About James Whitby

Nationality: dual UK/Swiss citizenship

Age: 54

Work experience:

April 2011 to date Managing Director of Amanuensis GmbH

2007 to 2015   Scientist at Empa (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research) in the Laboratory for Mechanics of Materials and Nanostructures;  (between 50% and 100% positions). Responsible for research activities, proposal writing, management of EU and KTI funded projects, communication with industrial partners.

2007-2010 Project Manager at Tofwerk AG (45% position). Responsible for managing participation in EU and national grants, and for executing applied research and development (novel ion sources for mass spectrometry).

2001-2007 Senior Research Associate at the University of Bern (Switzerland), Space and Planetary Sciences Department. Development of instrumentation for laboratory and deep-space applications in planetary science (miniature laser ionisation mass spectrometer, bidirectional reflectance distribution measuring instrument, laser altimeter). Co-applicant on SNF grants totalling over 900 kCHF.

1994-2001 Research Associate at the University of Manchester (UK), Earth Sciences Department. Research into the origins of the solar system using resonance ionisation mass spectrometry to determine xenon isotope ratios in meteorites (and thus the age of their parent bodies).


1991-1994 University of Sheffield, UK. Award of Ph. D. from the chemistry department, funded by GE Lighting (experimental measurements on low pressure plasma light sources using Raman spectroscopy, backed up by numerical modelling).

1987-1991 University of Southampton. Honours degrees (B. Sc.) in mathematics and chemistry. Two full year projects were undertaken as part of the chemistry degree course, one using software written by myself to model crystal growth, the other using  third party software to understand results from chemical weapons sensors.


Languages: English (native speaker), German (Goethe-Zertifikat CEFR C1, grade ‘good’ )

Communication: I have undertaken small group teaching for both university students and adult education classes in the UK and have taught introductory physics classes in German in Switzerland. I have some experience of radio and television interviews, as well as experience of preparing academic publications and research proposals.

Technical skills: Design, use, and maintenance of optical and mass spectrometric instruments and vacuum systems (including safe use of high voltages, class IV lasers, ionising radiation and chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid). Computer programming in C/Pascal/Fortran/Python.

Management skills: IPMA Certified Project Management Associate (valid until 2022)


2000 Certificate from Guinness World Records for the ‘discovery of the most ancient water in the universe’

1996 Award for a poster presentation on ‘a study of xenon isotopes in a Martian meteorite using the RELAX ultrasensitive mass spectrometer’ at the Eighth International Symposium on Resonance Ionization Spectroscopy and its Applications (Pennsylvania, USA).

Membership of professional bodies:

Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry (holder of chartered chemist status)

Member of the Institute of Physics

Member of the Swiss Project Management Association

Peer reviewed publications:

2015 ‘A Glow Discharge Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (GD-TOFMS) study of the ‘hydrogen effect’ using copper, iron and titanium cathode’ S Mushtaq, E B M Steers, J A Whitby, P Horvath, J Michler and J C Pickering, Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 2015, DOI: 10.1039/C5JA00112A

2014   ‘Design and performance of two orthogonal extraction time-of-flight secondary ion mad spectrometers for focused ion beam instruments’ D Alberts, L von Werra, F Westlund, U Rohner, M Hohl, J Michler and J A Whitby Instrumentation Science and Technology 42(4) DOI: 10.1080/10739149.2013.878843

2012   ‘High Spatial Resolution Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry for the Masses: a Novel Orthogonal ToF FIB-SIMS Instrument with in situ AFM’ J A Whitby, F Oestlund, Peter H, M Gabureac, J Riesterer, I Utke, M Hohl, L Sedlacek, J Jiruse, V Friedli, M Bechelany, and J Michler Advances in Materials Science and Engineering Article ID 180437, 13 pages.

2011 ‘The role of oxygen in analytical glow discharges: GD-OES and GD-ToF-MS studies’ S Mushtaq, J C Pickering, E B M Steers, P Horvath, J A Whitby and J Michler Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry 26 pp1746-1755.

2010   ‘Self-consistent modelling of Mercury’s exosphere by sputtering, micro-meteorite impact and photon-stimulated desorption’ P Wurz, J A Whitby, U Rohner, J A Martín-Fernández, H Lammer and C Kolb Planetary and Space Science 58(12) pp1599-1616.

2010    ‘Detection of negative ions in glow discharge mass spectrometry for analysis of solid specimens’ S Canulescu, I S Molchan, C Tauziede, A Tempez, J A Whitby, G E Thompson, P Skeldon, P Chapon and J Michler Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 396(8) pp2871-2879.

