Davos, the highest-altitude city in the Alps, has achieved an excellent reputation as a science city. Among experts, Davos' strong
brand is - among other factors - based on the innovative aura of the established research institutes in the Landwasser Valley. The Davos-based education and research institutes stand for a
top-level performance and generate research assignments from all over the world.
The research and education institutes represent an essential cornerstone for the regional economy, they stand for much more than just an important reputation factor. Davos trusts in the future generations and educates them on-site. On the one hand, this strengthens the traditional institutes such as the Vocational School Davos, the Swiss Alpine Secondary School, the Swiss Sports High School or the Graduate School Graubünden. On the other hand, it should prevent the "brain drain" by creating location advantages which attract highly-qualified staff and their families to Davos.
A modern education structure with a long tradition builds a solid base for the Science City Davos. Also for researchers and
scientists with an academic background, the existence of a well-established education network with secondary and high schools might be a relevant criterion for a relocation to Davos. The
education institutes add value to the location and therefore play an important role in the Science City Davos. Read more...
The research location Davos consists of six institutes with more than 400 multifaceted workplaces for highly qualified employees. According to a recent study, only the four biggest institutes generate a total net product of about 40 million Swiss Francs a year.
The Davos-based research institutes focus on current global health and environment risks and enjoy an excellent international reputation.
Davos and the Canton of Grisons are home to a variety of organizations which offer access to an efficient national and international network opening doors to influencial business partners. Due to this network, new ideas are generated, picked up by companies and developed into marketable products. The product development therefore bases on top-level and contemporary technologies. Read more...
Women in Science and Space, Fascination with the Sun
Please take part at the event with Prof. Dr. Louise Harra. Here you can save a place:
Welcome Major Philipp Wilhelm to the Governing Board of Science City Davos
Philipp Wilhelm joined the Governing Board of Science City Davos at the beginning of 2021. We asked him for a short news after joining us. Here is the statement form our new Governing Board member.
I am very happy to be a board member of the Society, Science City Davos since the beginning of 2021 and for this reason also part of a very valuable science network in Davos. Since 2021 I am the mayor of Davos, which motivates me daily to work for Davos and it's population. In Monstein I enjoyed a beautiful childhood in the magnificent mountain world, where I attended kindergarten and elementary school. Afterwards I attended the Swiss Alpine Secondary School Davos (SAMD) and completed my matura there. This opened the doors to the ETH in Zurich for me (ETHZ), where I studied architecture and graduated with a Master's degree in architecture in 2015. As mayor of Davos I am involved as a member of the Board of Trustees of the SFI Research Institute, the E.L. Kirchner Foundation, the Davos Festival Foundation, the Davos Sports High School Foundation and I am a member of the Board of Directors of Destination Davos Klosters.
In my free time I like to play the guitar, run on the wonderful trails around Davos and have also discovered cross-country skiing in the Corona pandemic winter. Science City Davos is a very important network for the region and combines an incredible variety of research, innovation, education and health topics. I am very happy to be part of this board in the future to strengthen Davos.
Welcome Prof Harra to the Governing Board of Science City Davos
Prof Louise Harra speaks to us here of her new appointments and some questions she receives in Davos. As the new president of Science City Davos, I am extremely happy as my first role to welcome Professor Harra to our team and our community. The Governing Board unanimously welcomed her nomination as soon as I started this January. Prof RG Richards 09/03/2021.
I arrived in Davos in June 2019 to take up the directorship at PMOD/WRC and professorship at the Institute of Particle Physics and Astronomy at the department of physics in ETH-Zürich. Before that I was a physics professor at UCL-Mullard Space Science Laboratory (UCL-MSSL) in the UK. The main focus of UCL-MSSL is to design and develop instruments on space science missions. My area of research is understanding activity on our Sun, and in order to do that I have been involved in several space missions during my career. These missions are all international projects, with collaborations across many countries in Europe, Japan and USA. The most recent one launched (in February 2020) is the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter mission. I was involved in one of the instruments for nearly 2 decades before launch, and through that instrument I came to know and work with PMOD/WRC.
I didn’t have a career plan to become involved in space missions when I was at school – but growing up in Northern Ireland I was lucky enough to have a Planetarium close by. School trips to the planetarium inspired us about to look and wonder at the sky. The importance of communicating science in this way is without a doubt the best way to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. Simply making everyone aware of the excitement of scientific discovery is something you can enjoy your whole life even if it isn’t your professional job.
Questions most frequently asked to me when we moved here are:
‘Do you ski?’ The answer was no – but this year I have had a couple of lessons to start me off on the slopes (thanks to Davos ski school and a very patient teacher!).
‘Do you speak German?’ The answer again was no – I only studied French at school back in Northern Ireland. But have been taking German lessons since we arrived and hope to develop language skills while we are here.
‘Is Davos too quiet?’ The answer is also no – my previous place of work was in the countryside south of London, chosen partly for the clean air and lack of vibration for the delicate instruments built there. In the same way, Davos is ideal for the instruments built, calibrated and operated at PMOD/WRC. They are outside the building and on the roof – and the regular clear sunny days that Davos enjoys is important for their operation. Indeed, instruments from Davos are located all around the world, monitoring and aiming to understand the Earth’s climate. So, with my husband, we lived in a cottage in a small village with only one pub! Now we live in Davos, which has many more pubs and restaurants – and of course beautiful mountains!
