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Award winner: Denise Mitrano conducted research at Empa for several years and is

Award winner: Denise Mitrano conducted research at Empa for several years and is now an assistant at ETH Zurich. Image: Empa

Denise Mitrano, former postdoctoral researcher at the Environmental Risk Assessment and Management Group, led by Bernd Nowack, and now Assistant Professor of Environmental Chemistry of Anthropogenic Materials at ETH Zurich, was awarded the Marie Heim-Vögtlin Prize by the Swiss National Foundation (SNF). She is the 13th winner of the prize which honors outstanding young women researchers and is endowed with 25,000 Swiss francs. Mitrano’s research focuses on tracking the spread of microand nanoplastic particles throughout the environment.

These tiny particles, formed by the weathering and degradation of plastic items, are by now ubiquitous and one of the defining features of the Anthropocene, the epoch representing significant human impact on the earth’s ecosystem and geology. Tracking the spread of tiny plastics allows Mitrano to assess the potential harmful effects that microand nanoplastics could have on various ecosystems, develop analytical methods to better identify these particles and interpret the risk for humans and the environment.

Energy storage is one of the major challenges in the current transformation of our energy system. The European Green Deal is intended to help make Europe climateneutral by 2050. Storage systems play a central role in this. In the recently launched Green Deal project "StoRIES", numerous research institutions and industrial partners throughout Europe are working together on solutions for storing energy. Empa is participating in this project with its research and demonstration infrastructures NEST, move and ehub, as well as its know-how on life cycle analyses in the "Technology and Society" research lab.

Der «Salon Public» ist das grösste «Science Festival» der Schweiz. Das vierteilige Wissenschaftsfestival fand am 16. Oktober im Kursaal Bern und am 23. Oktober 2021 in Lausanne statt. Pro Anlass stellen jeweils vier renommierte Referenten ein Thema dar. Der stellvertretende Direktor der Empa, Peter Richner, zeigte in Bern auf, wie breit die Interpretation eines «intelligenten Gebäudes» angelegt werden kann und wagte einen Blick weit über die heutigen baulichen Standards hinaus. Neben Richner hatten die Veranstalter eine Reihe weiterer illustrer Redner aufgeboten, etwa den ehemaligen deutschen Aussenminister Joschka Fischer, den Solar-Visionär Bertrand Piccard, den ETH-Rats-Präsidenten Michael Hengartner und den Philosophen Richard David Precht.

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