Kathrin Ernst and Miriam Marti were awarded the Swiss Youth in Science special prize.





Swiss Youth in Science

Swiss Youth in Science

Scientific research and discovery by the young

The future is all about perspectives: they are a motivating influence and a source of security and confidence. That is why Swiss Life’s Perspectives Foundation supports charitable initiatives in the areas of health, science, education, culture and sport as a means of giving people new perspectives.

Research shapes the future. And research should be fun. That is why the foundation Swiss Youth in Science has been promoting the joys of science for over 40 years. It runs various programmes to get young people interested in science.

The foundation runs study weeks for young people from a range of age groups, where they get to experience and discover for themselves the world of research. The budding scientists also have the opportunity to submit their research to the annual national competition. Every year, the competition and study weeks bring forth new discoveries and success stories.

The Swiss Youth in Science foundation was founded in 1970 by Adolf Portmann. Mr Portmann was a young man with a thirst for knowledge who lacked the means to pursue his interest. After retiring, his experiences as a youth led him to organise a national research competition for young people. Three years later this resulted in the creation of Swiss Youth in Science. Swiss Life’s Perspectives foundation has supported Swiss Youth in Science for several years.

Prize winners

The national competition run by Swiss Youth in science received 64 entries in 2011. 18 of them received the accolade “good”, 27 “very good” and 19 “excellent”. 23 entries were awarded a special prize.

Kathrin Ernst and Miriam Marti

Design, construction and analysis of a solar simulator using LED

The two Zofingen Kantonsschule pupils actually constructed a solar simulator using commercially available LED. The solar simulator can be used in research cells to test new materials for their efficiency and suitability for future solar cells. The two students, who completed the project as part of their school-leaving certificate (Matura), worked with the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa). The project certainly won over the jury. They were awarded the Swiss Youth in Science special prize and gained an invitation to join the International Science Summer Camp (ISSC) in Denmark, an international event for young people with an interest in science.

Pino Dietiker

A conscience issue – avoiding military service in Switzerland during the Cold War

There have never been more cases of people avoiding military service than from 1969-1995. Pino Dietiker has compiled an intriguing and varied chronicle based on ten detailed accounts of the experiences of draft dodgers during the Cold War. His work includes the protagonists’ personal stories, motivations and experiences, which are all very different from each other. Pino Dietiker’s interviews and written accounts are a new approach to researching this subject and, as such, form a basis for further studies. The author received the special prize from Academia Engelberg for his work.


The future starts here.