Program Overview

Plenary Session

Nine plenary talks will be adressing latest advancements in different research fields.

  • Gino Isidori, Uni Zürich: Hints of New Physics from flavour-changing processes
  • Beat Jeckelmann, METAS: The revised International System of Units: A new foundation for all measures
  • Ursula Keller, ETH Zürich: Transient electric-field-driven dynamics in condensed matter: from Terahertz to Petahertz
  • Almut Kirchner, Prognos AG, Berlin: The Transformation of the Energy System – Challenges and how to meet them
  • Tim Luce, ITER Organisation: ITER - An Essential Step Toward Fusion Energy
  • Nicola Marzari, EPFL: Computational design and discovery of novel materials
  • Tilman Pfau, Universität Stuttgart: Rydberg Gases in Thermal Vapor Cells
  • Christoph Schär, ETH Zürich: The Physics of Greenhouse Gases (tentative title)
  • Wild Card Talk: Latest results from the LHC

Furthermore a public lecture and a film presentation are scheduled on two evenings:

  • Maurice Bourquin, Uni Genève: Thorium-Based Systems - A new concept for nuclear waste elimination and energy production
  • Film: Let there be light (siehe Kasten)

Let there be light, a film on the quest for fusion

This documentary film is in the form of interviews with physicists and engineers, either from the big international project ITER under construction in the south of France and involving many partner countries, or other smaller projects mainly in the United States. Directed by two Canadian filmmakers, Mila Aungh-Thwin and Van Royko, it follows researchers in their everyday lives. Thus, it not only shows us large experimental facilities while recalling important milestones of the history of fusion, but it also leads us to the heart of what motivates researchers to dedicate their lives to see the realization of fusion energy. There is a good balance between science and social in this film, which was one of the top 10 Canadian films in 2017. A solid introduction to the subject and a useful update on the state of play for those already familiar with the work as well as for a broad audience.

Topical Sessions

The following parallel sessions will be scheduled:

  • Advanced Electronic-Structure Developments and Applications *
  • Advances in Topological Materials *
  • Applied Physics and Plasma Physics
  • Atomic Physics and Quantum Photonics
  • Biophysics, Medical Physics and Soft Matter
  • Condensed Matter Physics (KOND)
  • Earth, Atmosphere and Environmental Physics
  • History of Physics
  • Magnetism and Spintronics at the Nanoscale
  • Nuclear, Particle- & Astrophysics (TASK)
  • Physics Beyond University
  • SwissFEL – recent advances and future opportunities
  • Theoretical Physics

* organised by NCCR MARVEL

Dependent on the number and contents of the contributed papers, each topical session will be split into special thematic subsessions.

CHIPP will have its internal, non-scientific meeting on Tuesday afternoon, while the scientific contributions will be placed in the TASK sessions.

Poster Session

The poster session will be scheduled on 2 days, starting on 29 August in the evening in the frame of an apéro, and being continued with a lunch buffet on 30 August.

It is expected that all posters are put up and being presented on both session days.

The three most outstanding posters will be awarded with a "Best poster prize". Additionally to the above requirement, the first author of the poster must be personally present at the conference in order to qualify for the selection. The awards will be given in a small ceremony on Friday.

The maximum poster size is A0 (portrait).

Award Ceremony

As every year outstanding scientific works will be honoured with the SPS awards, in the respective fields of General Physics (sponsored by ABB Research Center), Condensed Matter Physics (sponsored by IBM Zürich Research Laboratory), Applied Physics (sponsored by OC Oerlikon), Metrology (sponsored by METAS) and in Computational Physics (sponsored by COMSOL). Each award is granted with CHF 5000.-.

Roland Horisberger, winner of the Charpak-Ritz Award 2018, sponsored by the Société Française de Physique (SFP) and the SPS, will be honored at the SFP conference in Grenoble, just before ours, on 27 August. He will be giving an award talk at both conferences.

CHIPP and the Swiss Society for Neutron Scattering will also award their respective winners.

The award ceremony will be held on 29 August in the morning.

General Assembly

The general assembly is scheduled for 28 August. The agenda will be published in the SPS Communications No. 55. We encourage all members to actively participate and contact the committee if special points of interest should be discussed at the assembly.


Industrial Exhibition

An exhibition with scientific devices, equipment, software and literature will be organized in parallel to the sessions. An invitation letter has been mailed to interested companies. If your company would like to join the exhibition, but did not receive the letter by the end of March, please contact the SPS Secretariat.


