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  • richardmitnick 4:46 pm on May 24, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The chaotic early phase of the solar system", Asteroid studies help explicate the early universe., Asteroids are an archive in which the conditions of the early solar system are preserved., Asteroids in the solar system have remained relatively unchanged since their formation billions of years ago., , , , , Scientists analyzed iron samples from the cores of asteroids that landed on Earth as meteorites., The scientists had to dissolve the asteroid samples to be able to isolate the elements Palladium; Silver and Platinum for their detailed analysis., The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH), To unlock the asteroid archive the researchers had to thoroughly prepare and examine the extra-terrestrial material., With the help of a mass spectrometer scientists measured abundances of different isotopes of the involved elements.   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “The chaotic early phase of the solar system” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    24.05.2022
    Arian Bastani

    An international team of researchers led by the ETH Zürich and the National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS have reconstructed the early history of several asteroids more precisely than ever before. Their results indicate that the early solar system was more chaotic than previously thought.

    1

    Before the Earth and other planets formed, the young sun was still surrounded by cosmic gas and dust. Over the millennia, rock fragments of various sizes formed from the dust. Many of these became building blocks for the later planets. Others did not become part of a planet and still orbit the sun today, for example as asteroids in the asteroid belt.

    Researchers from ETH Zürich and the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS, in collaboration with an international team, analysed iron samples from the cores of such asteroids that landed on Earth as meteorites. In doing so, they unraveled part of their early history during the time when planets formed. Their findings were published in the journal Nature Astronomy.

    Witnesses of the early solar system

    “Previous scientific studies showed that asteroids in the solar system have remained relatively unchanged since their formation billions of years ago”, study lead-​author and researcher at the ETH Zürich and the NCCR PlanetS, Alison Hunt explains. “They therefore are an archive, in which the conditions of the early solar system are preserved”, Hunt says.

    2
    One of the iron meteorite samples the team analysed. (Photograph: Aurelia Meister)

    But to unlock this archive, the researchers had to thoroughly prepare and examine the extra-​terrestrial material. The team took samples from 18 different iron meteorites, which were once part of the metallic cores of asteroids. To carry out their analysis, they had to dissolve the samples to be able to isolate the elements Palladium, Silver and Platinum for their detailed analysis. With the help of a mass spectrometer they measured abundances of different isotopes of these elements. Isotopes are distinct atoms of given elements, in this case Palladium, Silver and Platinum, which all share the same number of protons in their nuclei but vary in the number of neutrons.

    In the first few million years of our solar system, the metallic asteroid cores were heated by radioactive decay of isotopes. As they began to cool down, a specific Silver isotope produced by radioactive decay began to accumulate. By measuring the present-​day Silver isotope ratios within the iron meteorites, the researchers could determine both when and how quickly the asteroid cores had cooled.

    The results showed that the cooling was rapid and likely occurred due to severe collisions into other bodies, which broke off the insulating rocky mantle of the asteroids and exposed their metal cores to the cold of space. While the fast cooling had been indicated by previous studies based on Silver isotope measurements, the timing had remained unclear.

    “Our additional measurements of Platinum isotope abundances allowed us to correct the Silver isotope measurements for distortions caused by cosmic irradiation of the samples in space. So we were able to date the timing of the collisions more precisely than ever before”, Hunt reports. “And to our surprise, all the asteroidal cores we examined had been exposed almost simultaneously, within a timeframe of 7.8 to 11.7 million years after the formation of the solar system”, the researcher says.

    The near simultaneous collisions of the different asteroids indicated to the team that this period must have been a very unsettled phase of the solar system. “Everything seems to have been smashing together at that time”, Hunt says. “And we wanted to know why”, she adds.

    From the laboratory to the solar nebula

    The team considered different causes by combining their results with those from the latest, most sophisticated computer simulations of the solar system development. Together, these sources could narrow down the possible explanations.

    “The theory that best explained this energetic early phase of the solar system indicated that it was caused primarily by the dissipation of the so-​called solar nebula”, study co-​author, NCCR PlanetS member and Professor of Cosmochemistry at the ETH Zürich, Maria Schönbächler explains. “This solar nebula is the remainder of gas that was left over from the cosmic cloud out of which the Sun was born. For a few million years, it still orbited the young Sun until it was blown away by solar winds and radiation”, Schönbächler says

    While the nebula was still around, it slowed down the objects orbiting the Sun in it – similar to how air resistance slows a moving car. After the nebula had disappeared, so the researchers suggest, the lack of gas drag allowed the asteroids to accelerate and collide into each other – like bumper cars that were turned to turbo-​mode.

    “Our work illustrates how improvements in laboratory measurement techniques allow us to infer key processes that took place in the early solar system – like the likely time by which the solar nebula had gone. Planets like the Earth were still in the process of being born at that time. Ultimately, this can help us to better understand how our own planets were born, but also give us insights into others outside our solar system”, Schönbächler concludes.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas The University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of Cambridge (UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK) .

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE Excellence Ranking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London (UK) and the University of Cambridge (UK), respectively.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:16 am on May 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "An ecological turnaround can be achieved", A fifth of countries worldwide are threatened by ecosystem collapse., A turnaround is possible but only if we all want it., Agroecology can yield more robust crops and healthy soils. Forests and peatlands mitigate climate change. Mangroves protect coastal areas., , Dwindling biodiversity endangers the very foundation of our existence., Ecological degradation poses a systemic risk., Exactly 30 years later we’ve little reason to celebrate., Nature conservation has gone from a mere hobby to a global issue demanding commitment and concerted action., Nature is not a ‘nice to have’ – it’s our life support system., Restored landscapes buffer climate extremes; improve the landscape beauty and safeguard the services we receive from nature-such as pollination., The day dates to 22 May 1992 when countries around the world together drew up the "Convention on Biological Diversity"., The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “An ecological turnaround can be achieved” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    22.05.2022
    Christoph Küffer

    Nature is not a ‘nice to have’ – it’s our life support system. Dwindling biodiversity endangers the very foundation of our existence. A turnaround is possible but only if we all want it, says Christoph Küffer.

    The scale of the biodiversity crisis is such that it can no longer be tackled by a handful of nature protection areas and a couple of volunteers. Nature conservation has gone from a mere hobby to a global issue demanding commitment and concerted action. And this is what the “International Day for Biological Diversity” calls to our attention [1].


    Foster nature wherever possible. (Photograph: Vallerato / Adobe Stock)

    The day dates to 22 May 1992 when countries around the world together drew up the Convention on Biological Diversity [2], setting out commitments for saving the ecological underpinnings of life. Yet today, exactly 30 years later we’ve little reason to celebrate.

    Ecological degradation poses a systemic risk

    Worldwide, population sizes of vertebrates such as mammals, birds and fish have seen an alarming average drop of 68 percent since 1970 [3]. And the situation is just as drastic for other species groups such as insects [4] and plants [5]. The rate of extinction is accelerating [6], jeopardizing the very foundation of our existence.

    Politicians and business leaders around the world have now taken this on board. The UK economic and finance ministry speaks of nature as “our most precious asset”, and of a collective failure to engage sustainably with nature [7]. The WEF lists biodiversity loss as a top global risk [8], while Swiss Re finds a fifth of countries worldwide are threatened by ecosystem collapse [9].

    An ecological turnaround is possible

    It’s widely agreed that any further depletion of nature will lead to collapse. We’re already seeing a profusion of conflicts between expanding land use and last ecological refugia: intensive or organic agriculture? Dense or green cities? Renewable energy in nature reserves?

