Visiting the researchers
Research within reach, on the pulse of the time: On 15 May 2022, the new exhibition in the Visitor Centre of the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI will be opened to the general public. It shows how the biggest research institute in the ETH Domain – and in Switzerland – addresses the important questions that society is facing, from the energy transition and the fight against cancer to the development of new technologies.
The Paul Scherrer Institute PSI is searching for sustainable solutions to central issues for society, business, and science. The new exhibition in the PSI Visitor Centre provides insight into current research. How do we ensure our future energy supply in a way that conserves natural resources? What does medicine have in store for us in the future? Which new technologies will advance our society?
Under the motto “Visiting the researchers”, 13 interactive thematic islands invite you to discover PSI and its wide-ranging research. Questions about storing energy from renewable sources are central here, as are the further development of medical diagnostics and therapies, the search for new materials for the development of novel electronics, and the realisation of future technologies such as quantum computers.
Encounters instead of explanations
At each thematic island, visitors encounter animated film portraits of PSI researchers that provide insight into their working environment and research priorities. Through interactive exhibits, you can virtually visit researchers at work and playfully immerse yourself in PSI’s research topics and their applications.
Mirjam van Daalen, head of the PSI Communication Department, explains the concept behind the new exhibition: “These personal encounters between visitors and researchers serve as the red thread that draws you through the whole exhibition.” The new exhibits and videos make it possible to experience the researchers and their work. Mirjam van Daalen stresses the fundamental motivation: “We want not only to inform visitors about our research, but also to inspire and thrill them.”
Around 12,000 visitors come to the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI every year and take advantage of the opportunity, free of charge, to find out more about the unique large research facilities and the diverse top-level research at this world-renowned institute. An exhibition with more than 20 interactive exhibits has been installed in the Visitor Centre since 1998 as a compact introduction to PSI’s research activities.
“After this long period of operation, a fundamental redesign of the exhibition was necessary,” emphasises Mirjam van Daalen. “The goal was to be able to offer a presentation of PSI’s research and its significance for Switzerland that would reflect the state of the art, both scientifically and in terms of museum design.”
Implementation of the new exhibition took two years and was made possible in part by support from the Canton of Aargau.
Opening on 15 May 2022
The new exhibition in the PSI Visitor Centre opens its doors as part of International Museum Day on Sunday, 15 May 2022. In addition to short tours through the new exhibition, there is a special offer for children on the programme from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The school laboratory iLab will also be open. Further information is available at www.psiforum.ch.
Text: Paul Scherrer Institute/Martina Gröschl
The Paul Scherrer Institute PSI develops, builds and operates large, complex research facilities and makes them available to the national and international research community. The institute's own key research priorities are in the fields of matter and materials, energy and environment and human health. PSI is committed to the training of future generations. Therefore about one quarter of our staff are post-docs, post-graduates or apprentices. Altogether PSI employs 2200 people, thus being the largest research institute in Switzerland. The annual budget amounts to approximately CHF 400 million. PSI is part of the ETH Domain, with the other members being the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne, as well as Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology), Empa (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology) and WSL (Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research). (Last updated in May 2021)