This Winners Session features the Top 10 breakthroughs in the Engineering and Technology category. Several of the presented projects are developing eco-friendly materials and Clean Energy solutions, including safer, more energy-efficient batteries and a new method of cement production that reduces CO2 emissions, thereby ensuring that housing is both affordable and sustainable. New medical technologies show us a future in which it will be normal to navigate micromagnets and miniature robots through our bodies to, for example, administer drugs in a targeted manner. Viewers are also introduced to topics such as optimal transport theory, ultra-precise clocks, and the digitalisation of workspaces through the example of a chemistry lab. Jury Chair Joël Mesot emphasises the essential aspect of ground-breaking work in the field of New Medical Technologies and Clean Energy Solutions: “In order to be successful, technology alone is not sufficient. It needs to be socially accepted, and it needs to be economically viable.”
We are delighted to announce the ten winners in the category Engineering and Technology:
STEFAN BRENDELBERGER – GERMAN AEROSPACE CENTER (DLR)
Breaking the Wall to Solar Kerosene
Stefan Brendelberger’s technology converts concentrated solar energy water and CO2 into renewable kerosene, to replace fossil fuels in the aviation sector.
YI CUI – STANFORD UNIVERSITY AND SLAC NATIONAL ACCELERATOR LABORATORY
Breaking the Wall of Efficient Batteries
Yi Cui has pioneered nanotechnology-based materials design to enable novel breakthrough materials which have ten times higher charge storage capacity than the current technology, a key element to clean energy strategies.
ALESSIO FIGALLI – ETH ZÜRICH
Breaking the Wall of Transport
Alessio Figalli devises creative new tools and techniques to solve mathematical questions. He has used optimal transport theory to mathematically understand a great range of systems in nature, the atmosphere and machine learning.
CHRISTIAN KOOS – KARLSRUHE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (KIT)
Breaking the Wall towards ultra-broadband Signal Processing
Christian Koos tackles the problem of limited bandwidth by combining electronics with photonic circuits and with optical frequency combs as ultra-precise clocks.
TEODORO LAINO – IBM RESEARCH EUROPE – ZURICH
Breaking the Wall of Chemistry
Teodoro Laino leads a pioneering project integrating AI, Cloud and Automation to accelerate a new way of doing chemistry that is more digital and without the need for chemists to be in the lab.
YI CHUN LU – THE CHINESE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
Breaking the Wall of Safe Energy Storage
Yi Chun Lu explores safe alternatives to batteries used in electric vehicles and consumer electronics, which are both flammable and toxic.
SIMONE SCHÜRLE – ETH ZÜRICH
Breaking the Wall of Inefficient Drug Delivery
Simone Schürle develops diagnostic and therapeutic systems at the nano-and microscale with the aim to tackle a range of challenging problems in health care, including a recent breakthrough using micro-magnets to improve targeted drug delivery.
METIN SITTI – MAX PLANCK INSTITUTE FOR INTELLIGENT SYSTEMS
Breaking the Wall to Wireless Medical Robots inside our Body
Metin Sitti has created wireless, soft, miniature mobile robots, inspired by soft-bodied tiny animals that can navigate and function safely inside the human body.
KAREN SCRIVENER – EPFL – ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE FÉDÉRALE DE LAUSANNE
Breaking the Wall of Housing People while minimising Climate Change
Karen Scrivener has come up with a solution that reduces CO2 emissions in cement production, to ensure that housing and infrastructure are safe and affordable as well as more sustainable.
FRANK STEFAN TAUTZ – FORSCHUNGSZENTRUM JÜLICH
Breaking the Wall of Building with Molecules
Frank Stefan Tautz has achieved a breakthrough in nanofabrication through the first-ever combination of AI and nanotechnology, whereby an autonomous artificial intelligence learns to grip and move molecules.