Teaching Outreach About Me

About Me

About Me

I am an assistant scientist (assistant professor equivalent) affiliated with the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. My research focuses on the formation of galaxies in the early universe and the evolution and ultimately death of massive galaxies at later epochs in cosmic time. For details on my research interests, see the Research Overview.

As a Swiss native, I love mountain biking, skiing/snowboarding, and playing (beach) volleyball. Back in Zurich, where I grew up, I was a pool billiards player on national competition level (now just for fun) and also enjoyed flying the Katana DA20 as private pilot. I also spend some time every week playing the piano (classical concerts first and now some Jazz/Blues/Ragtime for fun).

Another hobby of mine is designing webpages. Some of the best running ones are: Observatory of Uitikon, Gerber Media, and the one of my uncle, a professional painter and former teacher. Research webpages include the one of the COSMOS (maintenance only), SPLASH, and ALPINE survey.

Going in hand with my passion of designing, I am co-founder of the IPAC Visualization Group (IViz), a think-tank for advanced data visualization.

Below a short overview of my scientific career so far. For more information, have a look at my short biography, my detailed CV for professionals, my publication list, or just contact me.

Dr. Faisst in front of an image taken by the Spitzer Space Telescope (2019)

Personal Information


Education and Employment

2019 - present
Assistant Scientist/Faculty (assistant professor equivalent) at IPAC at Caltech in Pasadena
2016 - 2019
Post-doctoral researcher at the IPAC at Caltech, Pasadena
2015 - 2016
Visitor in Caltech Astronomy and SNSF post-doctoral fellow at the IPAC at Caltech, Pasadena
2011 - 2015
2006 - 2011
Bachelor and Master studies in physics at ETH Zurich.
(Graduation: 2011, M.sc. Physics, ETH Zurich; Thesis title: "Star-forming Galaxies at Redshifts z~2 and z~4")

Grants, Honors, and Awards

SNSF Early Postdoc Mobility Fellowship Grant
ETH Medal for outstanding M.Sc. thesis at ETH Zurich, Switzerland
M.Sc. in Physics Cum Laude at ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Observing Experience

Near-Infrared spectrograph, 25.5 nights in total.
Confirmation of high redshift galaxies; AGNs at z ~ 3; Metallicity measurements of galaxies at z ~ 3; Star-forming galaxies at z = 2-4; Contribution to the data reduction pipeline.
Optical Spectrograph, 8 nights in total.
Confirmation of high and intermediate redshift galaxies; Rest-frame UV spectroscopy.

Other Professional Activities

I am reviewing articles for presticious astronomy journals (MNRAS, ApJ, A&A, Nature Astronomy) on a regular basis. Moreover, I serve on proposal reviewing committees such as for Hubble and the Canadian Time Allocation Committee (CanTAC).

At Caltech, I was organizer of the Caltech/IPAC Astro Postdoc Mixer, a quarterly science meeting for all postdoctoral researchers in astronomy related fields in Pasadena (including Caltech/Astronomy, Caltech/GPS, Carnegie, JPL). I am resonsible for funding and the selection of science talks. Moreover, I am co-founder of the IPAC Visualization Group (IViz), a think-tank for advanced data visualization in science, for public and scientific outreach. Other duties include being part of local organization committees for conferences as well as holding the weekly Caltech Galaxy Formation astro-ph journal club.

Since December 2017, I am reviewer for NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship (NESSF) program as well as its replacement since 2019, the Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) program. These fellowships provides $45k to supplement graduate student's stipend for a period of up to three years.

Occasionally, I also contribute as science advisor and consultant for The Science and Entertainment Exchange. This program of the National Academy of Science connects entertainment industry professionals with top scientists and engineers to create a synergy between accurate science and engaging storylines in both film and TV programming.

Finally, in Zurich, I was board member of the Astronomische Gesellschaft Urania Zuerich (2010-2015) and the association of non-faculty scientific staff at the physics department of the ETH Zurich (2013-2015).

Outreach Activities and Science Communication

I heavily engage in various astronomy outreach and science communication initiatives and events in Switzerland and California. Some major programs are:

See also my main outreach page and my CV for more details.



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