Felix Seidel Caprez
NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, Caltech
In my youth I was very interested in aviation and wanted to become a pilot. When I learned to fly at the age of 16, I became fascinated by weather and air movement. I started to realize that what I actually wanted to do, learn how nature and especially our climate works. At the time, Earth Sciences at ETH Zurich was the only place that offered this as a topic of study. It eventually led me to what I still do today in the field.
Looking back, I always felt like there were missed opportunities for somehow closing the circle with the world outside, for staying involved and in giving back to the institution and the community. This gap was an unknown, one I hadn’t really thought about until I walked into the conversation with the ETH Circle at the Swiss Embassy in Washington D.C. in February 2019. It was immediately clear to me that this project is a unique opportunity to create a vibrant community that goes beyond the walls of the ETH building, and extends a relationship to the institution after leaving ETH, or even leaving Switzerland. There is so much talent nurtured at ETH that could add value in many ways both to ETH and members themselves. I see this as especially beneficial for young people going into a career who can get a bridge and guidance from the broader ETH community.
Take the way the mentoring programme pilot (which has a working group of ETH Circle members that I am part of) has taken off without difficulties. It gained strong internal interest and is a great illustration of what this group can achieve. I think we need to consider what ideas we want to take forward and how to maintain them on a long-term basis. Innovation requires the connection of different brains at the right time at the right place, and for this the social in-person gatherings are as important as our regular online touchpoints. The challenge is to be clear about our purpose – to achieve this, it’s good that we constantly look for the best ideas, and continuously reconsider what the role of the ETH Circle is, and how we all can contribute.
Felix Seidel Caprez
Mulan Sun Buschor
Luca Di Tizio