    As an ecologist, I seek to show that ecological alternatives and win-​win situations are possible. Restoring damaged ecosystems [10] enhances synergies:

    Humans need nature: instead of separating our lives from nature, we should engage in rich relationships with other living beings and our ecological lifeworld. Being close to nature improves our quality of life and promotes health [11].

    All landscape is nature: instead of protecting isolated pockets, we should regenerate all the exploited landscape. Restored landscapes buffer climate extremes, improve the landscape beauty and safeguard the services we receive from nature, such as pollination.

    The economy needs nature: an ecological economy builds natural capital instead of destroying it. As many of our activities as possible should protect, restore or sustainably use the landscape.

    Working with rather than against nature

    Such “nature-​based” solutions [12] work in tandem with nature, generate income and – if well thought out – benefit biodiversity. For instance, agroecology can yield more robust crops and healthy soils, forests and peatlands mitigate climate change, and mangroves protect coastal areas.

    This year, the International Day for Biological Diversity challenges us to “build a shared future for all life”. We can do this by fostering rich relationships with nature in our daily lives, promoting education and research on ecology and nature-​based solutions, and investing in a nature-​based economy.

    References:

    1 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD): International Day for Biological Diversity.

    2 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD): Global Biodiversity Outlook 5.

    3 WWF: Living Planet Report 2020

    4 Widmer I, Mühlethaler R et al. (2021) Insektenvielfalt in der Schweiz: Bedeutung, Trends, Handlungsoptionen. Swiss Academies Factsheets 16 (4).

    5 Federal Office for the Environment FOEN: Rote Liste Gefässpflanzen.

    6 SCNAT Swiss Biodiversity Forum: Weltbiodiversitätsrat warnt vor drastisch beschleunigtem Artensterben.

    7 UK Government: The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review (2021).

    8 WEF: Global Risk Report 2021: These are the top risks for business in the post-​COVID world.

    9 Swiss Re: A fifth of countries worldwide at risk from ecosystem collapse as biodiversity declines (2020).

    10 The UN has declared 2021-​2030 the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.

    11 Recent research under the heading of “Biophilia” shows how strongly our health and quality of life hinge on a natural living environment. See SCNAT Swiss Biodiversity Forum: Biodiversity, a guarantee of health?.

    12 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN): Nature-​based Solutions for people and planet.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas The University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of Cambridge (UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK) .

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE Excellence Ranking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London (UK) and the University of Cambridge (UK), respectively.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:16 pm on May 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Component for brain-inspired computing", Compared with computers the human brain is incredibly energy efficient., Researchers at ETH Zürich; the University of Zürich and Empa have now developed an innovative concept for a memristor that can be used in a far wider range of applications than existing memristors., Scientists want to combine storage and processing in a single electronic component type known as a memristor., The memristors the researchers have developed are made of halide perovskite nanocrystals., The new memristors from the researchers in Zürich can now easily switch between two operation modes while in use., The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH), There are different operation modes for memristors and it is advantageous to be able to use all these modes depending on an artificial neural network’s architecture.   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “Component for brain-inspired computing” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    18.05.2022
    Fabio Bergamin

    Researchers from ETH Zürich, the University of Zürich and Empa have developed a new material for an electronic component that can be used in a wider range of applications than its predecessors. Such components will help create electronic circuits that emulate the human brain and that are more efficient at performing machine-​learning tasks.

    1
    Scientists aim to perform machine-​learning tasks more efficiently with processors that emulate the working principles of the human brain. (Visualisations: Adobe Stock)

    Compared with computers the human brain is incredibly energy efficient. Scientists are therefore drawing on how the brain and its interconnected neurons function for inspiration in designing innovative computing technologies. They foresee that these brain-​inspired computing systems, will be more energy efficient than conventional ones, as well as better at performing machine-​learning tasks.

    Much like neurons, which are responsible for both data storage and data processing in the brain, scientists want to combine storage and processing in a single electronic component type known as a memristor. Their hope is that this will help to achieve greater efficiency, because moving data between the processor and the storage, as conventional computers do, is the main reason for the high energy consumption in machine learning applications.

    Researchers at ETH Zürich, the University of Zürich and Empa have now developed an innovative concept for a memristor that can be used in a far wider range of applications than existing memristors. “There are different operation modes for memristors, and it is advantageous to be able to use all these modes depending on an artificial neural network’s architecture,” explains ETH postdoc Rohit John. “But previous conventional memristors had to be configured for one of these modes in advance.” The new memristors from the researchers in Zürich can now easily switch between two operation modes while in use: a mode in which the signal grows weaker over time and dies (volatile mode), and one in which the signal remains constant (non-​volatile mode).

    Just like in the brain

    “These two operation modes are also found in the human brain,” John says. On the one hand, stimuli at the synapses are transmitted from neuron to neuron with biochemical neurotransmitters. These stimuli start out strong and then gradually become weaker. On the other hand, new synaptic connections to other neurons form in the brain while we learn. These connections are longer-​lasting.

    John, who is a postdoc in the group headed by ETH Professor Maksym Kovalenko, was awarded an ETH fellowship for outstanding postdoctoral researchers in 2020. John conducted this research together with Yiğit Demirağ, a doctoral student in Professor Giacomo Indiveri’s group at the Institute for Neuroinformatics of the University of Zürich and ETH Zürich.

    Semiconductor known from solar cells

    The memristors the researchers have developed are made of halide perovskite nanocrystals, a semiconductor material known primarily from its use in photovoltaic cells. “The ‘nerve conduction’ in these new memristors is mediated by temporarily or permanently stringing together silver ions from an electrode to form a nanofilament penetrating the perovskite structure through which current can flow,” explains Kovalenko.

    This process can be regulated to make the silver-​ion filament either thin, so that it gradually breaks back down into individual silver ions (volatile mode), or thick and permanent (non-​volatile mode). This is controlled by the intensity of the current conducted on the memristor: applying a weak current activates the volatile mode, while a strong current activates the non-​volatile mode.

    New toolkit for neuroinformaticians

    “To our knowledge, this is the first memristor that can be reliably switched between volatile and non-​volatile modes on demand,” Demirağ says. This means that in the future, computer chips can be manufactured with memristors that enable both modes. This is a significance advance because it is usually not possible to combine several different types of memristors on one chip.

    Within the scope of the study, which they published in the journal Nature Communications, the researchers tested 25 of these new memristors and carried out 20,000 measurements with them. In this way, they were able to simulate a computational problem on a complex network. The problem involved classifying a number of different neuron spikes as one of four predefined patterns.

    Before these memristors can be used in computer technology, they will need to undergo further optimisation. However, such components are also important for research in neuroinformatics, as Indiveri points out: “These components come closer to real neurons than previous ones. As a result, they help researchers to better test hypotheses in neuroinformatics and hopefully gain a better understanding of the computing principles of real neuronal circuits in humans and animals.”

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas The University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of Cambridge (UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK) .

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE Excellence Ranking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London (UK) and the University of Cambridge (UK), respectively.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:32 pm on May 15, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH), "Going gentle on mechanical quantum systems", Systems in which mechanical motion is controlled at the level of individual quanta are emerging as a promising quantum-​technology platform., How quantum properties of quantum systems can be measured without destroying the quantum state.   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) : “Going gentle on mechanical quantum systems” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    5.13.22
    Andreas Trabesinger

    Systems in which mechanical motion is controlled at the level of individual quanta are emerging as a promising quantum-​technology platform. New experimental work now establishes how quantum properties of such systems can be measured without destroying the quantum state — a key ingredient for tapping the full potential of mechanical quantum systems.

