Society in Science Symposium 2016
Society in Science concluded its latest and thus far largest symposium in which the current 43 Branco Weiss fellows and a few former fellows participated. Previous symposia have shown that each fellow is keen to present his or her project during the annual meeting. The directorate thus accommodated 45 individual talks including time for lively discussions in only three days. In addition, the fellows participated in workshops about “bias in research“ and “career planning“ in academia. A highlight of the symposium was the panel discussion with three exciting fellows, moderated by alumni Marcel Salathé and George Slavich. The latter had travelled all the way from Los Angeles to participate for the 9th time in a Society in Science symposium. The experiences during the 5-year fellowship – highlights and failures – were discussed openly. The panel brought across the distinct culture of interaction between fellows and transmitted it to the nine new Branco Weiss fellows. Very few fellowships make sure that its members meet to exchange ideas. Branco Weiss made this a prerequisite because he realized how the fellows could benefit and learn from each other, thereby fostering true transdisciplinarity. In addition to talks and workshops the symposium participants visited ETH’s most recent research facility, the robotic fabrication lab, they enjoyed many hours of stimulating conversations over meals and drinks including a stroll through the woods. The participants agreed that this was indeed the best meeting so far.