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Lectures and Colloquia

Zürich: Nanotechnology and the Future of Computing

IBM Research - Zürich, Switzerland

More than 600 guests, including Didier Burkhlater, Swiss Federal Councilor; Rimantas Zylius, Minister of the Economy, Republic of Lithuania; Donald Beyer Jr., Ambassador of the United States of America for Switzerland and Lichtenstein and five Nobel Laureates attended the first of nine IBM Research Centennial Colloquia on 17 May 2011 in Zürich, Switzerland—the topic, Nanotechnology and the Future of Computing.

Opening the full day agenda, which included the unveiling of a brand new, $90 million Nanotechnology Center, with university partner, ETH Zürich, was Dr. Matthias Kaiserswerth, vice president and director of IBM Research - Zürich.
“This is a special day during a particularly special year for IBM as we celebrate our centennial,” he said. “And similar to our past 100 years, partnerships, such as the one we have with ETH Zürich, have always been the foundation of our success.”

The Lab’s partnership with ETH Zürich, can be traced to its founding in 1956 with the first lab director, A.P. Speiser. The new Nanotechnology Center is a bold step in public private partnerships and also includes a collaboration with the Government of Lithuania.

Following speeches by Dr. John Kelly, senior vice president and director, IBM Research and Prof. Ralph Eichler, president, ETH Zürich, a “Dialogue Amongst Physicists” was organized with IBM Fellows and Nobel Laureates Drs. Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer.

The pair invented the scanning tunneling microscope at the Zurich Research Lab in 1981, thus enabling researchers to see atoms on a surface for the first time. During their dialogue, the two scientists looked back at their invention and the scientific breakthroughs it has achieved. A short time later the new facility was dedicated in their honor and renamed the Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center to the thunderous applause of all the guests.

Before breaking for lunch, Didier Burkhalter, Swiss Federal Councilor, spoke about collaboration and the value of public private partnerships—“The new IBM/ETH center is a model of collaboration between science and business.”

“We’re here today because of great institutions like the ETH Zurich. IBM recognizes that building a technology or a company is a collaborative process. We have partnered with ETH for years to develop new skills and new technologies—and of course, to develop this new nanotechnology center,” said Dr. John Kelly, Senior Vice President, IBM Research.

Lunch was followed by tours of the new Center and a series of high profile lectures by speakers from both industry and academia including Prof. Dr. Achim Bachem of the Jülich Research Center on 21st Century Supercomputing; Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Meier, Kirchhoff Institute for Physics at Heidelberg University and Prof. Dr. Daniel Loss of the University of Basel on Quantum Computing.

About Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center

Research at the nanometer scale—one nanometer is the length of four gold atoms and 80,000 times smaller than the average width of a human hair—requires fabrication and characterization of nanoscale structures, whose level of accuracy is also at the nanometer or sub-nanometer scale. As a consequence of this scale, experiments are becoming increasingly sensitive to or limited by external disturbances.

The Binnig and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center offers a cutting-edge, collaborative infrastructure designed specifically for advancing nanoscience including a large cleanroom for micro and nanofabrication and six uniquely designed noise-free labs, which shield extremely sensitive experiments from external disturbances, such as vibrations, electro-magnetic fields, for example from nearby trains and cellphone towers, temperature fluctuations and acoustic noise.