    1
    Optical microscope image of the acoustic resonator viewed from above (two larger disks, the inner of which is the piezoelectric transducer) and of the antenna connected to the superconducting qubit (white structure). Adapted from von Lüpke et al. Nat. Phys.

    When thinking about quantum mechanical systems, single photons and well-​isolated ions and atoms may spring to mind, or electrons spreading through a crystal. More exotic in the context of quantum mechanics are genuinely mechanical quantum systems; that is, massive objects in which mechanical motion such as vibration is quantized. In a series of seminal experiments, quintessential quantum-​mechanical features have been observed in mechanical systems, including energy quantization and entanglement. However, with a view to putting such systems to use in fundamental studies and technological applications, observing quantum properties is but a first step. The next one is to master the handling of mechanical quantum objects, so that their quantum states can be controlled, measured, and eventually exploited in device-​like structures. The group of Yiwen Chu in the Laboratory of Solid State Physics at ETH Zürich has now made major progress in that direction. Writing in Nature Physics, they report the extraction of information from a mechanical quantum system without destroying the precious quantum state. This advance paves the path to applications such as quantum error correction, and beyond.

    Massive quantum mechanics

    The ETH physicists employ as their mechanical system a slab of high-​quality sapphire, a little under half a millimetre thick. On its top sits a thin piezoelectrical transducer that can excite acoustic waves, which are reflected at the bottom and thus extend across a well-​defined volume inside the slab. These excitations are the collective motion of a large number of atoms, yet they are quantized (in energy units known as phonons) and can be subjected, in principle at least, to quantum operations in very much the same ways as the quantum states of atoms, photons and electrons can be. Intriguingly, it is possible to interface the mechanical resonator with other quantum systems, and with superconducting qubits in particular. The latter are tiny electronic circuits in which electromagnetic energy states are quantized, and they are currently one of the leading platforms for building scalable quantum computers. The electromagnetic fields associated with the superconducting circuit enable the coupling of the qubit to the piezoelectrical transducer of the acoustic resonator, and thereby to its mechanical quantum states.

    1
    Photograph of the flip-​chip bonded hybrid device, with the acoustical-​resonator chip on top of the superconducting-​qubit chip. The bottom chip is 7 mm in length. Adapted from von Lüpke et al. Nat. Phys.

    In such hybrid qubit–resonator devices, the best of two worlds can be combined. Specifically, the highly developed computational capabilities of superconducting qubits can be used in synchrony with the robustness and long lifetime of acoustical modes, which can serve as quantum memories or transducers. For such applications, however, merely coupling qubit and resonator states will be not enough. For example, a straightforward measurement of the quantum state in the resonator destroys it, making repeated measurements impossible. What is needed instead is the capability to extract information about the mechanical quantum state in a more gentle, well-​controlled manner.

    The non-​destructive path

    Demonstrating a protocol for such so-​called quantum non-​demolition measurements is what Chu’s doctoral students Uwe von Lüpke, Yu Yang and Marius Bild, working with Branco Weiss fellow Matteo Fadel and with support from semester project student Laurent Michaud, now achieved. In their experiments there is no direct energy exchange between the superconducting qubit and the acoustic resonator during the measurement. Instead, the properties of the qubit are made to depend on the number of phonons in the acoustic resonator, with no need to directly ‘touch’ the mechanical quantum state — think about a theremin, the musical instrument in which the pitch depends on the position of the musician’s hand without making physical contact with the instrument.

    Creating a hybrid system in which the state of the resonator is reflected in the spectrum of the qubit is highly challenging. There are stringent demands on how long the quantum states can be sustained both in the qubit and in the resonator, before they fade away due to imperfections and perturbations from the outside. So the task for the team was to push the lifetimes of both the qubit and the resonator quantum states. And they succeeded, by making a series of improvements, including a careful choice of the type of superconducting qubit used and encapsulating the hybrid device in a superconducting aluminium cavity to ensure tight electromagnetic shielding.

    Quantum information on a need-​to-know basis

    Having successfully pushed their system into the desired operational regime (known as the ‘strong dispersive regime’), the team were able to gently extract the phonon-​number distribution in their acoustic resonator after exciting it with different amplitudes. Moreover, they demonstrated a way to determine in one single measurement whether the number of phonons in the resonator is even or odd — a so-​called parity measurement — without learning anything else about the distribution of phonons. Obtaining such very specific information, but no other, is crucial in a number of quantum-​technological applications. For instance, a change in parity (a transition from an odd to an even number or vice versa) can signal that an error has affected the quantum state and that correcting is needed. Here it is essential, of course, that the to-​be-corrected state is not destroyed.

    Before an implementation of such error-​correction schemes is possible, however, further refinement of the hybrid system is necessary, in particular to improve the fidelity of the operations. But quantum error correction is by far not the only use on the horizon. There is an abundance of exciting theoretical proposals in the scientific literature for quantum-​information protocols as well as for fundamental studies that benefit from the fact that the acoustic quantum states reside in massive objects. These provide, for example, unique opportunities for exploring the scope of quantum mechanics in the limit of large systems and for harnessing the mechanical quantum systems as a sensor.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas The University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of Cambridge (UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK) .

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE Excellence Ranking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London (UK) and the University of Cambridge (UK), respectively.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:37 am on May 12, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New imaging method makes tiny robots visible in the body", , Microrobots have the potential to revolutionize medicine., The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “New imaging method makes tiny robots visible in the body” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    5.11.22
    Florian Meyer

    1
    Credit: ETH Zurich / MPI-​IS.

    Microrobots have the potential to revolutionize medicine. Researchers at the Max Planck ETH Centre for Learning Systems have now developed an imaging technique that for the first time recognizes cell-​sized microrobots individually and at high resolution in a living organism.

    How can a blood clot be removed from the brain without any major surgical intervention? How can a drug be delivered precisely into a diseased organ that is difficult to reach? Those are just two examples of the countless innovations envisioned by the researchers in the field of medical microrobotics. Tiny robots promise to fundamentally change future medical treatments: one day, they could move through patient’s vasculature to eliminate malignancies, fight infections or provide precise diagnostic information entirely noninvasively. In principle, so the researchers argue, the circulatory system might serve as an ideal delivery route for the microrobots, since it reaches all organs and tissues in the body.

    For such microrobots to be able to perform the intended medical interventions safely and reliably, they must not be larger than a biological cell. In humans, a cell has an average diameter of 25 micrometres – a micrometre is one millionth of a metre. The smallest blood vessels in humans, the capillaries, are even thinner: their average diameter is only 8 micrometres. The microrobots must be correspondingly small if they are to pass through the smallest blood vessels unhindered. However, such a small size also makes them invisible to the naked eye – and science too, has not yet found a technical solution to detect and track the micron-​sized robots individually as they circulate in the body.

    Tracking circulating microrobots for the first time

    “Before this future scenario becomes reality and microrobots are actually used in humans, the precise visualisation and tracking of these tiny machines is absolutely necessary,” says Paul Wrede, who is a doctoral fellow at the Max Planck ETH Center for Learnings Systems (CLS). “Without imaging, microrobotics is essentially blind,” adds Daniel Razansky, Professor of Biomedical Imaging at ETH Zürich and the The University of Zürich [Universität Zürich](CH) and a member of the CLS. “Real-​time, high-​resolution imaging is thus essential for detecting and controlling cell-​sized microrobots in a living organism.” Further, imaging is also a prerequisite for monitoring therapeutic interventions performed by the robots and verifying that they have carried out their task as intended. “The lack of ability to provide real-​time feedback on the microrobots was therefore a major obstacle on the way to clinical application.”

