Exploring Science in Davos: EP5 Snow and avalanche research in Davos
When and where the next avalanche will happen is hard to predict. In a special cold laboratory in Davos, researchers simulate the effects of wind on fresh snow to better understand the mechanisms that trigger avalanches.For centuries, avalanches have posed a threat to mountain farmers and their livestock. With the development of winter tourism, roads, railways and hydropower plants, the interest in avalanche research and protective measures has grown.The origins of the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF date back to 1936, when a small group of researchers moved into a snow lab on the Weissfluhjoch summit above Davos. Today the institute monitors the conditions of avalanches throughout Switzerland, investigates the effects of climate change on snow cover and operates the national avalanche warning service.Researchers at the SLF study how snow is built up and how it changes under various conditions, how avalanches occur and how they move ov
21/11/2023 • 12 minutes 18 seconds
Exploring Science in Davos: EP4 How solar cycles influence climate?
Solar irradiance provides heat and light for life. It waxes and wanes with the cycle of solar activity, which currently cannot be predicted accurately. Solar storms can have a great impact on technology. In February 2022, a solar storm destroyed 40 Starlink satellites from Elon Musk’s company SpaceX. Researchers in Davos are collaborating on several space experiments to find out more about solar physics.In 1904 the Prussian businessman Carl Dorno travelled to Davos with his daughter, who was suffering from tuberculosis. In those days the Alpine town was a health resort for tuberculosis patients. As an amateur meteorologist, he began to build scientific instruments with the aim of investigating how the climate influenced our health. This was the birth of the Physical Meteorological Observatory Davos (PMOD).In the early 1970s, the observatory also became home to an international calibration centre for radiation measurements, the World Radiation Center (WRC). The ra
14/11/2023 • 12 minutes 10 seconds
Exploring Science in Davos: EP3 Why house dust mites, pollen and food additives cause allergies?
The small city of Davos in southeastern Switzerland, located at an altitude of 1,560m above sea level in the Swiss Alps, attracted tuberculosis patients back in the 1800s and 1900s after scientists discovered that clean mountain air had a positive effect on their health. However, with the development of antibiotics, the sanatoriums eventually lost their purpose. Today that same clean Davos air, marked by the absence of tree pollen, such as birch, oak or alder, minimal air pollution and extremely low amounts of indoor dust mites – presumably because of the cooler and dryer climate – is a draw for asthma and allergy patients seeking treatment in the town’s clinics.Allergic diseases have become more prevalent in recent decades. They now affect more than one billion people worldwide, with estimates suggesting there could be up to four billion sufferers by 2050. While the reasons for this are not yet fully understood, experts believe several factors can contribute significantly
07/11/2023 • 14 minutes 15 seconds
Exploring Science in Davos: EP2 Studying bones at the AO Research Institute Davos
Before 1960, broken bones were treated simply by using plaster casts or traction. Then 13 Swiss surgeons began rethinking fracture treatment: they standardised instruments, screws and nails, scientifically evaluated every operation, and started training surgeons. On their tour of Davos’s scientific communities, Sara and Michele go behind the scenes to see what new technologies are currently being developed.The AO Foundation in Davos has been a leader in research into the healing of bone fractures for decades. Today, more than 100 scientists and PhD students from all over the globe work at the AO Research Institute Davos (ARI), which is focused on pre-clinical research. They study biomechanics and the biology of bones, discs and cartilage, and work on new surgical techniques, tools and devices, such as "smart" implants that measure bone healing in patients.Some of ARI’s work depends on tests with live animals to ensure that studies are not affected by an
31/10/2023 • 12 minutes 35 seconds
Exploring Science in Davos: EP1 Orthopaedics gathering at the AO Davos Courses 2022
The Swiss town of Davos is famous for mountain slopes, winter sports and the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. But did you know that it also attracts scientists and doctors from all over the world? In this six-part video series, SWI swissinfo.ch journalists Sara Ibrahim and Michele Andina take you on a journey to discover five of Davos’s research institutes.In this first episode, they take you to the AO Davos Courses, a two-week training congress for surgeons learning to treat bone fractures. In hands-on workshops and online live surgeries, experts explain how to master everything from trauma surgery to prosthetics and joint replacement. Participants then practise 3-D models with drills and screws.This podcast is an audio version of the SWI swissinfo.ch video series with the same title. Find out more about science research in Switzerland on www.swissinfo.ch/science<
25/10/2023 • 9 minutes 30 seconds
Using sound to find prehistoric ruins under Lake Lucerne
Construction workers got a surprise recently while laying a pipeline underneath Lake Lucerne in central Switzerland. On the lake floor they found the traces of a prehistoric village! This finally confirmed a long-standing theory among archaeologists, who believed that people had lived in the area thousands of years ago.But why were the traces of their home so deep within the lake? Across Switzerland there are about 500 pile dwelling sites, but these are normally found along the shorelines of lakes. And how do archaeologists manage to unravel prehistoric findings underwater? On this episode of The Swiss Connection podcast, we take a boat ride to get to the bottom of this mystery. While onboard, we meet a team of international experts and learn about an unusual technique using sound to map the depths of a lake.
