"Zurich, Downtown Switzerland"

Even though this is a slogan created by Zurich Tourism, there is some truth in it. Zurich is the economic capital of Switzerland. With a population of merely some 400'000 people within the community borders, Zurich is the heart of an economic area that encompasses some 1.5 Million people, even reaching into southern Germany, from where many day commuters cross over the border for their daily work. Zurich is well-known for its financial industry, with all its implications. Note, however, that the legendary anonymous bank accounts that are only identified by a number have disappeared long ago - you meet them only in movies, nowadays.

Zurich is also beloved for its splendid location beneath the lake and its hills, and the quality of life it provides to its citizens. They sometimes think that traffic created by commuters is severe, but two Indian students who recently spent 6 months at ETH found that there is no traffic at all in the city. The truth lies somewhere between, I think.

For more information, see also the Wikipedia article about Zurich.

Some visual impressions

Education and Research

Of course, Zurich is also known for its world class technical university, ETH Zurich. ETH currently has some 14'000 students, of which more than 3200 are doctoral students. This figure highlights the importance of research at ETH. Teaching and research is carried out in 16 departments, spanning from architecture and civil engineering, mechanical and electrical engineering, and computer science to natural sciences, mathematics, physics, management and social sciences. ETH Zurich has been consistently ranked first on the European continent (fluctuating around rank 25 among the world's universities). So far, 21 Nobel laureates were associated with ETH Zurich, among them also Albert Einstein.

ETH Zurich is owned by the Swiss Confederation, just like its smaller sister, EPF Lausanne (EPFL).

Zurich also hosts the University of Zurich, a university covering all areas of arts and science, with some 24'000 students.

Both ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich are located in the city's centre, and each have a second campus located a few kilometers north-west of the center.

Just a few kilometers to the south-east is the location of the IBM Zurich Research Lab. There are many links between this lab and ETH Zurich; the most recent one is the establishment of a new nanotechnology laboratory in June 2009, as a joint venture of IBM and ETH.

IWSOS 2009 at ETH Zurich

IWSOS 2009 will be held in the classical main building of ETH, which was built between 1853 and 1864 by the famous architect (and ETH professor) Gottfried Semper, who also built the Dresden Opera House.

The conference hall: The Semper Aula

The conference will be in the most prestigious room of ETH, also dating back to the 19th century, the Semper Aula.

(Text by Bernhard Plattner)

Venue for IWSOS 2010