The future for PMOD/WRC is bright. We have a new strengthening link to ETH-Zürich through my joint appointment, and plans are underway for new instrument development both on the ground and space – all focused on improving our understand of the Sun’s activity, and the changes to the Earth’s climate. The tasks we are undertaking are listed here:
- World Radiation Center: serve as an international calibration center for meteorological radiation instruments and develop radiation instruments for use on the ground and in space.
- Space projects: develop instruments for imaging and radiation measurements of the Sun.
- Technology: underpin the design and development of the instruments for ground and space.
- Climate science: research the Earth’s ozone layer and climate evolution
- Solar Science: research the causes of solar activity.
- Teaching: carry out teaching at different levels at ETH-Zürich.
Prof. Louise Harra, member of the Science City Governing Board.
Director Physikalisch-Meteorologische Observatorium Davos/World Radiation Center (PMOD/WRC)
Dorfstrasse 33, CH-7260 Davos Dorf
Davos knows more, 28. January - 22. April 2021
Davos has one of the highest densities of natural scientists in Switzerland. Everyone should benefit from this!
Please find more information here and join the sessions.
Kinderuni Davos 2021 (2. - 7. August 2021)
At kinderuni, children become researchers, programmers and discoverers. The children choose one of the three projects and explore the universe, program robots or take creative photos.
They present the results of the week at the closing event on Friday, to which the parents and siblings are invited. In addition, of course, there is enough time for games, lots of fun and sports.
More information can be found here: www.kinderuni-davos.ch
New research centre to explore climate change and natural hazards in the Alpine region
The Canton of Grisons and the Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) are establishing a new research centre employing up to 40 people in Davos. From January 2021, the centre will examine social and economic issues connected with climate change, extreme events and natural hazards in mountainous regions. ETH Zurich will also be involved, through two professorships.
Further information can be found here.
Solar Orbiter: Sun mission blasts off
"Solar Orbiter" is a space probe which was launched into space in Florida with a rocket. The goal is to better understand the eruptions of the sun.
Also on board is an X-ray telescope, which was co-developed by the Physical Meteorological Observatory Davos (PMOD). The PMOD was involved in the construction of two instruments, the Extreme Ultraviolet Imager (EUI) and the Spectral Imaging of the Coronal Environment (SPICE).
The EUI is intended to provide image sequences of the atmospheric solar layers and thus establish an indispensable link between the solar surface and the outer corona. SPICE also operates in the extreme ultraviolet range and is intended to characterize plasma properties of the solar corona.
Further information can be found here.
New members Physical Meteorological Observatory and the Hochgebirgsklinik Davos
We welcome the Davos Physical Meteorological Observatory and the Hochgebirgsklinik Davos as new members of Sciencecity Davos.
General Meeting 2019
The general meeting 2019 of the Science City Davos took place on 26 June 2019 in the Davos Congress Centre. The annual accounts and the annual report 2018 were unanimously approved. After the meeting, the AO Foundation offered an Aperitif to all participants. Many thanks for that!
Research in Davos
Interview with Professor Geoff Richards, Director of AO Research Institute, about the unique advantages of doing research in a multinational village in the Swiss mountains.
New book about Davos: the alpine climate has a curing effect indeed
The recently published book «Davos - zwischen Bergzauber und Zauberberg» was initiated by the Science City Davos. With a variety of unknown facts, figures and
sources and interviews with local personalities, Franco Item presents a colorful overview of our history.
Further information and order form (in German only)
New bachelor studies at Fachhochschule Graubünden in Chur: Photonics
Geoff Richards is proud of the new offering at the Fachhochschule Graubünden in Chur:
"Photonics technology is the foundation of most modern daily life aids from smartphones to laptops, is the basis of many medical instruments from X-Rays and MRI to modern thermometers and naturally is very important in all research from light and electron microscopes to laser based cell sorting machines. Photonics is everywhere, but until now missing as an individual course in education in Switzerland. It is great news for local industry, including hospitals and our research institutes in Davos that the Fachhochschule Graubünden will lead in Switzerland with the first bachelors in photonics, providing the right educated personnel for jobs in these areas."
Prof. R. Geoff Richards FBSE Director AO Research Institute Davos
Vice President Science City Davos
In 1904, a merchant and scientist named Carl Dorno accompanied his daughter who was suffering from tuberculosis to Davos. One question bothered many scientists at this time: How is it possible that patients are cured from tuberculosis in Davos? Also Dorno wanted to know more details, thus he decided to build a meteorological station on the roof of his house, trying to explain the connection between the Davos climate and its medical benefit. As a consequence, Carl Dorno established the Physical-meteorological Observatory Davos (PMOD), financed from his private assets. With his "study on light and air in high mountain regions" published in 1911, Dorno explained the Radiation Climatology. Thus, Carl Dorno became the founder of the research location Davos, although he never succeeded in entirely clarifying the healing effects of the climate in Davos.
The association Science City Davos ("Wissensstadt Davos") aims at strengthening and expanding the research and education location
Davos. Moreover, research and education shall be embedded as a relevant economic pillar in the Canton of Grisons. The members consist of local and regional research institutes, clinics, education
organizations and further corporations or individuals with an interest in the science location Davos. Read more...