22/12/2021 • 22 minutes 2 seconds
Why these Japanese patients wanted to die in Switzerland
In this second part of our two-part series on assisted suicide, SWI reporter Kaoru Uda tells host Susan Misicka what it was like to accompany two Japanese patients who came to Switzerland to die.
29/11/2021 • 27 minutes 11 seconds
Why this Swiss doctor supports assisted suicide
Every year, over 1,000 seriously ill people end their lives in Switzerland with the help of suicide assistants. Assisted suicide is legal in several countries, including Switzerland, Canada and the Netherlands. A handful of other countries – like Germany and Colombia – are working out the legal and practical details.Some people even travel great distances to die in Switzerland because assisted suicide is illegal where they live. For example, a 104-year-old Australian man made the trip in 2018.One of the people who helped him was Erika Preisig, a Swiss doctor and the founder of Life Circle, which operates in Basel in the northern part of the country. She’s passionate in her belief that people should have the right to die. She’s even been charged with -- and later acquitted of -- murder. Long before she started doing assisted suicide, Preisig worked in palliative care. Then her father had a stroke and threatened to throw himself in front of a train. Pr
09/11/2021 • 11 minutes 38 seconds
Meet couples saying 'I do' to gay marriage
Now that Switzerland has approved marriage for all, host Susan Misicka talks with some couples who explain why it's important to them. We also hear from opponents of Swiss legislation granting same-sex couples the right to marry.
12/10/2021 • 20 minutes 50 seconds
Why we still need pens and pencils
In this encore episode of The Swiss Connection, we visit Swiss century-old pen and pencil maker Caran d'Ache. Podcast host Susan Misicka takes a tour of the factory and feels a bit silly when Caran d’Ache President Carole Hubscher sees her hasty choice of writing instrument.
28/09/2021 • 17 minutes 37 seconds
Typeface designer is in love with letters
Swiss designers gave us the big-name Helvetica and Frutiger typefaces in the 20th century. Now a modern-day designer from Basel is collaborating on a new font that we might soon be seeing a lot more of. Nina Stoessinger of Frere-Jones Type in Brooklyn talks about inspiration and challenges.
14/09/2021 • 16 minutes 10 seconds
Decrypting cryptocurrency and blockchain
How soon will we start buying our groceries with Bitcoin? What kind of scams do we need to be aware of? And why is Switzerland so sweet on cryptocurrencies and blockchain? SWI finance correspondent Matt Allen gives host Susan Misicka an overview of what he's learned while covering this scene over the past several years.
31/08/2021 • 25 minutes 40 seconds
Why people love the Locarno Film Festival
A gorgeous location for a film festival: Locarno in southern Switzerland. The international event features about 200 films in 10 days. But what makes the Locarno Film Festival so special? In this episode, SWI culture editor Eduardo Simantob tells podcast host Susan Misicka why he loves it.