    Together with Metin Sitti, a world-​leading microrobotics expert who is also a CLS member as Director at The MPG Institute for Intelligent Systems [MPG Institut zum Intelligente Systeme](DE) and ETH Professor of Physical Intelligence, and other researchers, the team has now achieved an important breakthrough in efficiently merging microrobotics and imaging. In a study just published in the scientific journal Science Advances, they managed for the first time to clearly detect and track tiny robots as small as five micrometres in real time in the brain vessels of mice using a non-​invasive imaging technique.

    The researchers used microrobots with sizes ranging from 5 to 20 micrometres. The tiniest robots are about the size of red blood cells, which are 7 to 8 micrometres in diameter. This size makes it possible for the intravenously injected microrobots to travel even through the thinnest microcapillaries in the mouse brain.

    2
    A breakthrough: Tiny circulating microrobots, which are as small as red blood cells (left picture), were visualised one-​by-one in the blood vessels of mice with optoacoustic imaging (right picture). (Image: ETH Zürich / Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems)

    The researchers also developed a dedicated optoacoustic tomography technology in order to actually detect the tiny robots one by one, in high resolution and in real time. This unique imaging method makes it possible to detect the tiny robots in deep and hard-​to-reach regions of the body and brain, which would not have been possible with optical microscopy or any other imaging technique. The method is called optoacoustic because light is first emitted and absorbed by the respective tissue. The absorption then produces tiny ultrasound waves that can be detected and analysed to result in high-​resolution volumetric images.

    Janus-​faced robots with gold layer

    To make the microrobots highly visible in the images, the researchers needed a suitable contrast material. For their study, they therefore used spherical, silica particle-​based microrobots with a so-​called Janus-​type coating. This type of robot has a very robust design and is very well qualified for complex medical tasks. It is named after the Roman god Janus, who had two faces. In the robots, the two halves of the sphere are coated differently. In the current study, the researchers coated one half of the robot with nickel and the other half with gold.

    3
    The spherical microrobots consist of silica-based particles and have been coated half with nickel (Ni) and half with gold (Au) and loaded with green-dyed nanobubbles (liposomes). In this way, they can be detected individually with the new optoacoustic imaging technique. (Image: ETH Zürich / MPI-IS)

    “Gold is a very good contrast agent for optoacoustic imaging,” explains Razansky, “without the golden layer, the signal generated by the microrobots is just too weak to be detected.” In addition to gold, the researchers also tested the use of small bubbles called nanoliposomes, which contained a fluorescent green dye that also served as a contrast agent. “Liposomes also have the advantage that you can load them with potent drugs, which is important for future approaches to targeted drug delivery,” says Wrede, the first author of the study. The potential uses of liposomes will be investigated in a follow-​up study.

    Furthermore, the gold also allows to minimize the cytotoxic effect of the nickel coating – after all, if in the future microrobots are to operate in living animals or humans, they must be made biocompatible and non-​toxic, which is part of an ongoing research. In the present study, the researchers used nickel as a magnetic drive medium and a simple permanent magnet to pull the robots. In follow-​up studies, they want to test the optoacoustic imaging with more complex manipulations using rotating magnetic fields.

    “This would give us the ability to precisely control and move the microrobots even in strongly flowing blood,” says Metin Sitti. “In the present study we focused on visualising the microrobots. The project was tremendously successful thanks to the excellent collaborative environment at the CLS that allowed combining the expertise of the two research groups at MPI-​IS in Stuttgart for the robotic part and ETH Zürich for the imaging part,” Sitti concludes.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas The University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of Cambridge (UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK) .

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE Excellence Ranking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London (UK) and the University of Cambridge (UK), respectively.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:24 am on May 3, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Helping robots feel more human", , For his doctorate Johannes Weichart is developing an artificial skin that could give robots a sense of touch similar to humans. This would make them much more adept at handling objects., , The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH), Weichart’s artificial skin is equipped with a large array of receptors.   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “Helping robots feel more human” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    3.5.22 [Just now in social media.]
    Felix Würsten

    For his doctorate Johannes Weichart is developing an artificial skin that could give robots a sense of touch similar to humans. This would make them much more adept at handling objects.

    1
    Developing an artificial skin for robots: Johannes Weichart with his supervisor, Christofer Hierold (left), and advisor, Cosmin Roman. Photograph: ETH Zürich / ETH transfer.

    One of many special human qualities is the ability to handle objects with skill and precision. This is all down to our sense of touch, which is particularly acute in the tips of our fingers. Using our hands, we are able to explore the shape and composition of objects and to feel the texture of their surface – and all without ever clapping eyes on them.

    Our sense of touch is incredibly refined. Just try and get a robot to achieve a similar degree of nuance. Production robots, for example, are able to pick up and move objects with impressive dexterity. To do so, however, they first need to know where the object is – or they require additional visual information to help with orientation. Ideally, too, they need to know how sturdy an object is, and its composition, before they grab it.

    Hundreds of sensors

    Johannes Weichart has an idea that could make robots much more adept at handling objects. Weichart, a doctoral student in the Micro-​ and Nanosystems (MNS) group at ETH Zürich, has developed an artificial skin that emulates the sense of touch in a human finger. He believes that this can endow robots with the ability to touch and feel. What’s more, the artificial skin is pliable, which means it can be used to cover soft and unevenly formed materials – a robot gripper, for example, in the shape of a human finger.

    In common with its human equivalent, Weichart’s artificial skin is equipped with a large array of receptors. “You need around one sensor per square millimetre,” he explains. Each sensor comprises various layers. Two of these are a conductive membrane and subjacent electrodes, which springs hold apart at a distance of three to four micrometres. Changes in the distance between them causes changes to an electrical signal captured by the electrodes.

    Refined sense of touch

    Connected to the conductive membrane is a small bead. When pressure is applied to the bead, the membrane deforms – and, with it, the signal measured by the sensor.

    2
    Schematic representation of a sensor: a force acting on the bead (grey) deforms the connected membrane (red), changing the capacitance to the electrodes (blue). (Photograph: ETH Zürich / Johannes Weichart)

    Half of the sensors are equipped with three electrodes rather than one. These measure not only the amount of force applied to the bead at any one point but also the angle of application. This gives the skin a much more nuanced sense of touch. “It means you can feel the quality and texture of a surface and recognise when an object is slipping over the surface of the skin by sampling the sensors at high enough frequencies,” Weichart explains.

    Too much raw data

    Weichart has spent the first three years of his doctoral studies demonstrating that his idea functions in principle. The challenge now is to make the skin more robust and, crucially, suitable for concrete applications. This still requires some work. “To be able to use the artificial skin in an everyday context, the sensors require a protective layer which we developed,” Weichart says. “And we also need to radically simplify the output signal. All that raw input data would overwhelm a robot. Besides, even humans don’t perceive the output of each individual receptor. We just register the overall impression.”

    Despite the work ahead, the project is already looking promising. Little wonder, then, that Weichart was among the nominees for the Spark Award, which was presented last week.

    Unconventional approach

    Weichart tends to favour a left-​field approach – as his desk readily reveals. Unlike the functional workspaces of his fellow students, his is literally surrounded by a mini jungle of houseplants.

