Gravitation and Astrophysics

Jetzer Group

Welcome to the Gravitation and Astrophysics Group

irchel overview

Our research focuses on gravitational wave astronomy, gravitational lensing and tests of Albert Einstein's General Relativity (GR). Although, General Relativity is a very successful theory in explaining observations of the Universe both on the large scale and on the solar system scale, many open questions remain. Our theoretical work investigates how to best detect deviations from general relativity with current and planned missions, which could serve as a motivation to formulate a general theory that unifies all fundamental forces of nature.

We are involved with several international research projects:

We are part of the physics institute of University of Zurich UZH. Our offices are located at the beautiful Irchel campus in Zurich and can be found in the building 36 on the K floor. (directions)


  • ACES Workshop
    Irchel campus, Zurich – 29/30 June 2017

    Workshop on fundamental and applied science with clocks and cold atoms in space
  • 11th International LISA Symposium
    The eleventh International LISA Symposium jointly organized by ETH Zurich and University of Zurich took place at the Irchel Campus of University of Zurich, Switzerland September 5 – 9, 2016.
  • Research Topics

    Gravitational Waves - eLISA

    gravitational waves

    Gravitational waves (GW) are tiny ripples in the fabric of spacetime traveling at the speed of light. They were predicted by Einstein in 1916 as a consequence of his theory of General Relativity. For a long time, there was only indirect evidence for the existence of GW (e.g. Hulse-Taylor binary). In 2016 however, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) collaboration annouced the groundbreaking first ground based direct detection of GW, one hundred years after Einsteins work and resulted in a Nobel prize in 2017. The evolved Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (eLISA) is a proposed European Space Agency mission designed to directly observe and accurately measure those waves, caused by energetic events in the universe like merging massive black holes, extreme mass ratio inspirals and binaries of compact stars in our Galaxy. Unlike any other radiation, GW can pass unhindered by intervening mass. Detection of gravitational waves will thus add a new sense to scientists' perception of the universe and enable them to listen to a world that is invisible with light.

    Testing General Relativity - STE-QUEST

    STE quest

    The Space- Time Explorer and QUantum Equivalence Principle Space Test (STE-QUEST) is a candidate mission for a M launch opportunity in ESA's Cosmic Vision programme. The mission is designed to answer a range of questions in fundamental physics by performing precision measurements with high accuracy atomic sensors. In particular, STE-QUEST would test Einstein's Equivalence Principle, which underpins the theory of General Relativity; explore the boundaries with the quantum world; and search for new fundamental constituents and interactions in the Universe.

    Gravitational Lensing

    einstein ring

    Gravitational Lensing is the astronomical effect of the distortion of light by masses, explained by Einstein's General Relativity. The light of a source astronomical object (like stars, quasars or galaxies) is passing though the gravitational field of a second object in the line of sight, the gravitational lens. In the gravitational field, light rays get delayed and change direction such that their position is shifted on the observers sky. Additionally, the resulting image can be magnified, distorted or even multiplied. On one side, these lenses can be used to study objects far away. On the other side, the analysis of the effects on the images allow to determine the gravitational field, and thus to determine the total mass of the lens object (including dark matter).


    Prof Philippe Jetzer

    ph. jetzer

    University of Zurich
    Winterthurerstr. 190
    8057 Zurich

    Office: Y36-K82
    Tel: +41 44 635 5819
    Fax: +41 44 635 5704

    Group Members

    Dr. Maria Haney


    Office: Y36-K34
    Phone: +41 44 63 55804

    Dr. Wako Ishibashi


    Office: Y36-K32
    Phone: +41 44 63 55807

    Yannick Bötzel


    Office: Y36-K32
    Phone: +41 44 63 55807

    Lionel Philippoz


    Office: Y36-K32
    Phone: +41 44 63 55807

    LISA engineer

    Jan Ten Pierick


    Homepage | eMail
    Office: NO F19
    Phone: +41 44 633 6932

    Academic Guests

    Dr. Pierre Mandrin


    Homepage | eMail

    Dr. Jianfeng Su


    Office: Y36-K32
    Phone: +41 44 63 55807

    Former Members

    Dr. Simone Balmelli


    Dr. Ruxandra Bondarescu



    Dr. Lorenzo De Vittori


    Dr. Cedric Huwyler


    Dr. Rafael Küng


    Homepage | eMail

    Sarah Racz



    Dr. Andreas Schärer


    Homepage | eMail

    For Students

    Lecture Notes

    Bachelor / Master Thesis

    If you like our research areas and want to contribute, we'd be exited to hear from you!
    Whether you have your own idea, or want to contribute to a running project, just drop us a mail or come by in one of our offices in Y36-K floor for a discussion.

    PhD / PostDoc Positions

    For up to date information of available positions please consult the graduate school and the jobs portal of the physics institute or contact us directly.