The John Bahcall and the Balzan Fellowships

WIPAC offers two named postdoc fellowships, the John Bahcall Fellowship and the Balzan Fellowship.  Fellowships are awarded for three or five year terms with each fellow receiving a stipend and an independent research budget.
In 2011, WIPAC awarded the first John Bahcall Fellowships for neutrino astronomy. The postdoctoral fellowship program was created to honor the late John Bahcall, a prominent physicist and a founding member of the IceCube experiment, who was known for his innovative work on the physics of the Sun. 
The Balzan Fellowship was created in 2015 when Prof. Francis Halzen received the Balzan prize for astroparticle physics including neutrino and gamma-ray observation.  


Current John Bahcall Fellow


Markus Ahlers received his PhD from the University of Hamburg, Germany, in 2007. Following completion of his degree, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford, UK and the State University of New York in Stony Brook. His research interests cover various aspects of neutrino astronomy.

Ahlers has been working on neutrino production associated with the acceleration and propagation of cosmic rays and gamma rays. The detection of these faint neutrino fluxes is an important test for our understanding of high-energy phenomena in the Universe and one of the main science goals of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory. Ahlers has been a member of the IceCube Collaboration since 2007.


John Bahcall Fellow 2015-2016

Photo of Keith Bechtol

Keith Bechtol received his PhD in 2012 from Stanford University, where he contributed to several efforts aimed at understanding the origin of the extragalactic gamma-ray background. He has been an active member of the Fermi-LAT Collaboration since 2007.

After receiving his PhD, Bechtol worked on the Dark Energy Survey (DES) at the University of Chicago’s Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics. DES is a wide-field optical survey of the Southern Hemisphere. Bechtol and collaborators have identified several new ultrafaint satellite galaxies orbiting the Milky Way, which provide new targets to search for indirect dark matter signals. In 2014, Bechtol deployed to McMurdo station in Antarctica to prepare for the ANITA-III balloon flight. His curent research interests includes indirect dark matter searches, multimessenger constraints on the origin of the IceCube astrophysical neutrino signal, and detecting ultra-high-energy neutrinos via the radio technique. 

John Bahcall Fellow 2011-2014

Photo of Claudio Kopper

Claudio Kopper received his PhD from the University of Erlangen, Germany, in 2010. As a graduate student, he worked on optimizing the layout of the planned KM3NeT neutrino telescope, a task that involved rewriting and updating most of the existing simulation code, studying a new photodetector design and evaluating the detector performance for different possible neutrino sources.

After receiving his PhD, Kopper went to NIKHEF, the National Institute for Subatomic Physics in Amsterdam, to help finalize the design of KM3NeT. This included major contributions to the KM3NeT Technical Design Report concerning the physics potential of the current design of KM3NeT. At NIKHEF, he was also involved in simulations for a low-energy upgrade of IceCube, which is currently in an early planning stage.


Faculty Profiles

WIPAC faculty and students are involved in IceCube, the Askaryan Radio Array (ARA), the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov (HAWC) experiment, Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA), Big Data, and DM-Ice.


In keeping with our vision, we encourage and support visits from researchers who have interests, or who wish to develop interests, in several of our research areas.


The postdoctoral fellowship program was created to honor the late John Bahcall, a prominent physicist and a founding member of the IceCube experiment.  In 2015 the Balzan Fellowship was created after Francis Halzen was awarded the Balzan Prize.