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Science and technology in Switzerland

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Science and technology in Switzerland

The still active NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers are powered by Swiss-built motors.[1]
The Learning Center of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL). A famous building of the Lausanne campus.
The Swiss solar aircraft Solar Impulse 2 achieved the longest non-stop solo flight in history and plan to make the first solar-powered aerial circumnavigation of the globe in 2015.

Science and technology in Switzerland play an important role in economy as very few natural resources are available in the country. The Swiss National Science Foundation, mandated by the Federal government, is the most important institute promoting scientific research.

The raw output of scientific research from Switzerland consistently ranks within the top 20.[2]


  • Institutions 1
    • Universities 1.1
    • Research institutes 1.2
    • Museums 1.3
    • Researchers 1.4
  • Scientific fields 2
    • Astronomy and space program 2.1
    • Mathematics 2.2
    • Physics 2.3
    • Chemistry 2.4
    • Engineering 2.5
    • Biological and earth sciences 2.6
    • Psychology 2.7
  • Notes and references 3
  • See also 4
  • External links 5



The first university, the University of Basel, was founded in 1460 and today the country has twelve universities.

Research institutes



With 57% of its researchers coming from other countries, Switzerland is the country with the world highest proportion of foreign researchers.[4][5]

Scientific fields

Astronomy and space program

Oerlikon Space supplies the payload fairings for the Ariane 5 launcher.

Switzerland Space Agency, the Swiss Space Office, has been involved in various space technologies and programs. In addition it was one of the 10 founders of the European Space Agency in 1975 and is the seventh largest contributor to the ESA budget. In the private sector, several companies are implicated in the space industry such as Oerlikon Space (payload fairing) or Maxon Motors (mars rovers).

Claude Nicollier is a Swiss Astronaut and flew several missions with the United States space program.

In the field of astronomy, Michel Mayor discovered in 1995, 51 Pegasi B, the first extrasolar planet orbiting a sun-like star.[6]


Leonhard Euler is considered to be the preeminent mathematician of the 18th century and one of the greatest of all time. A statement attributed to Pierre-Simon Laplace expresses Euler's influence on mathematics: "Read Euler, read Euler, he is the master of us all." [7] Euler made important discoveries in fields as diverse as calculus and graph theory. He also introduced much of the modern mathematical terminology and notation, particularly for mathematical analysis, such as the notion of a mathematical function.

The Bernoulli family produced many notable scientists (Bernoulli number, Bernoulli's principle, Bernoulli's rule...).


Albert Einstein (naturalized in 1901) [8] was probably one of the greatest physicists of all time. He is known for his theory of relativity and specifically mass–energy equivalence, expressed by the equation E = mc2 and also contributed in many other areas (cosmology, solid state physics). Einstein was named "Person of the Century" by the Time.

More recently, in 1987, Karl Alexander Müller received the Nobel prize for his work on High-temperature superconductivity.

Furthermore, the Geneva.


In the field of chemistry Germain Henri Hess is known for his discovery of the Hess's law. Albert Hofmann discovered the Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Paul Hermann Müller received the Nobel prize for his discovery of the insecticidal qualities of DDT.


Biological and earth sciences

Friedrich Miescher was a Swiss physician who was the first researcher to isolate and characterize Nucleic acid (DNA). Today, a research institute in Basel (the Friedrich Miescher Institute, FMI) is named after him.[9] Emil Theodor Kocher (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1909) was known for his work in the physiology, pathology and surgery of the thyroid. The neurologist Walter Rudolf Hess (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1949) mapped the areas of the brain that were responsible for the control of several vital bodily functions. The biochemist Werner Arber (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1978) is known for his discovery of restriction endonucleases which are essential for all modern biotechnology. The Swiss born Edmond H. Fischer (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1992) discovered how reversible phosphorylation works as a switch to activate proteins. Rolf M. Zinkernagel (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1996) is famous for his work on the immune system.


Carl Jung (1875-1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist and the founder of Analytical Psychology. Jung is considered the first modern psychiatrist to view the human psyche as "by nature religious" and make it the focus of exploration.

Notes and references

  • Swiss technology powers Mars mission,
  • Oerlikon Space
  1. ^ Swiss technology powers Mars mission 20 February 2002
  2. ^ Top 20 Country Rankings in All Fields, 2006, Thomson Corporation, retrieved 30 March 2009.
  3. ^
  4. ^ (French) Olivier Dessibourg, "La Suisse, carrefour de la circulation des cerveaux", Le Temps, Thursday 15 November 2012, p. 14.
  5. ^ See also academic mobility.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Dunham, William (1999). Euler: The Master of Us All. The Mathematical Association of America. xiii. "Lisez Euler, lisez Euler, c'est notre maître à tous."
  8. ^
  9. ^

See also

External links

  • Official portal of Swiss universities
  • All Swiss university programmes
  • Swiss portal for research and innovation
  • The State Secretariat for Education and Research
  • The Ranking Forum of Swiss Universities

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