Willy Benz is the current director of NCCR PlanetS and Professor for Physics and Astrophysics at the University of Bern, Switzerland. His research is primarily focussed on planets, both inside and outside the Solar System, which he has studied since the mid-1980s in a career that has taken him across the Atlantic to leading astronomy institutions in the United States and back.
Benz has been heavily involved with ESO since the mid-2000s. He previously served as the chair of the Scientific Technical Committee and has been the Swiss Delegate to the ESO Council since 2015. He was a co-investigator for HARPS and is currently involved in ESPRESSO and NIRPS: all world-leading current and future instruments on ESO telescopes. He is also a co-investigator for HIRES (the High Resolution Spectrograph), an instrument currently under study for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope.
Benz succeeds Patrick Roche as the ESO Council President.