    He was also quick to diverge from the initial suggestion of his supervisor, Christofer Hierold, and his advisor, Cosmin Roman. Their idea was to develop silicon-​based touch sensors. But Weichart opted to embed the sensors in a flexible substrate. That way, it will be easier to mount them onto soft and uneven surfaces. “My advisors were a bit sceptical at first,” he grins. “But, in retrospect, I think it was the right decision!”

    3
    Electron microscope image of a sensor showing the membrane and the bead attached to it. Photograph: Johannes Weichart/ETH Zürich.

    From fusion power to sensor technology

    Ultimately, it was problems with red tape that nudged Weichart in the direction of artificial skin. Freshly graduated from ETH Zürich with a degree in mechanical engineering, he first joined the company Evatec AG, where he worked on plasma processes for coating and etching integrated circuits. However, at the end of three years, the time seemed ripe for a move back into research.

    His work in industry had sparked an interest in fusion technology. “But, because I come from Liechtenstein, it was difficult for me to be considered for national research programs,” he explains. In search of a reference, he turned to Hierold, who had supervised his Master’s thesis. To his delight, Hierold proposed he start his project on tactile sensor technology.

    “My experience in industry has turned out to be really valuable,” Weichart says. “You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel – in fact, it’s often better to build on a technology already known.” Rather than striving for academic perfection, he aims for practical relevance: “That’s what makes me tick.” And relying on established tech can be an advantage when it comes to commercialising a new development, he says. “As a start-​up, you can never be in control of the entire process chain. There are always some parts you need to outsource.”

    For now, his entrepreneurial ambitions are on hold. “I’ve still got another year or so as a doctoral student, and then I’ll start thinking about my next move.” Were he to take the project forward himself – perhaps as a Pioneer Fellow – he would need to think very carefully about which area to focus on. He spies potential applications in a variety of fields, including medical robotics, telerobotics, warehouse robotics and also prosthetics. But there’s no way he can do all of these options justice at this stage of development.

    4
    The pliable skin can be mounted onto any surface. Clearly visible are the tiny beads that exert pressure on the sensing membrane. (Photograph: Johannes Weichart/ETH Zürich.

    Eyes on the prize

    Staying focused may well be his biggest challenge over the coming months. “I’m not obsessed with details,” he admits, “and I can quickly start chasing new ideas. But that can soon get out of hand.” As it is, he already has plenty on his plate: microtechnology, electronics, precision mechanics, data processing, materials integration and AI pattern recognition – all of these fields will exercise his attention for some time to come.

    Regular activity beyond the lab helps keep his eyes on the prize. “I go biking and ski touring in the mountains, swimming in the lake in winter, and do boxing and mixed martial arts to help with my coordination and self-​confidence,” he says. “That frees my head and helps me refocus on the job in hand.”

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas The University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of Cambridge (UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK) .

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE Excellence Ranking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London (UK) and the University of Cambridge (UK), respectively.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:55 am on April 28, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "New earthquake assessments strengthen preparedness in Europe", An international team of European seismologists; geologists and engineers has revised the earthquake hazard model that has existed since 2013 and created a first earthquake risk model for Europe., , During the 20th century earthquakes in Europe accounted for more than 200000 deaths and over 250 billion Euros in losses., , Earthquake risk describes the estimated economic and humanitarian consequences of potential earthquakes., , , The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “New earthquake assessments strengthen preparedness in Europe” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    4.28.22
    Michèle Marti
    Peter Rüegg

    European scientists with the participation of the Swiss Seismological Service at ETH Zürich have published an updated earthquake hazard map and, for the first time, an earthquake risk map for Europe. Switzerland will follow suit next year with a higher resolution national risk map.

    1
    Great hazard, high risk: A strong earthquake in 2016 destroyed entire villages in Italy. Image: Adobe Stock / puckillustrations.

    During the 20th century earthquakes in Europe accounted for more than 200000 deaths and over 250 billion Euros in losses. Comprehensive earthquake hazard and risk assessments are crucial to reducing the effects of catastrophic earthquakes because earthquakes cannot be prevented nor precisely predicted.

    An international team of European seismologists, geologists, and engineers, with leading support of members from the Swiss Seismological Service and the Group of Seismology and Geodynamics at ETH Zürich has; therefore, revised the earthquake hazard model that has existed since 2013 and created a first earthquake risk model for the whole of Europe.

    The 2020 European Seismic Hazard and Risk Models offer comparable information on the spatial distribution of expected levels of ground shaking due to earthquakes, their frequency as well as their potential impact on the built environment and on people’s sense of wellbeing.

    The newly released update of the earthquake hazard model and the first earthquake risk model for Europe are the basis for establishing mitigation measures and making communities more resilient. They significantly improve the understanding of where strong shaking is most likely to occur and the potential effects of future earthquakes in Europe.

    To this aim, all underlying datasets have been updated and harmonised – a complex undertaking given the vast amount of data and highly diverse tectonic settings in Europe. Such an approach is crucial to establish effective transnational disaster mitigation strategies that support the definition of insurance policies or up-​to-date building codes at a European level and at national levels.

    Open access is provided to both, the European Seismic Hazard and Risk Models, including various initial components such as input datasets.

    2
    The updated earthquake hazard model benefits from advanced datasets.

    Earthquake hazard describes potential ground shaking due to future earthquakes and is based on knowledge about past earthquakes, geology, tectonics, and local site conditions at any given location across Europe.  

    The advanced datasets incorporated into the new version of the model have led to a more comprehensive assessment of the earthquake hazard across Europe. In consequence, ground shaking estimates have been adjusted, resulting in lower estimates in most parts of Europe, compared to the 2013 model, and in the case of Switzerland closer to the national model. With the exception of some regions in western Turkey, Greece, Albania, Romania, southern Spain, and southern Portugal where higher ground shaking estimates are observed. The updated model also confirms that Turkey, Greece, Albania, Italy, and Romania are the countries with the highest earthquake hazard in Europe, followed by the other Balkan countries. But even in regions with low or moderate ground shaking estimates, damaging earthquakes can occur at any time.

    Furthermore, specific hazard maps from Europe’s updated earthquake hazard model will serve for the first time as an informative annex for the second generation of the Eurocode 8 (European standards related to construction). Eurocode 8 standards are an important reference to which national models may refer. Such models, when available, provide authoritative information to inform national local decisions related to developing seismic design codes and risk mitigation strategies. Integrating earthquake hazard models in specific seismic design codes helps ensure that buildings respond appropriately to earthquakes. These efforts thus contribute to better protect European citizens from earthquakes.

    Main drivers of the earthquake risk are older buildings

    3
    First earthquake risk map for Europe. Graphic: EFEHR.

    Earthquake risk describes the estimated economic and humanitarian consequences of potential earthquakes. In order to determine the earthquake risk, information on local soil conditions, the density of buildings and people (exposure), the vulnerability of the built environment, and robust earthquake hazard assessments are needed. According to the 2020 European Seismic Risk Model (ESRM20), buildings constructed before the 1980s, urban areas, and high earthquake hazard estimates mainly drive the earthquake risk.

    Although most European countries have recent design codes and standards that ensure adequate protection from earthquakes, many older unreinforced or insufficiently reinforced buildings still exist, posing a high risk for their inhabitants.

    The highest earthquake risk accumulates in urban areas, such as the cities of Istanbul and Izmir in Turkey, Catania, and Naples in Italy, Bucharest in Romania, and Athens in Greece, many of which have a history of damaging earthquakes. In fact, these four countries alone experience almost 80% of the modelled average annual economic loss of 7 billion Euros due to earthquakes in Europe. However, also cities like Zagreb (Croatia), Tirana (Albania), Sofia (Bulgaria), Lisbon (Portugal), Brussels (Belgium), and Basel (Switzerland) have an above-​average level of earthquake risk compared to less exposed cities, such as Berlin (Germany), London (UK), or Paris (France).

