Prof. em. Dr. Dr. h.c. Felicitas PAUSS

Professor for Experimental Particle Physics at the Swiss Federal
Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), Switzerland

Felicitas Pauss

Felicitas Pauss obtained her PhD in theoretical physics and mathematics (summa cum laude) at the University of Graz (Austria) in 1976. Subsequently she took up a position at the Max Planck Institute in Munich (Germany), where she moved to the field of experimental particle physics. She continued her research at Cornell University (USA) and CERN (Geneva, Switzerland) before being elected professor at ETH Zurich in 1993, where she directed the Institute for Particle Physics from 1997 till 2007. From January 2009 till March 2013 she was in charge of CERN’s International Relations. In April 2013, she resumed her activities at ETH and took up the function of adviser to the ETH president on international affairs. In June 2013, she was elected president of the Lecturers’ Conference of ETH Zurich, a position she held until retirement. From 2014 till 2019 she was first vice-president and then president a.i. of the Foundation Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Besides lecturing at the undergraduate and graduate level at ETH Zurich, her research activities concentrated on two main research fields: particle physics at the high-energy frontier and astroparticle physics, addressing fundamental open questions about the structure of the Universe and the underlying mechanisms that govern its evolution.

Felicitas Pauss has been member of the CMS collaboration at CERN’s Hadron Collider (LHC) since the early 1990’s and fulfilled important management duties in CMS, one of the two large experiments at the LHC. She has strongly contributed to the design and construction of the CMS experiment, focusing on all aspects of the crystal calorimeter. After having participated in the discovery of the W and Z Bosons in 1983 (UA1 Collaboration, Nobel Prize in physics in 1984 to Carlo Rubbia, spokesperson of UA1), another highlight in her career was the discovery of the Higgs Boson with CMS in 2012. This discovery was recognised as important experimental input for the 2013 Nobel Prize in physics.

In 2003, Felicitas Pauss started a new field of research at ETH Zurich: the detection of very high-energy gamma rays from galactic and extragalactic sources with the Cherenkov telescope MAGIC (in La Palma, Spain). In addition, her group successfully operated a novel camera concept based on Silicon Photomultipliers (SiPMs) with associated readout electronics for the first time in 2011 (FACT). This success had an important impact on the design of future telescopes for the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), the next generation of very high-energy gamma-ray observatories.

By April 2021, Felicitas Pauss has published about 1’500 scientific papers (INSPIRES), resulting in more than 170’000 citations (h-index = 182); she is co-author of 37 renowned papers (more than 500 citation, with 5 papers more than 2500 citations). Felicitas Pauss gave more than 470 talks at international conferences, colloquia and seminars as well as talks for government officials, funding agencies and the general public.

Felicitas Pauss has served on numerous national and international scientific advisory boards as well as in evaluation panels. She received different honours, including the "Grand Decoration of Honour" of the Federal Province of Styria (Austria), the “Cross of Honour for Science and Art, First Class” of the Republic of Austria, obtained the Erna Hamburger Prize of the EPFL-WISH foundation and the Richard E. Ernst Gold Medal at ETH Zurich. She received the Doctor Honoris Causa degree of the Technical University Vienna (Austria) and is elected member of the German Academy of Science Leopoldina, and of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.

April 2021

Publication list (INSPIRE)