Former Directorate Members
Peter Chen (2010–2014)
Professor Peter Chen was Vice-President of ETH Zürich for Research (2007–2009) and Director of Society in Science from 2010–2014. He oversaw the integration of the fellowship at ETH after the founder’s passing in October 2010 and directed the communication campaigns of the first few years which helped making the fellowship known throughout the world. In his research he combines detailed physical measurements with the planning and synthesis of molecules. This makes it possible to design and test intuitive models of the energetics and reactivity of reactive intermediates in organic and organometallic chemistry. Under normal conditions of reaction, these intermediate products have a very short life span, with their behavior providing a key to the understanding and control of the chemical process.
Olaf Kübler (2004–2010)
Professor Olaf Kübler was Vice-President for Research (1996–1997) and President of ETH Zürich (1997–2005). He directed Society in Science from 2006 to 2010 and established the foundations for the subsequent growth of the fellowship. Olaf Kübler received an education in theoretical physics at TU Karlsruhe, ETH Zurich (degree 1967), and the University of Heidelberg (PhD 1970). In 1972 he joined the Institute for Cell Biology of the ETH Zurich where he was responsible for creating a facility for computer processing of high resolution electron microscope images of biological structures. In 1979 he was appointed Professor of Image Sciences and founded a Computer Vision laboratory at the EE Department of ETH Zurich. Major activities of the laboratory, currently comprising 25 scientists, are: analysis of 2D and 3D medical images, modeling and visualization of laparoscopic surgery, robot vision, knowledge-based analysis of aerial and satellite images. He was guest researcher at major computer vision laboratories in the USA and France.
Helga Nowotny (2002–2004)
Professor Helga Nowotny, founding director of Society in Science – The Branco Weiss Fellowship (2002-2004), collaborated closely with Branco Weiss in designing and launching the Fellowship program. Prior, she was Professor of Science and Technology Studies at ETH Zurich (1995-2002) and director of Collegium Helveticum. Nowotny became a Founding Member of the European Research Council in 2006, serving as President from March 2010 to December 2013. She holds a doctorate in law from the University of Vienna and a PhD in sociology from Columbia University. Nowotny has taught and conducted research at various institutions globally, including King’s College, Cambridge, and École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Actively involved in research and innovation policy, she was Vice-President of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings and a Visiting Professor at NTU, Singapore. Currently, she serves on the Board of the Falling Walls Foundation, Berlin, the Austrian Council for Sciences, Technology, and Innovation, and chairs the Scientific Advisory Board of the Complexity Science Hub Vienna.