    Developing the models is a joint effort

    A core team of researchers from different institutions across Europe, including the leading support of members from ETH Zürich, worked collaboratively to develop the first openly available Seismic Risk Model for Europe and to update Europe’s Seismic Hazard Model. They have been part of an effort that started more than 30 years ago and involved thousands of people from all over Europe. These efforts have been funded by several European projects and supported by national groups over all these years.

    Researchers from the Swiss Seismological Service (SED) and the Group of Seismology and Geodynamics at ETH Zürich led many of these projects. The SED is also home to EFEHR (European Facilities for Earthquake Hazard and Risk). EFEHR is a non-​profit network dedicated to the development and updating of earthquake hazard and risk models in the European-​Mediterranean region. ETH Zürich thus holds a central hub function for data collection and processing, open access to earthquake hazard and risk models including all basic data sets, and knowledge exchange.

    The development of the 2020 European Seismic Hazard and Risk Models has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

    What do the European seismic hazard and risk models mean for Switzerland?

    One important aspect of earthquake mitigation that relies on hazard models is the development of construction standards for earthquake-​resistant structures. In Switzerland, this task is the responsibility of the Swiss Society of Engineers and Architects (SIA), which takes as its basis the national hazard assessment prepared by the Swiss Seismological Service at ETH Zurich, last updated in 2015. This is standard practice in countries and regions for which comprehensive hazard assessments are available. The reason for this is that national models depict local conditions with greater precision and in a higher resolution than European models. Nevertheless, the relevant SIA committee will study the new European model closely and analyse possible differences vis-​à-​vis the national model. However, this is not expected to result in any changes to the currently applicable SIA standards for earthquake-​resistant construction.

    Work under way on national seismic risk model

    In contrast to seismic hazard, Switzerland does not yet have a national model for seismic risk. The SED is currently developing such a model in collaboration with the Federal Office for the Environment and the Federal Office for Civil Protection. Due to be published next year, it will show in great detail the damage that can be expected to occur in Switzerland as a result of earthquakes. As with the seismic hazard model, the national seismic risk model will reflect the specific characteristics of Switzerland more accurately than the European model and will therefore serve as the primary reference for Switzerland-​wide risk analyses. However, the European model is helpful when it comes to making risk comparisons between countries.

    European results provide indications of high-​risk regions

    Initial analyses by the SED suggest that the European seismic hazard assessment differs only minimally from the national assessment. There is currently no reference for seismic risk, but in the European model Basel and Geneva stand out as places at particularly high risk in Switzerland.

    This is hardly surprising in the case of Basel, as all relevant seismic risk factors come together there: a high density of residents and property, a high seismic hazard and many vulnerable buildings.

    Compared with Basel, Geneva has a lower seismic hazard. However, a fault zone in the French Alps plays a key role in the European risk model as a possible source of more distant but potentially large earthquakes. As with Basel, there is also a high density of residents and property and a vulnerable building stock, much of which is built on soft subsoil that is not good for earthquakes (sedimentary basin).

    Furthermore, on the map in the European model, the core zone in Geneva lies in a single cell, whereas in Zürich, which has similar conditions, it is spread across three cells. From a purely visual point of view, therefore, the risk appears greater for Geneva than for Zürich, for example.

    The fact that other urban or particularly vulnerable Swiss areas do not show up more strongly in the European seismic risk model is mainly due to two factors. Firstly, Swiss cities tend to be small by European standards and are therefore at less risk than other large urban areas. Secondly, the results are normalised with gross domestic product (GDP). In other words, the risk assessment takes into account a country’s ability to mitigate the effects of an earthquake.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas The University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of Cambridge (UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK) .

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE Excellence Ranking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London (UK) and the University of Cambridge (UK), respectively.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:13 am on April 25, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Automated Analysis of Animal Behavior", , , The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH),   

    From The University of Zürich (Universität Zürich) (CH) and The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “Automated Analysis of Animal Behavior” 

    From The University of Zürich (Universität Zürich) (CH)

    and

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    25 Apr 2022
    Fabio Bergamin

    Researchers have developed a new method that uses artificial intelligence to analyze animal behavior. This opens the door to longer-​term in-​depth studies in the field of behavioral science – while also helping to improve animal welfare. The method is already being tested at Zürich Zoo.

    1
    Analyzing social interactions among primates is one of the applications for this new method. (Visualisations: Ella Marushenko / The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich](CH))

    Researchers engaged in animal behavior studies often rely on hours upon hours of video footage which they manually analyze. Usually, this requires researchers to work their way through recordings spanning several weeks or months, laboriously noting down observations on the animals’ behavior. Now researchers at the Institute of Neuroinformatics at the University of Zürich and ETH Zürich have come up with an automated way analyzing these kinds of recordings.

    The image-analysis algorithm they have developed makes use of computer vision and machine learning. It can distinguish individual animals and identify specific behaviors, such as those that signal curiosity, fear or harmonious social interactions with other members of their species.

    The technology essentially offers scientists a one-click solution for automatically analyzing video footage, however lengthy or detailed the recordings are. Another advantage of the new method is its reproducibility: if different groups of researchers use the same algorithm to analyze their video data, comparing results is easier because everything is based on the same standards.

    What’s more, the new algorithm is so sensitive that it can even identify subtle behavioral changes that develop very gradually over long periods of time. “Those are the kinds of changes that are often tricky to spot with the human eye,” says Markus Marks, lead author of the research study and a postdoc in the group headed by professor of neurotechnology Mehmet Fatih Yanik.

    Suitable for all animal species

    The researchers trained the machine-learning algorithm with video footage of mice and macaques in captivity. However, they stress that the method can be applied to all animal species. News of their new method has already spread through the scientific community.

    The researchers have made the algorithm available to other researchers on a public platform, and many of their colleagues around the world are already using it. “Interest has been particularly high among primate researchers, and our technology is already being used by a group that is researching wild chimpanzees in Uganda,” Marks says.

    This is probably because the method can also be used to analyze complex social interactions in animal communities, such as identifying which animals groom other members of their group and how often this occurs. “Our method offers some major advantages over previous machine-learning-based behavioral analysis algorithms, especially when it comes to analyzing social behavior in complex settings,” Marks says.
    ===
    Improving conditions for animals in human care

    The new method can also be used to improve animal husbandry, enabling round-the-clock monitoring to automatically single out abnormal behaviors. By detecting adverse social interactions or the onset of disease early on, keepers can swiftly respond to improve conditions for the animals in their care.

    The researchers are also currently collaborating with Zurich Zoo, which wants to further improve its animal husbandry and conduct automated behavioral research. For example, in a recently published study examining patterns of elephant sleep behavior, zoo researchers had to manually annotate nocturnal video recordings. Their hope is that the new method would enable them to automate and upscale such findings in the future.

    Finally, the method is used in fundamental research in the fields of biology, neurobiology and medicine. “Our method can recognize even subtle or rare behavioral changes in research animals, such as signs of stress, anxiety or discomfort,” says Yanik. “Therefore, it can not only help to improve the quality of animal studies but also helps to reduce the number of animals and the strain on them.” The ETH Zurich professor is planning to use the method himself as part of his neurobiological research in the field of imitation learning.