12/08/2021 • 11 minutes 52 seconds
Meet the Swiss woman bringing open water swimming to Boston
Swiss architect Renata von Tscharner has devoted over two decades to improving the public spaces along the Charles River in Massachusetts. She even hopes to get people swimming in Boston's so-called "dirty water" on a regular basis. We met her at the Rhine River in her native Basel.
20/07/2021 • 21 minutes 18 seconds
Are nuclear weapons really banned?
In this episode host Susan Misicka introduces our sister podcast, Inside Geneva. Nuclear weapons were banned by international treaty at the start of 2021. But the treaty doesn’t apply to any of the nuclear powers, since none of them signed it. So are nukes really banned? Inside Geneva host Imogen Foulkes talks to Cordula Droege, Chief Legal Officer of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Beatrice Fihn of the International Campaign to Ban Nuclear Weapons, and Elaine Whyte Gomez, the ambassador from Costa Rica, who steered the treaty through the United Nations.
06/07/2021 • 32 minutes 4 seconds
Should kids be sweating for our chocolate cravings?
The success of Swiss chocolate depends on cocoa beans harvested far away, often with the help of minors. In this episode we discuss whether it's OK for children to work, and how to figure out if kids helped make your candy bar.
22/06/2021 • 23 minutes 52 seconds
What soil sounds like and why it matters
What does soil sound like, and what do those sounds mean? We find out from the world’s first scientist to use acoustics to research the soil and underground biodiversity. Also, we explore some of Zurich's greenspaces with a conservation biologist.
09/06/2021 • 18 minutes 5 seconds
Are electric cars and planes the way to go?
Switzerland missed its target to reduce its carbon footprint in 2020. But there are still some promising developments when it comes to electric mobility in Switzerland – on the roads and up in the air. In this episode we take a ride in an electric plane and kick the tires on Swiss electric car infrastructure.
26/05/2021 • 24 minutes 14 seconds
How to clean up the gold trade
In this follow-up to "The Dirt on Digging for Gold" we hear about some measures to make the gold trade more sustainable. Swiss anti-corruption champion Mark Pieth provides insight into the social problems sparked by gold mining. And members of the Swiss Better Gold Association share their experiences in Latin America.
12/05/2021 • 30 minutes 38 seconds
Strange days: checking in with Swiss people in America
The past year has been a strange time for all of us. It can be even harder if you’re an expat. One in ten Swiss people lives outside of Switzerland. In this episode, we hear from a few Swiss citizens who are living in the United States. They tell us how they’re experiencing the coronavirus pandemic and politics in their adopted homeland.
27/04/2021 • 18 minutes 55 seconds
What Covid-19 tells us about the pharma industry
Switzerland is the home of some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies. But when it comes to coronavirus vaccines, the Swiss pharma giants are not part of the discussion. How did they miss out? Or did they? And what does it mean for the next pandemic?
13/04/2021 • 21 minutes 16 seconds
How to catch a child sex offender
The case of a Swiss couple abusing Indian children – and getting away with it – shows the limits of the international police network.
30/03/2021 • 24 minutes 24 seconds
Crypto – a spy thriller made in Switzerland
Multiple spy agencies, secret documents, international intrigue, and a Swiss company's encryption machines are at the heart of this episode. But does anybody really know the whole story?
16/03/2021 • 25 minutes 25 seconds
Why women's suffrage took so long
Switzerland is celebrating a rather awkward anniversary this year. It was only 50 years ago that women got the right to vote at the federal level. What was the hold-up? And what’s still holding women back today?
02/03/2021 • 31 minutes 34 seconds
'Swiss Johnny Cash' Florian Fox walks the line between Zurich and Nashville
Sometimes changing names and continents is the best way to cope in a pandemic. For Swiss country music singer-songwriter Florian Fox, this meant moving to Nashville, Tennessee. He tells us why he's in the right place at the right time.
