Brief CV

  • Born 27.5.1944 in Zurich, Switzerland.

  • Undergraduate and graduate studies at Universite of Zurich, PhD in 1972.

  • 1973-1976 Postdoctoral Fellowship of Swiss National Science Foundation at L-DGO of Columbia University NY and WHOI MA.

  • Assist.-Full Prof. UCSD 1976-1985); 1976-1985 Assistant to Full Professor at SIO of University of California San Diego.

  • 1985-2009 Professor at ETH und UZH. Author (as Hans R. Thierstein) of about 80 scientific publications. Numerous engagements in scientific organizations (Swiss Academy of Sciences, Swiss National Science Foundation, Editorial Boards, Prorector ETH, etc.)

  • Besides professional and family obligations only occasional artistic activities and craftmanship.

  • Distictions:

    • Prize of the Brandenberger Foundation 1998 (for “Creative research and engagement in transdisciplinary environmental research”)

    • Membership in Leopoldina

  • Since 2009 my main focus has been on art projects as shown on the previous pages.

Exhibitions and Events

  • Villa Seerose, Horgen: Vielfalt am Zürichsee, 13.10.2018-21.10.2018

  • La Rencontre - Science meets Art at ETH Zürich, 22.4.2018-2.5.2018

  • Kronen-Galerie, Froschaugasse 3, Zürich: Quatroskopien, 21.2.2018-25.10.2018

  • openArt 2017, Roveredo: Portrait-Quatroskop, Schwebender Würfel, openArt-Spiegelung, 29.7.2017-8.10.2017

  • kleinopenArt, Bickwil und Ottenbach: Spiegelsonnenuhren, Roter Schwebender Würfel, 10.12.2016-26.2.2017

  • openArt 2016, Roveredo: Holz-Spiegelsonnenuhr, Schwebender Würfel, openArt-Spiegelei, 30.7.2016-9.10.2016

  • dada-Spiegelei beim Café Rathaus am Limmatquai Zürich, 26.6.2016-29.6.2016.

  • Oberriedner Bilderdialog, Kulturkreis Oberrieden, Gemeindehaus Oberrieden, 15.1.2016-30.6.2016

  • Spiegel-Sonnenuhr, Alter Botanischer Garten Zürich, 15.8.2015-15.10.2015

  • Orchestersonnenuhr an SCIENCECOMM’14, KKLB, Beromünster, 16.9.2014-20.9.2014

  • Sonnenuhren vor Landgasthof Halbinsel Au, 22.6.2014 – 27.9.2014

  • Kulturkreis Oberrieden, GAWO-Foyer, 22.11.2013-1.12.2013

  • Spiegelung des Oberriedner Sterns an Kirchturm Oberrieden, Juli-Dezember 2012


  • Zürichsee-Zeitung, 13.8.2012: Wochengespräch: Von den Mikroben wechselte er zu Spiegeln.

  • Thalwiler-Anzeiger, 13.7.2012: Oberriedner Stern am Kirchturm.

  • Zürichsee-Zeitung, 8.9.2015, Seite 29: Wenn Stundenzahlen gespiegelt werden.

My Philosophy

     As a professional scientist I spent my life working at the limits of available knowledge and attempted to move it towards the unknown. This involved identifying relevant research questions and developing new methods to address them. This was a very rational process based on hypotheses, examinations, tests for reproducibility and interpretations of the results. My long involvement in such endeavours is likely to to have left its traces in my mind.

     After my retirement from academia I seized the opportunity to focus my attention on a different field - the arts. Although many journalists and experts have argued that all good music has probably been composed, sculptures crafted and paintings painted. I therefore have concentrated again on the limits of available accomplishments. When I have an idea for an art project, I first check whether anything similar has been tried already. If so, I abandon the idea. If not, I pursue it. I also get most excited, when art is characterised by aspects of surprise and is also presented in an attractive and pleasant form. My attempts towards these goals are documented on the previous pages. 

     The latest project, the multimirror, built as a square tunnel of mirrors, shows repeated reflections, in four directions, of an object placed at one end of the tunnel, when observed from the other end. When applied to any image, the real surprise, however, is the emergence of fantastic patterns in these ensembles of repeated reflections, particularly when observed from some distance. I succeeded in showing that such patterns can be observed in ensembles of images of sculptures (e.g. Nana-angel by Niki de Saint Phalle, 1997), paintings (e.g. an excerpt from Der Kuss by Gustav Klimt, 1908), monuments (e.g. Eiffel-Tower), animals (e.g. Linx), sports (e.g. Roger Federer, 2015), or geological maps. Producing such multimirror graphs gets me similarly excited, as formerly the observation of features, developing analytical methods and gaining insights in the scientific realm.

For more, contact me at