    See the full article here.

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas The University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of Cambridge (UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK) .

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE Excellence Ranking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London (UK) and the University of Cambridge (UK), respectively.

    The University of Zürich (Universität Zürich) (CH), located in the city of Zürich, is the largest university in Switzerland, with over 26,000 students. It was founded in 1833 from the existing colleges of theology, law, medicine and a new faculty of philosophy.

    Currently, the university has seven faculties: Philosophy, Human Medicine, Economic Sciences, Law, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Theology and Veterinary Medicine. The university offers the widest range of subjects and courses of any Swiss higher education institutions.
    Since 1833

    As a member of the League of European Research Universities (EU) (LERU) and Universitas 21 (U21) network, the University of Zürich belongs to Europe’s most prestigious research institutions. In 2017, the University of Zürich became a member of the Universitas 21 (U21) network, a global network of 27 research universities from around the world, promoting research collaboration and exchange of knowledge.

    Numerous distinctions highlight the University’s international renown in the fields of medicine, immunology, genetics, neuroscience and structural biology as well as in economics. To date, the Nobel Prize has been conferred on twelve UZH scholars.

    Sharing Knowledge

    The academic excellence of the University of Zürich brings benefits to both the public and the private sectors not only in the Canton of Zürich, but throughout Switzerland. Knowledge is shared in a variety of ways: in addition to granting the general public access to its twelve museums and many of its libraries, the University makes findings from cutting-edge research available to the public in accessible and engaging lecture series and panel discussions.

    1. Identity of the University of Zürich

    Scholarship

    The University of Zürich (UZH) is an institution with a strong commitment to the free and open pursuit of scholarship.

    Scholarship is the acquisition, the advancement and the dissemination of knowledge in a methodological and critical manner.

    Academic freedom and responsibility

    To flourish, scholarship must be free from external influences, constraints and ideological pressures. The University of Zürich is committed to unrestricted freedom in research and teaching.

    Academic freedom calls for a high degree of responsibility, including reflection on the ethical implications of research activities for humans, animals and the environment.

    Universitas

    Work in all disciplines at the University is based on a scholarly inquiry into the realities of our world

    As Switzerland’s largest university, the University of Zürich promotes wide diversity in both scholarship and in the fields of study offered. The University fosters free dialogue, respects the individual characteristics of the disciplines, and advances interdisciplinary work.

    2. The University of Zurich’s goals and responsibilities

    Basic principles

    UZH pursues scholarly research and teaching, and provides services for the benefit of the public.

    UZH has successfully positioned itself among the world’s foremost universities. The University attracts the best researchers and students, and promotes junior scholars at all levels of their academic career.

    UZH sets priorities in research and teaching by considering academic requirements and the needs of society. These priorities presuppose basic research and interdisciplinary methods.

    UZH strives to uphold the highest quality in all its activities.
    To secure and improve quality, the University regularly monitors and evaluates its performance.

    Research

    UZH contributes to the increase of knowledge through the pursuit of cutting-edge research.

    UZH is primarily a research institution. As such, it enables and expects its members to conduct research, and supports them in doing so.

    While basic research is the core focus at UZH, the University also pursues applied research.

     
  • richardmitnick 10:09 am on April 21, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Environmental DNA reveals secret reef inhabitants", A new method: environmental DNA (eDNA), , Global warming and human activities are causing coral reefs to disappear at an alarming rate., , The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH), Using eDNA the researchers found a 16 percent higher diversity of reef fishes than through conventional survey methods.   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “Environmental DNA reveals secret reef inhabitants” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    4.21.22
    Peter Rüegg

    An international research team use a global sampling of seawater to reveal which tropical reef fish occur where. To identify species and families, they successfully used the residual DNA shed by the animals present in the water. But not all fish can be traced in this way.

    1
    Coral reefs are home to a wide variety of different fish species. Photograph: Adobe Stock.

    Tropical coral reefs are colourful, beautiful – and rich in species. The diversity among fish is particularly high: researchers estimate that coral reefs are home to as many as 8,000 species of fish worldwide.

    However, global warming and human activities are causing coral reefs to disappear at an alarming rate, and how many species of reef fish there are and where they are distributed has not yet been accurately quantified.

    One reason is that many fish species lead very secretive lives, are very similar to each other or live partly in the open sea and are therefore difficult to detect. To record the presence of fish in an area, biodiversity research has mostly depended on visual observations by divers (or catching fish).

    Now, a new method is making its way into ecology that circumvents such difficulties: environmental DNA (eDNA). The idea of this new approach is that organisms leave their genetic material or parts of it in the environment.

    With this approach, the researchers have only to take water samples at one location, isolate the DNA (fragments) contained therein and sequence them, i.e. determine the order of DNA building blocks. Then they can compare the sequences with reference DNA sequences that come from reliably identified specimens – and can determine whether a species occurs at the location in question.

    This is the method used by an international team led by researchers from The University of Montpellier [Université de Montpellier](FR) and ETH Zürich to study the occurrence of reef fish.

    In 2017 and 2019, the researchers collected 226 water samples at 26 sites in 5 tropical marine regions. They isolated and analysed the DNA, which they then assigned to the corresponding species or families.

    One-​sixth greater diversity detected

    Using eDNA the researchers found a 16 percent higher diversity of reef fishes than through conventional survey methods such as visual observations during dives. “Thanks to the eDNA method, we can detect many fish species and families much faster than with observations alone,” says Loïc Pellissier, Professor of Ecosystems and Landscape Evolution at ETH Zürich. He is one of the two lead authors of a study that has just been published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society. The DNA analyses were completed after only two years, but the visual observations that informed the study came from countless observers and cover 13 years of observation activity.

    2
    Divers usually find fewer species than laboratory researchers using environmental DNA. Photograph: Adobe Stock.

    With the new approach, the researchers discovered more species swimming in the open water (pelagic), reef-​bound species, and species that inhabit the numerous caves and crevices in reefs (cryptobenthic). Divers see or identify such fish with less frequency.

    Many of the recorded pelagic species prefer the open sea or greater depths. Some belong to families that avoid divers or do not live permanently in coral reefs, such as mackerel and tuna in the family Scombridae as well as sharks from the family Carcharhinidae (requiem sharks, e.g. the blacktip reef shark).

    The discovery of these species is important because they are actively involved in the function of a coral reef through their pelagic larval stages or their nocturnal migrations to the reef. The role these fishes play in the ecosystem is thus often underestimated.

    Visual observations are (still) necessary

    However, not all species can be recorded equally easily using eDNA, such as wrasses (Labridae) or blennies (Blenniidae). Reference databases cover these species-​rich families only partially, Pellissier says. Because of these gaps, a considerable part of the eDNA found in the water samples has not yet been assigned.

    Extraordinary diversity in the Coral Triangle

    The researchers also confirmed earlier findings that the composition of species varies widely among marine bioregions. Fish diversity is exceptionally high in the “Coral Triangle” between Borneo, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines – up to five times higher than in the Caribbean, for example. Herbivores (including coral-​eating species) are particularly abundant there.

    According to Pellissier, this has to do with the fact that throughout Earth’s history, the Coral Triangle was (and still is) very tectonically active, producing a wide range of habitats. The surface temperature of this marine area was also more stable during the ice ages, which is why an especially high diversity was able to unfold.

    The Caribbean, on the other hand, was more subject to the regime of the ice ages, and its coral reefs and fish stocks shrank during the cold periods. In addition, the Isthmus of Panama was formed more than 2.7 million years ago, which, among other things, changed the ocean currents in the Caribbean. Both events led to higher extinctions.

