Jahresbericht 2022 für

Plattform Mathematik, Astronomie und Physik

Präsident/Präsidentin: Ernst Meyer

Von: Marc Türler, marc.tuerler@scnat.ch


2022 was a particularly active and fruitful year for the Platform MAP. Not only did all its usual activities restart thanks to the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, but also new projects could be launched.

The year started with the reactivation of the Swiss Commission for Astronomy (SCFA) after many years without meetings and the urgent task to finish the Astronony Roadmap for research infrastructures. Thanks to the strong involvement of the two new Presidium members, Corinne Charbonnel and Philippe Jetzer, the roadmap could be successfully completed and published on 31 March 2022.

The main highlight of 2022 was the festive event to mark the end of the more than a century old Euler Committee following the publication of the last printed book of the Opera Omnia by the famous mathematician Leonhard Euler (1707–1783). A symposium took place on this occasion at the University of Basel on 28-29 October 2022.

A second highlight was the organisation of a first Young Faculty Meeting (YFM) of the Platform MAP, which took place on 6 September 2022 and attracted around 20 enthusiastic participants at the Generationenhaus in Bern.

A third highlight was the publication of the SCNAT factsheet “Physics in Switzerland – driving economy, triggering innovation, empowering citizens”. It is based on the SPS Focus II magazine on the “Impact of Physics on Swiss Society” and was released shortly afterwards.

Bruno Colbois will succeed to Marc Troyanov in the MAP Presidium starting in 2023.


The Astronomy Roadmap completes the series of four Roadmaps for research infrastructures 2025–2028 of the Platform MAP and was finally published a year after the three others on 31st March 2022 in the series Swiss Academies Reports.

An SCNAT factsheet has been published in October 2022 entitled “Physics in Switzerland – driving economy, triggering innovation, empowering citizens” prepared in tight collaboration with the Swiss Physical Society (SPS) to present the main results of the SPS Focus 2 magazine on “Impact of Physics on Swiss Society”.

The Swiss Committee on Space Research (CSR) published in summer 2022 its biennial report “Space Research in Switzerland 2020—2022” to the international Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) in the series “Swiss Academies Communications”.

The Platform MAP supports its member societies for their own publications. These are the international journals Astronomy & Astrophysics and “Elemente der Mathematik”, plus three communication tools of member societies: the SPS Communications, SSS-Bulletin, and the SSCr Newsletter.

Conférences, cours

The symposium “EULER–BERNOULLI: yesterday – today – tomorrow: A milestone in the Euler-Bernoulli editions” took place in Basel on 28-29 October 2022. It was jointly organised by the Bernoulli-Euler Gesellschaft (BEG) and the Platform MAP. The attendance was good on Friday late afternoon with very positive statements from the University of Basel, SNSF and SCNAT and an excellent scientific talk. After a nice dinner, the event continued on Saturday with talks in the morning on the more than 100-years history of the Euler Committee and the edition of the Euler works and letters, while a symposium closed the event in the afternoon.

The Platform MAP supported the symposium “100 Years of Nobel Prize for Albert Einstein” held in Bern on 9 April 2022 and organised jointly by the Albert Einstein Gesellschaft and the SPS.

The SPS organised at EPFL on 8 October 2022 a symposium for the 100 years of the birth of Rudolf Clausius. It was linked with the Young Talent Day 2022 supported by SCNAT.

The Platform MAP does not organise its own school, but supports the schools of its member organisations, such as the Saas-Fee Course in astronomy, the CHIPP PhD Winter School alternating with the Zuoz summer school, or the Zurich School of Crystallography.

Activités internationales

The usual meetings of the Round Table "Swiss Representation in International Organisations and Research Infrastructures" (RoTIORI) were resumed in 2022. The meeting of January was completely virtual per videoconference, while the second in November was in person. The international activities of the community are very healthy despite the pandemic, but there are worries for the future linked to the non-association of Switzerland to Horizon Europe. This already led to the exclusion of Switzerland from the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) and will be the subject of an SCNAT press release to be released on 4 January 2023.

Discussions between the RoTIORI Chair, Hans Rudolf Ott, and the Royal Society continued in 2022 in view of the organisation of a UK-Switzerland Bilateral International Meeting (BIM) in 2023.