16/02/2021 • 33 minutes 9 seconds
The dirt on digging for gold
Switzerland is the world’s leading gold refiner. But in spite of efforts to make the supply chain more transparent, there are still some big questions about the origins of all this gold, and how it's extracted from the earth. In this episode we travel to Peru to find out what happens during the gold mining process.
02/02/2021 • 20 minutes 37 seconds
Part 3: Why do we get nostalgic?
Part three of a three-part series about the connection between nostalgia and homesickness. If a friend abandoned you in a foreign country, how angry would you be? And how healthy is it to dwell on the past?
19/01/2021 • 26 minutes 22 seconds
Part 2: Why do we get nostalgic?
Part two of a three-part series about the connection between nostalgia and homesickness. We "meet" a medical student who attended Basel University in the 17th century, and we try to retrace the steps of the Swiss mercenaries who inspired him.
05/01/2021 • 29 minutes 27 seconds
Part 1: Why do we get nostalgic?
Part one of a three-part series about the connection between nostalgia and homesickness. For this we travel back in time to join two backpackers exploring Europe in the 1980s, and we find out how they’re connected to Swiss mercenaries hitting the road in the 17th century.
22/12/2020 • 19 minutes 18 seconds
Moving back to Switzerland in a pandemic
In 2020, getting the kind of schooling you want for your kids sometimes meant moving halfway across the world, at the drop of a hat. Meet a Swiss woman in California who did just that.
16/12/2020 • 24 minutes 15 seconds
The jazz singer with Swiss folk roots
When you first see her with her sleek bob and glossy fingernails, it’s kind of surprising to learn that Gabriela Martina was raised on a farm. But it’s memories of her rural upbringing that power some of her music.Over a decade ago, she left her home in the Lucerne countryside to study jazz in the United States. Today, the vocalist and composer lives in Boston and teaches at her alma mater, the Berklee College of Music.Martina tries to mix her Swiss yodelling roots with jazz, soul, RnB, gospel and blues. Her latest album, Homage to Grämlis, tells stories about the farm where she grew up with her parents, grandmother, two sisters and a brother. Many of the songs are about how they tended animals and the land. It’s bittersweet as the family recently had to give up the farm.
19/04/2020 • 12 minutes 39 seconds
Inside Geneva: A decade of war in Syria
26/03/2020 • 26 minutes 32 seconds
Inside Geneva: the United Nations and China
22/03/2020 • 32 minutes 44 seconds
The sound of Nashville with a Swiss twist
15/03/2020 • 22 minutes 8 seconds
Inside Geneva: What should we be doing about human rights violations?
07/03/2020 • 32 minutes 13 seconds
Inside Geneva: How to deal with coronavirus?
11/02/2020 • 32 minutes 1 second
Inside Geneva: Why humanitarian groups go to Davos
22/01/2020 • 33 minutes 27 seconds
Why simultaneous interpreting is not for the faint-hearted
19/01/2020 • 15 minutes 36 seconds
Inside Geneva: What kind of year will it be for the UN?
12/01/2020 • 28 minutes 26 seconds
Science and diplomacy hope to save Red Sea coral
05/01/2020 • 12 minutes 20 seconds
Inside Geneva: Humanitarians and counter-terror laws
17/12/2019 • 27 minutes 26 seconds
Meet the woman steering Swiss foreign policy strategy
10/12/2019 • 12 minutes 36 seconds
Learning life skills at the circus
08/12/2019 • 13 minutes 57 seconds
Inside Geneva: How to cope with killer robots
21/11/2019 • 28 minutes 33 seconds
Mozambique: How a peace deal gets made
03/11/2019 • 11 minutes 46 seconds
Inside Geneva: Potential and pitfalls for Syrian peace talks
31/10/2019 • 25 minutes 11 seconds
Inside Geneva: How the Human Rights Council works
06/10/2019 • 27 minutes 52 seconds
Switzerland’s new US ambassador ‘fascinated’ to be in Washington
16/09/2019 • 13 minutes 28 seconds
Inside Geneva: populist rhetoric and humanitarian work