2009  ‘18O/16O isotopic separation in anodic tantala films by glow discharge time-of-flight mass spectrometry’ A Tempez, S Canulescu, I S MolchanM DöbeliJ A Whitby, L LoboJ MichlerG E ThompsonN BordelP ChaponP SkeldonI DelfantiN Tuccitto and A Licciardello Surface and Interface Analysis 41(12-13) pp966-973.

2009 ‘Potential applications of negative ions from a pulsed radio-frequency discharge in argon’ S Canulescu, J Whitby, K Fuhrer, M Hohl, M Gonin, T Horvath and J Michler Journal of  Analytical Atomic Spectrometry 24 pp178-180.

2009 ‘Development and fundamental investigation of Laser Ablation Glow Discharge Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (LA-GD-TOFMS)’ M Tarik, G Lotito, J A Whitby, J Koch, K Fuhrer, M Gonin, J Michler, J-L Bolli and D Günther Spectrochimica Acta B 64(3) pp262-270.

2009    ‘An early I-Xe age for CB chondrite chondrule formation, and a re-evaluation of the closure age of Shallowater enstatite’ J D Gilmour, S A Crowther, A Busfield, G Holland and J A Whitby Meteoritics and Planetary Science 44(4) pp573-579.

2009  ‘Collisional modification of the acapulcoite/lodranite parent body revealed by the iodine-xenon system in lodranites’ S A Crowther, J A Whitby, A Busfield, G Holland, H Busemann and J D Gilmour Meteoritics & Planetary Science 44(8) pp1151–1159.

2007 ‘The Origin of Mercury’ W Benz, A Anic, J Horner, and J A Whitby, Space Science Reviews 132(2-4) pp189-202.

2007    ‘The Lunar Exosphere: The Sputtering Contribution’ P Wurz, U Rohner, J A Whitby, C Kolb, H Lammer, P Dobnikar and J. A. Martin-Fernandez Icarus 191(2) pp486-496

2007    ‘The BepiColombo Laser Altimeter (BELA): Concept and Baseline Design’ N Thomas and 26 others including J Whitby Planetary and Space Science 55(10) pp1398-1413.

2006    ’First measurements with the Physikalisches Institut Radiometric Experiment (PHIRE)’ K Gunderson, N Thomas, J A Whitby Planetary and Space Science 54(11) 1046-1056.

2004    ‘I-Xe measurements of CAI’s and chondrules from the CV3 chondrites Mokoia and Vigarano’ J A Whitby, S S Russell, G Turner, J D Gilmour Meteoritics and Planetary Science 39 1387-1403.

2004    ‘Highly miniaturised laser ablation time-of-flight mass spectrometer for a planetary rover’ U Rohner, J A Whitby, P Wurz, S Barabash Rev. Sci. Instrum. 75 1314-1322.

2004    ‘Iodine-xenon analysis of ordinary chondrite halite: implications for early solar system water’ A. Busfield, J. A. Whitby, G. Turner, J. D. Gilmour, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 68 195-202.

2003    ‘A miniature laser ablation time-of-flight mass spectrometer for in situ planetary exploration’ U Rohner, J A Whitby and P Wurz, Meas. Sci. Tech. 14 2159-2164.

2002    ‘I-Xe dating of chondrules from the Qingzhen and Kota Kota enstatite chondrites’ J A Whitby, J D Gilmour, G Turner, R D Ash Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 66 347-359.

2001    ‘Negative correlation of iodine-129/iodine-127 and xenon-129/xenon-132: product of closed system evolution or evidence of a mixed component’ J D Gilmour, J A Whitby, G Turner Meteoritic. Planet. Sci. 36 1283-1286.

2001    ‘Disentangling xenon components in Nakhla: martian atmosphere, spallation and martian interior’ J D Gilmour, J A Whitby, G Turner Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta. 65 343-354.

2000    ‘Extinct 129I from a primitive meteorite: Evidence for evaporite formation in the early solar system’ J Whitby, R Burgess, G Turner, J Gilmour, J Bridges Science 288 1819-1821.

2000    ‘The iodine-xenon system in clasts and chondrules from ordinary chondrites: Implications for early solar system chronology’ J D Gilmour, J A Whitby, G Turner, J C Bridges, R Hutchison Meteorit. Planet. Sci. 35 445-455.

1999    ‘Martian atmospheric xenon contents of Nakhla mineral separates: implications for the origin of elemental mass fractionation’ J D Gilmour, J A Whitby, G Turner Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 166 139-147.

1998    ‘Xenon isotopes in irradiated ALH84001: Evidence for shock-induced trapping of ancient Martian atmosphere’ J D Gilmour, J A Whitby, G Turner Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 62 2555-2571.