History of the Astronomical Institute of the University of Bern

(Abbreviations: fP = full Professor, aP = adjunct Professor, hP = honorary Professor)


1785: Johann Georg Tralles (1763–1822) becomes Professor of the mathematical, physical and astronomical sciences at the Bernese Academy.

1805: Johann Friedrich Trechsel (1776–1849) becomes Professor for Mathematics and (1812) for Physics at the Bernese Academy, 1834 fP for Mathematics and Physics. Trechsel, a member of the Royal Society of London, becomes famous for the first topographical survey of the Canton of Bern.

1812: Foundation of the first Observatory in Bern by Trechsel defining the origin of the Swiss cartographic coordinate system.

1822: Inauguration of the first Observatory „Urania“ in Bern (so-called „old Observatory Bern“).

1847: Johann Rudolf Wolf (1816–1893) becomes Director of the Observatory. His researches are devoted mainly to sun spots, the sunspot cycle, and the history of astronomy.

1853: Wolf becomes aP for Mathematics and Astronomy. He enlarges the Observatory, hosting an Ertel meridian instrument, with an new dome containing a parallactic mounted 78mm Fraunhofer telescope.

1856: Wilhelm von Beetz (1822–1886) becomes fP for Physics and Astronomy.

1858: Heinrich von Wild (1833–1902) becomes aP and 1862 fP for Physics and Astronomy and enlarges the Observatory building considerably for installing his self-detecting meteorological instruments. Wild transforms the astronomical observatory into a meteorological central station.

1869: Aimé Forster (1843–1926) becomes fP for Physics and Meteorology.

1876: Construction of the Telluric Observatory by Forster, used primary for geophysical research and secondary for astronomical observations.

1880: Georg-Joseph Sidler (1831–1907) becomes aP for Mathematics and Astronomy. As a student of Leverrier, Puiseux, and Faye, Sidler focuses his main interests on celestial mechanics.

1890: Gottlieb Huber (1857–1923) becomes aP for Mathematics, 1900 for theoretical Astronomy, and 1906 fP for Mathematics and theoretical Astronomy, in particular celestial mechanics.

1918: Sigmund Mauderli (1876–1962) becomes aP for practical Astronomy.

1921: Mauderli becomes first fP exclusively for Astronomy. His research concerns the stability of the solar system and the orbit determination of minor planets.

1922: Construction of the Muesmatt Observatory and Foundation of the Astronomical Institute by Mauderli.

1946: Max Schürer (1910–1997) becomes aP and 1949 fP for Astronomy. He combines positional astronomy with satellite geodesy and puts thus the basis for the field of the so-called "fundamental astronomy".

1955: Construction of the Zimmerwald Observatory by Schürer.

1961: Relocation of the Astronomical Institute from the Muesmattstrasse into the Building of the Exact Sciences an der Sidlerstrasse.

at the Sidlerstrasse.

1976: Paul Wild (born 1925) becomes hP and 1980 fP for Astronomy. As assistant of Zwicky at Palomar, Wild's research concerns the search for supernovae and minor planets.

1991: Gerhard Beutler (born 1946) becomes aP and 1996 fP for Astronomy. He enforces the research in celestial mechanics and satellite geodesy gaining international reputation with his results from processing GPS data.

2012: Adrian Jäggi (born 1976) becomes aP for Astronomy. His main field of interest is the determination of the Earth's gravity field using data of so-called Low Earth Orbiters (LEO's).