Newsletter May 2024
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ETH Domain News
May 16, 2024
“I want to launch one of the world's best interdisciplinary Master's programmes in space science and technology to train the next generation of space leaders.” Thomas Zurbuchen, Professor of Space Science and Technology at ETH Zurich. (Photo: Kellenberger Photographie)
"I'm here to learn, to make things happen"
What do you do after having the most important job in the field of space research? After many years heading up research at NASA, Thomas Zurbuchen chose to come to ETH Zurich. But this career step is not as illogical as it might seem, as ETH Zurich aims to become Europe’s leading space research institution.

Slab avalanche presumably triggered by a person in old snow on the Börterhorn near Davos (GR). (Photo: Stuart Johnston)
AI – Avalanche Intelligence at the SLF
Machine-trained algorithms assess the current avalanche situation just as well as humans – with different strengths and weaknesses.

Krock robot resting on the grass © Tomislav Horvat and Kamilo Melo CC BY-SA
Harsh field tests shape robotic design in unexpected ways
When the BBC commissioned two reptilian robots from the EPFL BioRob lab for a documentary on the African wilderness in 2016, the researchers could not have predicted how testing the devices in uncontrolled environments would change their approach to robotic design.

The Future Circular Collider (FCC) in comparison to the present Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. Nearly 200 metres underground, the new particle accelerator would run partly below Lake Geneva. With a circumference of 91 kilometres, it would be the largest machine ever built by human hands.(Graphic: FCC/CERN)
A plan for the world’s biggest machine
At the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN in Geneva, literally big plans for the future are being forged: The Future Circular Collider, with a circumference of 91 kilometres, would become the largest machine ever built by human hands. As an important member of the Swiss Institute of Particle Physics, the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI will participate in this project. Lea Caminada, head of the High Energy Particle Physics Group at PSI, talks about the status of this undertaking.

(Photograph: BTRY / ETH Zurich)
ETH Zurich spin-offs develop high performance batteries
The electrification of many areas of life is leading to an increased demand for high-performance batteries. Two ETH spin-offs are making waves in this field: while BTRY develops high-performance solid-state batteries, 8inks is working on a new standard for production.

Not all Swiss streams are in a near-natural state like the Orbe in the Canton of Vaud. (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Deficits in the ecological state of small Swiss streams
A survey of 99 small Swiss streams reveals that the majority of the studied streams have significant deficits in their ecological condition and can only fulfil their function as a habitat for animals to a limited extent.

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