    International cooperation

    For this study, one sponsor of the research consortium was Monaco Explorations, an organisation of the Prince of Monaco. The organisation provided the scientists with a research vessel for the first part of the project, which enabled them to collect water samples in the Caribbean and off the Colombian coast. More samples were collected on separate trips, also funded by Monaco’s government.

    “For me as a Swiss researcher, it was enormously important to be part of an international collaboration,” Pellissier says. Without connections to his French, Colombian, Indonesian and Australian partners, he would not have been able to carry out this study. He adds: “We can’t do isolated research at this level in Switzerland.”

    Another expedition to collect water samples is planned for later this year. This time, the researchers want to sample the tropical waters of the Indian Ocean between South Africa and the Seychelles. The expedition, which will complement the sampling conducted in previous years, also had to be postponed because of the coronavirus.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas The University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of Cambridge (UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK) .

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE Excellence Ranking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London (UK) and the University of Cambridge (UK), respectively.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:26 am on April 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Neural network can read tree heights from satellite images", , , , , NASA Goddard GEDI instrument, The first high-​resolution global vegetation height map for 2020 from satellite images., The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “Neural network can read tree heights from satellite images” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    4.20.22
    Stéphanie Hegelbach

    Using an artificial neural network, researchers at ETH Zürich have created the first high-​resolution global vegetation height map for 2020 from satellite images. This map could provide key information for fighting climate change and species extinction, as well as for sustainable regional development planning.

    1
    Researchers at ETH Zürich have developed a world map that for the first time uses machine learning to derive vegetation heights from satellite images in high resolution. Image: EcoVision Lab.

    Last year marked the beginning of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. This initiative is aimed at halting the degradation of ecosystems by 2030, preventing it going forward and, if possible, remedying the damage that has already been done. Delivering on these kinds of projects calls for accurate foundations, such as surveys and maps of the existing vegetation.

    In an interview, Ralph Dubayah, the Principal Investigator of The National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) mission, explains: “We simply do not know how tall trees are globally. […] We need good global maps of where trees are. Because whenever we cut down trees, we release carbon into the atmosphere, and we don’t know how much carbon we are releasing.”

    Analysing and preparing precisely this kind of environmental data is what the EcoVision Lab in the ETH Zürich Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering specialises in. Founded by ETH Zürich Professor Konrad Schindler and The University of Zurich [Universität Zürich](CH) Professor Jan Dirk Wegner in 2017, this lab is where researchers are developing machine learning algorithms that enable automatic analysis of large-​scale environmental data. One of those researchers is Nico Lang. In his doctoral thesis, he developed an approach – based on neural networks – for deriving vegetation height from optical satellite images. Using this approach, he was able to create the first vegetation height map that covers the entire Earth: the Global Canopy Height Map.

    The map’s high resolution is another first: thanks to Lang’s work, users can zoom in to as little as 10×10 metres of any piece of woodland on Earth and check the tree height. A forest survey of this kind could lead the way forward particularly in dealing with carbon emissions, as tree height is a key indicator of biomass and the amount of carbon stored. “Around 95 percent of the biomass in forests is made up of wood, not leaves. Thus, biomass strongly correlates with height,” explains Konrad Schindler, Professor of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing.

    Trained with laser scanning data from space

    But how does a computer read tree height from a satellite image? “Since we don’t know which patterns the computer needs to look out for to estimate height, we let it learn the best image filters itself,” Lang says. He shows his neural network millions of examples – courtesy of the images from the two Copernicus Sentinel-​2 satellites operated by the European Space Agency (ESA).

    These satellites capture every location on Earth every five days with a resolution of 10×10 metres per pixel. They are the highest-​quality images currently available to the public.

    The algorithm must also have access to the correct answer – that is, the tree height derived from space laser measurements from NASA’s GEDI mission.

    2
    Instrument Overview – NASA Goddard GEDI instrument.

    “The GEDI mission delivers globally distributed, sparse data on the vegetation height between the latitudes of 51 degrees north and south, so the computer sees many different vegetation types in the training process,” Lang explains. With the input and answer, the algorithm can acquire the filters for textural and spectral patterns itself. Once the neural network has been trained, it can automatically estimate the vegetation height from the more than 250,000 images (some 160 terabytes of data) needed for the global map.

    In specialist jargon, Lang’s neural network is known as a convolutional neural network (CNN). The “convolution” is a mathematical operation in which the algorithm slides a 3×3 pixel filter mask over the satellite image to obtain information on brightness patterns in the image. “The trick here is that we stack the image filters. This gives the algorithm contextual information, since every pixel, from the previous convolution layer, already includes information about its neighbours,” Schindler says. As a result, the EcoVision Lab was the first to successfully use satellite maps to also reliably estimate tree heights of up to 55 metres.

    Because their many layers make these neural networks “deep”, this method is also called “deep learning”. It heralded a major revolution in image processing around ten years ago. However, dealing with the sheer amount of data remains very challenging: calculating the global vegetation height map would take a single powerful computer three years. “Fortunately, we have access to the ETH Zürich high-​performance computing cluster, so we didn’t have to wait three years for the map to be calculated,” Lang says with a laugh.

    3
    ETH Zürich high-​performance computing cluster. Credit: ETH.

    Transparency by estimating uncertainties

    Lang didn’t prepare just one CNN for this task, but several. This is known as an ensemble. “An important aspect for us was also letting users know the uncertainty of the estimate,” he says. The neural networks – five altogether – were trained independently of each other, with each one returning its own estimate of tree height. “If all the models agree, then the answer is clear based on the training data. If the models arrive at different answers, it means there is a higher uncertainty in the estimate,” Lang explains. The models also incorporate uncertainties in the data itself: if a satellite image is hazy, for instance, the uncertainty is greater than when atTo allow this research to continue, the map and its source code will be made publicly accessible (see link). The first interested parties have already been in touch: Walter Jetz, a professor at Yale University, wants to use the Global Canopy Height Map for biodiversity modelling. However, the map could also be of interest to governments, administrative bodies and NGOs. “Thanks to Sentinel-​2, vegetation height can be recalculated every five days, making it possible to monitor rainforest deforestation,” Lang says.

    In addition, he adds, it is now also possible to globally validate regional findings, such as the way tropical leaf canopies act as a climate buffer. Coupled with the High Carbon Stock Approach, which classifies forests according to their carbon storage and biodiversity value, the vegetation height map is an important foundation for maintaining and strengthening ecosystems. According to Lang’s calculations, vegetation with a height of more than 30 metres is found on only 5 percent of the landmass, and only 34 percent of it is located in protected areas.

    With the GEDI mission set to end in 2023, Lang’s newly developed approach offers the possibility to continue mapping vegetation height in future. However, getting the GEDI mission extended – something that is currently also being discussed in the media [The Guardian] internationally – is key to comparing its data with future satellite missions such as the ESA Biomass mission and calibrating the model for changes.

    Foundation for future ecological research

    Thanks to its high resolution, Lang’s global map provides detailed insights: “We have already discovered interesting patterns,” Schindler says. “In the Rocky Mountains, for example, forests are managed in fixed sections, and the rainforest also forms interesting structures that can’t be coincidental.” Now ecologists can interpret these captured patterns and data globally.

    Science paper:
    A high-resolution canopy height model of the Earth

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas The University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of Cambridge (UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK) .

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE Excellence Ranking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London (UK) and the University of Cambridge (UK), respectively.

     
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