Top researcher Çiğdem İşsever to become Leading Scientist at DESY

Elementary particle physicist also becomes professor at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Prof. Dr. Çiğdem İşsever. Credit: University of Oxford

From Oxford to Berlin: Çiğdem İşsever , internationally renowned particle physicist, will become Leading Scientist at DESY in Zeuthen and Professor of Experimental High-Energy Physics at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Until recently, she was a professor at the University of Oxford. She will take up her post in Berlin at the beginning of August, researching the self-coupling of the Higgs boson and new elementary particles interacting with the Higgs boson. İşsever holds an ERC Advanced Grant from the European Union that supports established top researchers with up to 2.5 million euros over five years in realising new, groundbreaking approaches in their research.

Çiğdem İşsever, who has been conducting research at the ATLAS experiment at the European particle physics lab CERN in Geneva since 2004, is working on current, central challenges in elementary particle physics. These include studying the Higgs mechanism – which gives mass to the elementary particles – with the help of Higgs pair production at CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and searching for clues to the nature of Dark Matter, of which there must be about five times as much as ordinary matter in our universe. The discovery of the Higgs boson in the year 2012 opened up new ways of detecting the interaction between Dark Matter and ordinary matter.

“I am looking forward to the new challenges and to working with Berlin and Brandenburg researchers. The international location of Berlin and the close cooperation between HU and DESY offer excellent framework conditions for my research,” said İşsever. “In addition, I would like to use my international contacts to initiate new programmes for students and young scientists in particular.”

İşsevers Career began at the University of Dortmund, with a degree in physics and a PhD in natural sciences. This was followed by postdoctoral positions at DESY in Hamburg and at the University of California, Santa Barbara. From 2004 to 2019 she taught and researched at the University of Oxford, holding a professorship for elementary particle physics since 2014, headed the physics department and taught at Lincoln College in Oxford since 2015. She was also the head of the Particle Physics Outreach Committee at Oxford, where she worked with schools on the Building the ATLAS Detector in Minecraft project.

“Çiğdem İşsever is not only a proven expert in her field, she is also very committed to sharing her research with the public,” emphasised Helmut Dosch, Chairman of the DESY Board of Directors. “We are very pleased that we have succeeded in a joint initiative of the Helmholtz Association, Humboldt-Universität and DESY in bringing this top-class scientist to Germany.” The Helmholtz Recruitment Initiative to attract top international scientists played an important role in the transfer of İşsevers from the UK to Germany.

“With her expertise, Ms. İşsever enriches the focus on elementary particle physics at the Institute of Physics, which has a large breadth, covering the all essential trends of current high-energy physics and represents a unique feature of the HU in the Berlin-Brandenburg area,” said HU President Sabine Kunst.