ETH Zürich und die Basler Chemie – eine grosse Tradition ETH Zürich und die Basler Chemie – eine grosse Tradition


  • Dieter Seebach



Chemical industry in basel, Eth zurich chemistry, History, Relationship eth - basel


A historic account of the traditional relationship between the Chemistry Department of ETH Zürich and the Chemical Industry in Basel is presented. The development of ETH Zürich from a Swiss polytechnical school to one of the leading research institutions in the world and the growth of the Swiss companies in the 'Dreiländereck' from dye-stuff producers to global top-players in the pharma- and agro businesses are shown to be closely connected. The strong personality of chemists such as Ruzicka, Reichstein, Karrer, Stoll, and Prelog is correlated with these unique parallel evolutions. Recent changes, both in chemical research and in chemical industry, have led to a new situation in which the ETH Zürich chemistry department competes globally for the best students and researchers, and in which the companies do not only business, but also research, development, production, and thus hiring, on a global scale. As chemistry moves into the bio-, medical-, and material sciences we have to safeguard a strong emphasis in teaching the basics of our science (inorganic, organic, physical chemistry, analysis and synthesis – the core of chemistry), and at the same time make sure that our students and researchers learn the language(s) of the 'neighboring' sciences to be optimally prepared for jobs in industry. In addition, ETH Zürich and industry in Basel must continue to provide, at least to some extent, unrestricted funding and support of the research groups in Zürich to ensure continuing success in the international competition. This will contribute substantially to the survival of a great tradition.






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