The Old Chemistry Building of ETH Zurich
Designated as «Chemical Landmark» on 9 December 2010.
The second designation of a «Chemical Landmark» in Switzerland went to Zurich: the old chemistry Building of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (Universitätstrasse 6) was awarded as “place of education and activity” for several generations of chemists and chemical engineers.
Over a period of nearly 120 years, many significant personalities – including seven Nobel prize laureates – taught numerous scientists in the lecture hall D2 of the so-called CAB-building. Later in their careers these have – with the knowledge acquired there - decisively contributed to the significance of the chemical and pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland and established the basis for groundbreaking discoveries in many international universities.
Thus the building is a place of scientific research, which was trend-setting throughout the world and acts a symbol of the pioneering spirit of the lecturers of the Chemistry Department.
This building for the chemical laboratories was built between 1884 and 1886 by the architects F. Bluntschli and G. Lasius after the plans and ideas of the two professors of chemistry: V. Meyer and G. Lunge. The building was very up-to-date at that time and offered a highly innovative working environment for the researchers in Switzerland. The CAB-Building was listed as a historic site in 1987.
Until the relocation of the Chemistry Department to the Science City campus on Hönggerberg in 2011, several chemical institutes of the Chemistry Department were based here.
The designation has taken place on December 9th, 2010 in the legendary lecture hall D2 of the CAB-Building. Almost 120 persons followed the , among them a lot of past and present professors, students and collaborators of the Chemistry Department.
Prof. Dr. Karl Gademann, president of the «Platform Chemistry», welcomed the attendees and gave a short introduction to the SCNAT and the program «Chemical Landmarks». The laudation (/) enriched with many historical pictures was held by Prof. Dr. Katharina Fromm, board member of the «Platform Chemistry» and showed the history and significance of the whole building and the lecture hall D2 in particular. The following intensified this image: Prof. Dr. Detlef Günther, Head of the Department of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences of ETH Zurich presented the history of the CAB-building and Department of Chemistry at the ETH. Prof. Dr. Albert Eschenmoser, emeritus professor of organic chemistry and closely associated for more than 6 decades with the ETH Zurich, gave an overview of some great chemists of the ETH and their research. His presentation was enriched with a lot of personal memories and was therefore very authentic. Dr. Othmar Dossenbach, long-time assistant professor at the Technical-chemical laboratory of the ETH Zurich, finalized this part of the ceremony with entertaining anecdotes of the last decades from within the CAB-building.
After the unveiling of the commemorative plaque, Prof. Dr. Roman Boutellier, Vice-president of the ETH, thanked the SCNAT on behalf of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) for the designation.
Nominations for the next round of designations are now open:
Everyone – chemist or non-chemist, historian or non-historian – is encouraged to submit their nomination to the «Platform Chemistry».
The proposals will be reviewed by a committee of chemists, chemical engineers, and science historians.
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