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31.5.2020 : 17:29 : +0200

Curriculum Vitæ - Christian Mätzler

Born on 16 March 1945 in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, Opens window for sending emailChristian Mätzler visited public schools in Burgdorf and Aarau. Diploma in physics with and minors in mathematics and geography at the University of Bern (1970), and PhD in solar radio astronomy (1974). After post-doctoral work at NASA-GSFC in Maryland and at ETH in Zurich he returned to the Institute of Applied Physics (IAP) at the University of Bern as a research-group leader for terrestrial and atmospheric remote sensing (1978 - 2010). He got the Habilitation (venia docendi) in applied physics with emphasis on remote sensing methods in 1986 and Titular Professor in 1992, which was renamed to Associate Professor in 2008. He retired from the University in mid 2010. Then he joined Gamma Remote Sensing as a part-time consultant.


Private issues

Christian's father was a pastor of the Methodist church, and his mother was a nurse. He grew up in their family together with one older and two younger sisters. In 1970 he married Helene Kohli. Their son, Urs, was born in 1972 and their daughter, Eva, in 1975. Since 1979 the family has lived in Moosseedorf where Christian has been active in community politics, especially in topics related to the environment and sustainable energy. He was a member of the Moossee Gospel Singers from 1991 to 2012. Since 2011 he has been contributing to the documentation archiving group of Moosseedorf. Christian's hobbies include photography and investigating the phenomenon of hair ice that occasionally grows in nearby forests. He has enjoyed collaborating in this field with colleagues in Switzerland and abroad.

Chronological listing

Oct. 1965: Start of the professional education at the University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland

July 1970: Physics diploma, Faculty of Sciences, University of Bern

Jan 1974: PhD in solar radio astronomy, Faculty of Sciences, University of Bern

1974-76: Solar Physics Group leader at IAP, University of Bern

1976-77: Postdoctoral fellowship in high-energy astrophysics at NASA-GSFC 1976-77

1977-78: Post doctoral researcher in radio astronomy group at ETH, Zürich

1979-94: Project Group Leader of the Terrestrial Remote Sensing Group at the Microwave Division of IAP (headed by Erwin Schanda)

April 1986: Habilitation in applied physics, University of Bern

April 1992: Titularprofessor in applied physics, University of Bern

1994- 2010: Project Group Leader, Environmental Radiometry, Microwave Division, IAP

(Head: Niklaus Kämpfer,

Since 2011: Part-time work with Gamma Remote Sensing, Gümligen, Switzerland

Major collaborations and leaves since 1978


Active and passive microwave signature studies for the development of remote sensing of snow properties at the Snow and Avalanche Research Institute, Weissfluhjoch, Davos (Walter Good), collaborations with University of Innsbruck (Helmut Rott, Armin Denoth), Helsinki University of Technology (Martti Tiuri) and ESA.

Sep.-Oct. 1979

Norwegian Marginal Ice Zone Experiment (NORSEX) in the Arctic Ocean with radiometers on the Norwegian R.V. Polarsirkel (Ola Johannessen, René Ramseier).

June-July 1983

Marginal Ice Zone Experiment (MIZEX) in the Arctic Ocean with radiometers on the German R.V. Polarstern (Ernst Augstein, Einar Svendsen, Tom Grenfell).


Active and passive microwave signature studies for remote sensing of soil and vegetation, interaction of vegetation and microwave radiation (collaboration with Swiss PTT). Feasibility study of electromagnetic weed control (Bundesamt für Umwelt, Wald und Landschaft, Bundesamt für Verkehr, and Swiss Railways).


Development of microwave emission models of snowpacks, collaboration with ESA (Josef Noll), and Helsinki Univ. of Technology (Martti Hallikainen).

Mar-Aug. 1996

Sabbatical at the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder CO (Richard Armstrong) and Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, Seattle, WA (Dale Winebrenner).


Participation in meteorological COST actions (712, 716, 720) to develop and promote microwave remote sensing methods for meteorology in Europe.

Since 2000

L-Band radiometry: SMOS science advisor. Development of ELBARA. Collaboration with ETHZ and WSL (Hannes Flühler, Mike Schwank, Manfred Stähli) signature studies and model development.

Since 2001

Atmospheric water studies with Niklaus Kämpfer (STARTWAVE, NCCR Climate), collaboration with MeteoSwiss, PMOD/WRC Davos, SwissTopo.


Auditor meteorological measurement network: SwissMetNet of MeteoSwiss.

Nov. 2004

Visiting scientist at LERMA, Observatoire de Paris, France (Catherine Prigent).


Setup of the atmospheric observatory in Zimmerwald for surface-based remote sensing, together with Niklaus Kämpfer.

Since 2011

Snow studies within ESA projects in collaboration with the SLF, Davos (Martin Schneebeli), and with the Finnish Meteorological Institute.

Awards and Highlights

2007 Microwave Prize of the IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society (MTT-S) for the paper: Thomas Lüthi and Christian Mätzler, Stereoscopic Passive Millimeter-Wave Imaging and Ranging, IEEE Trans. Microwave Theory and Techniques, Vo. 53, No. 8, August 2005, pp. 2594 - 2599.

A highlight in 2006 was the publication of a textbook on microwave radiometry: C. Mätzler, (Ed.), Thermal Microwave Radiation - Applications for Remote Sensing, IET Electromagnetic Waves Series 52, London, UK (2006).