Latest articles about Innovation

1977: Lilith computer

In fall 1977, Niklaus Wirth, from the Institut für Informatik of ETH, initiated the development of a personal computer after returning from a sabbatical at Xerox PARC. Being unable to bring back a Xerox Alto from Palo Alto, he decided to build a system from scratch. The DISER Lilith was a computer based on an AMD 2901 bit-slice processor and had four hardware components: the system unit, the video display, the keyboard and the mouse. The Lilith was one of the first computer workstations worldwide with a high-resolution graphical display and a mouse.

1908: Cellophane

Cellophane was invented in 1908 by Swiss chemist Jacques E. Brandenberger. Inspired by seeing a wine spill on a restaurant’s tablecloth, he decided to create a cloth that could repel liquids rather than absorb them. In 1912 he built a machine to manufacture the film called Cellophane, from cellulose and diaphane (the French word for transparent). 

2017 : Cryo-microscopie électronique (Jacques Dubochet, Prix Nobel)

En 2017 Jacques Dubochet a reçu le prix Nobel de chimie pour avoir développé la technique de cryo-microscopie électronique utilisée pour déterminer la structure à haute résolution des protéines en solution. La cryo-microscopie électronique est une technique de préparation d’échantillons utilisée en microscopie électronique.

1999: Fehr & Schmidt introduced A Theory of Fairness, Competition, and Cooperation

When this work was published most economic models routinely assumed that material self-interest is the sole motivation of all people engaging in economic activities. In such models fairness considerations or preferences for cooperation don’t play a role when researchers analyze the outcome of economic interactions. However, there is evidence suggesting that some people care about fairness or have a preference for cooperation.

1941: Velcro

Hook-and-loop fasteners, hook-and-pile fasteners or touch fasteners, commonly known as Velcro, is the brainchild oftheSwiss engineer George de Mestral.

1981: The Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM)

The Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) images material surfaces at the atomic level. It was developed by Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer at the IBM Research Laboratory in Rüschlikon, Zürich in 1981. They were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for this invention in 1986. For the STM to work, the measured sample must conduct electricity i.e. be a metal or semiconductor. The STM is particular useful for studies in the field of e.g. nanoelectronics.

1713: The Bernoulli Distribution and Probability Theory

Formulated by Jacob Bernoulli from Basel, the Bernoulli Distribution describes events having exactly two outcomes e.g. if a flipped coin will come up heads or not, if a rolled dice will be a 6 or another number, or whether you do or do not click the “Read more” link in this post!

1869: Friedrich Miescher discovers nucleic acid

Friedrich Miescher was a physician and professor of physiology at the University of Basel. He is known as the discoverer of nucleic acids as acidic components of the cell nucleus – the foundation stone for the discovery of DNA and thus for understanding inheritance in the 20th century.

1905: The Special Theory of Relativity

In 1905, Albert Einstein determined that the laws of physics are identical for all non-accelerating observers, and that the speed of light in a vacuum is independent of the motion of all observers. This is referred to as the Special Theory of Relativity. It introduced a new framework for all of physics and proposed an interweaving of space and time into spacetime. A building block of his theory is that of mass-energy equivalence, defined by the most famous equation in physics, E=mc2.
In 1915, Einstein added the effects of gravitation (acceleration) to form the General Theory of Relativity.

1738: Hydrodynamica and Bernoulli’s Principle

In fluid dynamics, Bernoulli’s principle, a particular example of the conservation of energy, states that an increase in the speed of a fluid occurs simultaneously with a decrease in pressure or a decrease in the fluid’s potential energy. The principle is named after Basel based mathematician Daniel Bernoulli who published it in his book Hydrodynamica in 1738. Bernoulli is regarded as the founding father of fluid dynamics. A consequence of his principle is that if the velocity increases then the pressure falls. This is exploited by the wing of an aircraft, which is designed to create an area of fast flowing air above its surface. The pressure of this area is lower and so the wing is pulled upwards