University of Bern Internationals


My international journey by Kevin Heng

Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University
A three-year fellowship took Kevin Heng to the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University (Image: Christine Corbett)

"I grew up in Singapore and studied Physics and Maths there. I was then determined to go to the United States for my graduate education. So, 18 applications later, I ended up in Colorado, in a completely foreign country to me, where I did my Masters and PhD.

In the last year of my PhD, I met my wife, who was there on an exchange from Germany. To my credit, I saw her as my future wife about a month after we met! I then followed her to Munich where I did a post-doc. We married in Germany because that made it much easier for her to join me when I took up my next position.

This was a three-year fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) at Princeton University. Most of the thinking behind my science and the way I operate was established at Princeton. I brought a lot of the philosophy of science and management with me from the IAS to the University of Bern.

After two years at the ETH Zurich, I came to the University of Bern in 2013, was tenured in 2015 - which was nice - and became director of the Center for Space and Habitability in 2016."


Me and my work

Professor Kevin Heng is working on answering one of the bigger questions of our time: Is there life elsewhere in the universe?