On the final day of our Advent Calendar, we congratulate Switzerland for being the world’s best in innovation. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) carries out an annual study of worldwide innovation and calculates an index called the Global Innovation Index (GII). Switzerland has come out on top for the last 8 years.
Solar Impulse is a Swiss long-range experimental solar-powered aircraft project, and also the name of the project’s two operational aircraft. The privately financed project was led by Swiss engineer and businessman André Borschberg and Swiss psychiatrist and balloonist Bertrand Piccard. The Solar Impulse project’s goals were to make the first circumnavigation of the Earth by a piloted fixed-wing aircraft using only solar power and to bring attention to clean technologies.
Scala, short for Scalable Language, is a hybrid functional programming language. It was created by Martin Odersky, professor of programming methods at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. Scala smoothly integrates the features of object-oriented and functional languages. Scala is compiled to run on the Java Virtual Machine. Many existing companies, who depend on Java for business-critical applications, are turning to Scala to boost their development productivity, applications scalability and overall reliability.
Since its creation in 1863, the ICRC’s sole objective has been to ensure protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and strife. Its story is about the development of humanitarian action, the Geneva Conventions and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
High-temperature superconductors (high-Tc or HTS) are materials that behave as superconductors at unusually high temperatures. The first high-Tc superconductor was discovered in 1986 by IBM researchers Georg Bednorz and K. Alex Müller, who were awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize in Physics “for their important break-through in the discovery of superconductivity in ceramic materials”.
In 1970, the physicists Martin Schadt and Wolfgang Helfrich invented the twisted nematic field effect (TN-effect) whilst working at Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, in Basel. This invention rapidly paved the way for commercial Liquid Crystal Displays (LCD), which are still in use today.
On the 13 November 1905 the patent of the turbocharger’s principle was granted to Alfred Büchi, a swiss engineer, and on the 16 November 1905 he received another patent for its application to internal combustion engines.
Named after Swiss physicist Felix Bloch, a Bloch wave (also called Bloch State; Bloch Function or Bloch Wave Function), is a type of wave function for a particle in a periodically-repeating environment, for example electrons moving in a semiconductor such as silicon (whose atoms form a crystal lattice). The application of Bloch’s theorem helps explain the formation of valence band and conduction bands in a semi-conductor. A Bloch wave description also applies to any wave-like phenomenon in a periodic medium such as photonic crystals,phononic crystals and diffraction.
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.
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).