above the university Mensa. This helps to concentrate our offices
into two areas instead of the previous four. A discussion area and
a seminar room close to our premises hopefully encourage active

(June 2017) LISA experiment approved by ESA

An age-old dream is one step closer to being realized, as ESA has approved
the LISA trio of satellites to detect gravitational waves from space
as a large-class mission in its Science program. In the wake of the
LIGO gravitational wave discovery and the successful LISA Pathfinder
mission, gravitational wave astronomy is enjoying considerable
tailwind at the moment. The LISA launch is expected to take place
in 2028-2034. The ITP is represented in the LISA scientific
collaboration by a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Germano Nardini, who
acts as one of the coordinators of the LISA cosmology working group.

(May 2017) AEC plenary meeting

The biyearly AEC plenary meeting took place on Wednesday May 24, 2017,
in the Kuppelraum of the University main building. A full day of talks,
by PhD students, postdocs, and professors alike, complemented by an
invited presentation by Simone Bifani (U. Birmingham, UK)
on potential B physics anomalies recently observed at the LHCb,
was concluded with a lively apero in late afternoon. 

(January 2017) Three AEC postdocs obtain permanent positions in Italy

Two current ITP postdocs, Antonio Amariti and Domenico Orlando, have
obtained prestigious INFN positions in Italy in the very competitive
last round.  Towards the end of 2017, Dr. Amariti will join an INFN
section in Milano and Dr. Orlando the INFN section at U. Torino. From
our neighbouring LHEP, Alberto Cervelli obtained a similar position on
the experimental side, and will join the INFN section in Bologna.