Conference Dinner

A conference dinner is scheduled for the evening of 30 August in the "Casino Morges". You can select the dinner during the normal registration procedure. The price is CHF 80.- (incl. bus transfer, apéro, 3-course meal, drinks).


Additional information for selected sessions

Theoretical Physics

The session on Theoretical Physics at the annual meeting 2018 will put a special emphasis on Computational Physics, still welcoming contributions from all venues of theoretical physics. The aim is to present the most important developments in the field brought forward by researchers having links to Switzerland, and do so in a way that is largely accessible to all physicists.

Contact: Gian Michele Graf


Physics Beyond University

Most Master or PhD students and PostDocs are only exposed to academic career models during their studies. Yet the majority of physicists actually later work in non-academic positions. The section “Physics in Industry” will present a session centred on showcasing physicists careers and job-roles that reflect the variety of pathways that are open with a physics degree. Invited speakers will describe their career development and how important their physics education was in its course. Is it the generalist, specialist or practitioner skills that make them successful?
If you have studied physics, work in an industry, start-up company or other non-academic profession and would like to share your view on why a physics education is important in your position or company, please submit your contribution before the abstract submission deadline.

Contact: Andreas Fuhrer, Thilo Stöferle


Condensed Matter (KOND)

The condensed matter section of the Swiss Physical Society encourages submission of abstracts to all related focussed sessions (see below). Further topics in Condensed Matter Physics e.g. magnetism, superconductivity, semiconductors, among others will be covered by the regular KOND program.

Contact: Laura J. Heyderman


Magnetism and Spintronics at the Nanoscale

With this focus session we would like to highlight recent advances in the fabrication, measurement and control of novel functionalities in spintronic and nanomagnetic systems. We aim to bring together experimentalists and theoreticians from Switzerland and the neighbouring countries exploring magnetic properties in thin films, interfaces, and nanostructures. Harald Brune (EPFL) and Rolf Allenspach (IBM Zurich) will give invited presentations in this session.

Contact: Claire Donnelly, Jizhai Cui, Laura J. Heyderman


SwissFEL – recent advances and future opportunities

In the last ten years, X-ray science has had an impressive growth and many developments were made due to the introduction of X-ray Free Electron Laser light sources and their unique photon properties. In comparison to synchrotron storage rings, XFELs have brought a significant improvement in time resolution (i.e. typical pulse widths below 100 fs), with an impressive increase in photon flux per pulse by several orders of magnitude.
The new XFEL facility at PSI, SwissFEL, delivers femtosecond photon pulses of spatially coherent X-rays in the wavelength range 0.1 to 7 nm (180 eV to 12.4 keV), with extremely high peak brightness. The first experiments performed in 2017 mark the beginning of the ultrafast X-ray science capabilities at this facility for the scientific community.
This session will be dedicated to present the most recent achievements in ultrafast X-ray science in selected research fields including condensed matter physics, materials science, chemistry, molecular physics, and non-linear x-ray science.

Contact: Luc Patthey, Christoph Bostedt, Majed Chergui, Henrik Lemke, Chris Milne


Advanced Electronic-Structure Developments and Applications (organised by the NCCR MARVEL)

This session aims at highlighting recent advances in the computational study of the properties of real materials with particular emphasis on the description of the electronic structure through advanced methods, both as far as methodological developments and applications are concerned.
We aim at bringing together computational researchers active in various fields, such as materials for batteries, halide perovskites and other materials for photovoltaics, functional oxides, electrochemical interfaces & catalysis, metal organic frameworks, two-dimensional materials, solid-state ion conductors, and others. Two invited speakers are confirmed: Giacomo Miceli (EPFL) and Wei Chen (Louvain-La-Neuve).

Contact: Alfredo Pasquarello


Advances in Topological Materials (organised by the NCCR MARVEL)

The objective of this session is to provide an account of recent advances in materials realizing topological electronic phases (topological insulators, Dirac and Weyl semimetals, etc.). The session intends to gather both the theorists working on the subject as well as experimental researchers studying various aspects of these emerging materials (materials synthesis, photoemission spectroscopy, transport measurements). Alexey Soluyanov (ETHZ) and Ming Shi (PSI) will give invited talks.

Contact: Oleg Yazyev