From the 18 - 19 November 2013, the EPS Young Minds [YM] Section Konstanz visited three different institutes in Zurich, Switzerland, to give 11 students from Konstanz, Germany an inside view of the local research.
At ETH, Prof. Frank Schweitzer, the chair of Systems Design, researchers are trying to get a deeper understanding of dynamics of very different organizations. Several short talks gave a wide view of the various topics dealt with inside this interdisciplinary group – ranging from the analysis of the crashing of the social network Friendster to the wisdom of crowds or the relationship between social herding and cooperation. A following, very lively open ended discussion, gave the opportunity to further explore the research as well as more general aspects of studying and living in Zurich.
Together with the EPS YM Section Zurich, the students visited the labs of Prof. Ursula Keller, the head of the Institute of Quantum Electronics at ETH. Prof. Keller’s Group mainly works on the development and application of ultrafast laser sources. The labs current work includes investigating ultrafast processes using attosecond laser sources, new broadband thin-disk lasers and ultrafast lasers with GHz repetition rate based on semiconductor saturable absorbing mirrors [SESAMs]. These techniques presented the possibilities and challenges involved in modern ultrafast optics.
The visit at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology [EMPA] in Duebendorf gave an inside view on applied sciences. After an overview presentation of the broad range of projects, several lab tours gave provided insight into the ongoing work on self-assembling nanostructures, high power ceramics and high performance solar cells.
Report from Philipp Blumhardt, University of Konstanz