News Detail

Richard Vollenweider and Heinrich Wolff in the laboratory around 1950

100 years of research at the service of lakes and rivers

June 9, 2016,

The hydrobiological laboratory in Kastanienbaum, today part of Eawag, the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, is celebrating its 100-year jubilee with an opening ceremony for invited guests today and an open house for everyone during the weekend of 18/19 June.

The laboratory was opened on 18 June 1916 by the Lucerne Society for Natural Sciences, long before the possibility of a university in Lucerne was even discussed. The hydrobiological research carried out in Kastanienbaum has contributed a great deal to the understanding of bodies of water, their pollution, and what can be done against this, especially thanks to the cooperation between science and practice. From the beginning, cantonal chemists, professionals in the area of water and bodies of water from the cantonal administration, and fisheries experts have visited the institute or make use of its modern infrastructure for their own applied research projects. Numerous middle school classes have spent their dedicated biology weeks here, and biology teachers have taken part in further education in their subject. Today, professional knowledge is divided into practical courses, public lectures and summer schools. From this small laboratory, which is almost completely run by volunteers, a competence centre for ecology, evolution and biogeochemistry has evolved, whose ca. 100 researchers come from all over the world.

You can find much more information about the history of the lake laboratory, examples of research projects and humorous background stories in the jubilee brochure (in German, English and French)

Today Eawag and the Lucerne Society for Natural Sciences are celebrating the jubilee in Kastanienbaum with ca. 120 invited guests from the political and administrative area, science and practice, including the Central Switzerland councillors Paul Federer and Ueli Amstad and Deputy Director Karine Siegwart from the Federal Office for the Environment. Over the weekend of 18/19 June (from 12 noon to 5 p.m. each day), everyone who is interested is invited to take part in an open house. You can discover the secrets of water at 15 info-points, among them a research raft on the lake with a shuttle service, as well as talk with researchers, view laboratories and aquaria and get a glimpse into earlier and present projects. Food and drink will be available. This event is also suitable for families with children.

We will be happy to provide you with photographic material, including historical pictures, or to recommend to you an interview partner. In addition, media professionals have the opportunity to accompany school classes that will be visiting the institute tomorrow, Friday, 10 June on the occasion of the jubilee.

Press photos    

Created by Andri Bryner