Space Research & Planetary Sciences Division Web Site

Planetary Imaging Group Web Site

Curriculum Vitae - Nicolas Thomas

Education and Positions

Mar 2003-present: Physikalisches Institut, University of Bern, Professor of Experimental Physics

Oct 1992-Feb 2003: Max-Planck-Institut für Aeronomie (MPAe)           Staff position.

Jul 1991-Aug 1992: Space Science Department /SI, ESTEC, ESA post-doctoral research fellowship.

Sep 1986-Jun 1991: Max-Planck-Institut für Aeronomie (MPAe) Post-doctoral research grant from the Max-Planck- Gesellschaft to work on analysis of data returned by the Halley Multicolour Camera (HMC) on board ESA's spacecraft, Giotto.

Oct 1982-Apr 1986: University of York. DPhil. in the Dept. of Physics.  Thesis entitled "Studies of the Jovian satellite, Io."

Oct 1981-Sep 1982: University of Leicester. MSc. in "Experimental Space Physics" in the Dept. of Physics and Astronomy.

Sep 1978-Jul 1981: The Polytechnic, Wolverhampton BSc. (Hons.) in "Combined Studies".



July 1986: K.M. Stott prize for physics (for the best physics thesis at the University of York in 1986).

July 1992: Joint Russian Academy of Sciences-Space Research Institute/COSPAR Zel'dovich Award for Commission B (Space Studies of the Earth-Moon System, Planets and Small Bodies of the Solar System) in recognition of contributions to planetary and cometary science, in particular the analysis of the Giotto HMC images of Comet Halley.

1997 – present: Various NASA Group Achievement Awards

(Co-)Investigator positions

Principal Investigator for the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) for the European Space Agency's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

Principal Investigator for the Microscope on the Beagle 2 lander package for the European Space Agency’s Mars Express (Lead Scientist: Colin Pillinger).

Co-Principal Investigator for the BepiColombo Laser Altimeter experiment for the European Space Agency’s BepiColombo mission to Mercury (Co-PI: Tilman Spohn)

Co-Investigator for GALA (Ganymede Laser Altimeter) for the European Space Agency’s JUICE mission to Ganymede (PI: Hauke Hussmann)

Co-Investigator for HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter  (PI: Alfred McEwen)

Co-Investigator for OSIRIS (Optical, Spectroscopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System) on Rosetta (PI: H. Sierks)

Deep Space One Science Team member (Lead Scientist: R. Nelson)

Co-Investigator for D-CIXS (Compact imaging X-ray fluorescence spectrometer) on ESA’s SMART 1 mission to the Moon (PI: M. Grande)

Co-Investigator for SIR (Smart 1 infra-red spectrometer experiment) on ESA’s SMART 1 (TI: H.U. Keller)

Co-Investigator for VMC (Venus Monitoring Camera) on ESA’s Venus Express mission (PI: W. Markiewicz)

Co-Investigator for RSI (Radio Science Investigation) analysis of radio signal from Rosetta (PI: M. Pätzold)

Co-Investigator for DISR (Descent Imager/Spectral Radiometer) imager on Huygens probe to Titan (PI: M. Tomasko)

Other positions of interest:

Leader of the Atmospheric Imaging Research Science Operations Group for Mars Pathfinder.

Science advisory group member for ESA’s Mercury Orbiter (BepiColombo) cornerstone, 1996-2003.

Science consultant for ESA’s Exobiology package programme, 1997-9.

International Jupiter Watch Io Plasma Torus Discipline Leader, 1993-1996.

Vice-chairman of COSPAR commission B1 “Small bodies in the Solar System” 1994-1998.

Chairman of COSPAR commission B1 “Small bodies in the Solar System” 1998-2002.

Vice-chairman of COSPAR commission B “Solar System” 2004-2012.

Chairman of SSWG and member of Space Science Advisory Committee (July 2005-December 2009)

Elected Corresponding Member of the International Academy of Astronautics (June 2007)

Member of the Scientific Board of the International Space Sciences Institute (ISSI) 2003-2006.

Chairman of the PRO-ISSI association (

Member of the ISSI Board of Trustees (2011-present)

Planetary Imaging Group Web Site

Space Research & Planetary Sciences Division Web Site