Encouragement de la relève

The Prix Schläfli 2022 in Physics was awarded to Natasha Tomm (Uni Basel) for her outstanding PhD work to develop a source of individual photons. The ceremony took place in June as part of the SPS Annual Meeting.

The first MAP Young Faculty Meeting (YFM) was successfully held on 6 September 2022. After a round of presentations and three scientific talks, the afternoon was devoted to a workshop on leadership to gain confidence in handling conflicts in various hierarchical situations.

The portraits of women in science in the fields of MAP continued in early 2022 to finish the series of 12 portraits of researchers. The MAP Presidium discussed whether and how to continue the series and wishes to start a new one in 2023 with more emphasis on the videos and showing women scientists who have left academia and now use their skills in various jobs at the service of society. The aim is still to encourage young women to start and pursue an academic career.

The Prix de Quervain of the MAP Jungfraujoch commission (SKHFJ) was awarded to Julie Pasquier, to Andrea Baccarini, and to Jens Terhaar for three different works enabling a better comprehension of the polar climate system.

The Platform MAP supports many projects by member societies for the promotion of young scientists. A dedicated webpage reports PhD prizes, events and other news on the topic, including press releases on Science Olympiads.

Activités de coordination et d'informations visant à renforcer la science

Two MAP Plenum meetings with the representatives of the MAP member organisations were held in April and October 2022 in hybrid format. The scientific talks were given by Prof. Louise Harra (PMOD, ETHZ) on the Solar Orbiter space mission and by Prof. Silvio Decurtins (Uni. Bern) on 100 years of research on the Jungfraujoch.

The MAP Presidium held four meetings in 2022: in June only per video and the three others in hybrid format.  Besides the usual activities and decisions, the Presidium discussed the evolution of the SNSF funding (see next section).

A new Swiss Quantum Commission (SQC) has been created to implement the Swiss Quantum Initiative to strengthen research and development in quantum technology and science. The commission is to be part of the Platform MAP in 2023 and its membership was approved by the SCNAT Executive Board on 28 October 2022.

A statement on the draft document on the Swiss Space Policy 2023 was sent to SERI on 5 December 2022. This informal statement summarizes the remarks of the CSR and two other commissions of the Platform Geosciences: the Swiss Commission on Remote Sensing (SCRS) and the Swiss Geodetic Commission (SGC).

Détection avancée

The Platform MAP discussed at Presidium, Plenum and Round Table meetings issues related to the SNSF funding. This was triggered by the presentations and the discussion held in June at the annual meeting of the SPS. As presented there by Bernd Gotsmann, President of the Research Council of the SNSF Division II, the total project funding in Div. II stayed relatively constant in recent years, but the proportion of funded projects has decreased from about 50% in 2016 to 30% at present. It suggests that projects are now either funded in full or not at all. This is a change from previous practice when projects were much more often partially funded. This change puts many research groups in a difficult situation. A second issue, somehow related, is the need to have some guaranties of long-term funding before engaging in the development of instruments as part of big international collaborations, such as in particle physics and in space and ground astronomy. The third issue is the announced suppression by 2025 of the SNSF R’Equip funding, which funds up to 50% of lab infrastructures in a competitive manner. The three issues were brought to the attention of the SCNAT Executive Board in December 2022.

Dialogue avec la société

The Presidium had an ambitious project to launch an exhibition on Math, Art and Philosophy (MAP). Marc Troyanov convened two hybrid meetings in May and June 2022 with around 20 people, both mathematicians and artists from Switzerland and other European countries. Despite general interest, there was not enough time and consensus on concrete ideas to submit an SNSF/Agora proposal in October.
The German version of the SCNAT thematic portal on Astronomy could be completed and is almost ready for public release in January 2023.

The website of the Platform MAP and the File “Physics and Astronomy” under “SCNAT knowledge” announces most of the events and activities of the Platform and of its member organisations. The SCNAT web portal is attracting one by one the member societies to migrate their website. In 2022, the BEG migrated, while the SPS and the Swiss Society for Astrophysics and Astronomy (SSAA) took the decision to do so in 2023.

The Platform MAP is still a national node of the International Day of Light (IDL, May 16). The Einstein symposium (see above) was one of the Swiss events in 2022.