Transforming the Future

ETH Zurich and the Construction of Modern Switzerland 1855–2005

2010. 472 Seiten, 152 Abbildungen s/w.
ISBN 978-3-0340-1052-8
CHF 68.00 / EUR 50.00 
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The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH ranks among the world’s leading universities. Since the institute’s founding in Zurich in 1855, hundreds and thousands of professors, undergraduates, and graduate students in engineering and the sciences have crossed paths in its halls, filling them with life. The product of all this coming and going has been an astonishingly diverse academic, economic, and political culture – ETH became simultaneously an engine of the country’s modernization and a laboratory for its society. This book presents a meticulously researched historical account of this academic culture and offers a deep insight into the forces which, over a span of 150 years, have been transforming Switzerland’s future.

“A model for future studies on universities.”
Klaus Hentschel in ISIS

David Gugerli, geb. 1961, ist ordentlicher Professor für Technikgeschichte an der ETH Zürich. In seinen Forschungsprojekten beschäftigt er sich mit der Geschichte der Energieversorgung, der technisch-wissenschaftlichen Erfassung von Räumen, der Entwicklung digitaler Telekommunikationsweisen und der Genese des technisierten menschlichen Körpers.

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Herausgeber/in der Reihe

Dr. Daniel Speich, geb 1969 in Kibuye, Rwanda. Studium der Geschichte, Philosophie und Ethnologie an der Universität Zürich. Assistent am Institut für Geschichte an der ETH in Zürich. 1997 Lizentiatsarbeit über «Papierwelten. Eine historische Vermessung der Kartographie im Kanton Zürich des späten 18. und des 19. Jahrhunderts». Dissertation über den Bau des Linthkanals und Mitarbeit an einem Projekt über die nationalstaatliche Vermessung der Schweiz unter G. H. Dufour (mit David Gugerli). 2003 Ruf an die TU-Braunschweig als Juniorprofessor für Neuere Geschichte (Schwerpunkt Europäische Technik- und Umweltgeschichte).
Institut für Geschichte der ETH Zürich, ETH Zentrum WEB, CH-8092 Zürich;

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Dr. Patrick Kupper, geboren 1970, Studium der Allgemeine Geschichte, Umweltwissenschaften, Schweizergeschichte und schweizerische Verfassungskunde an der Universität Zürich und an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Von 2002 bis 2004 Leiter des Projekts ARK, das umfangreiche historische Akten zur Kernenergie zusammengeführt, erschlossen und der Forschung zugänglich gemacht hat. Seit Oktober 2002 Co-Projektleiter von ETHistory. Seit 2014 Universitätsprofessor für Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte an der Universität Innsbruck.

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1. A fundamental debate: Anchoring the Swiss vision post-1848

Between infrastructural policy and customs regulations
Statistical excursions into the educational landscape
Hunting for market niches
The public policy debate free-for-all
The parliamentary debate
From Bern to Zurich: nailing it down

2. Nation, profession, middle class: Educating nineteenth-century engineers

Federal codes of behavior
- Federal education policy
- National visibility
- On being a federal institution
- A school for the nation

Industrial standards
- Technical training and industrial growth
- Employment and educational credentials
- Part university, part manufacturing plant
- Toward an engineering curriculum
- The laboratory as “idealized factory”
- Launching into research
- Collaborating with industry

Cultural norms
- Climbing the bourgeois career ladder
- Toeing the line
- Socialization
- Gender and the polytechnic

3. Setting a new course: The polytechnic becomes a “real” university after 1908

The polytechnic in crisis
Reorganizing the polytechnic
An unsuccessful debate over doctorates
Acquiring the character of a real university
The breakthrough of 1908
From the “Polytechnic” to the “Federal Institute of Technology”
Societal crisis and institutional change
“Noblesse oblige!”

4. Business, politics, and research: New alliances for a new century

Technology boom and bust
- Materialism and the decline of the West
- A technocratic humanism

The value of research
- Meeting the promises
- The world as a laboratory for agricultural policy
- The “scientific transformation of the social” in the factory
- The problem of basic research
- Matching funds for applied research
- The limits of the “national system of innovation”

State intervention
- Getting the economy going again: savings and stimulus
- The ETH as an institute for “Geistige Landesverteidigung”
- Investing in research for jobs
- The science policy “arms race” post-1945
- Dealing with the military

Swissness and science
- Arthur Rohn’s “Jewish problem”
- Promoting an all-Swiss faculty post-1933
- The United States as a new center of science
- International research collaboration

5. The social laboratory: Testing the bounds of higher education and politics post-1968

“Educational requirements for the industrial world”?
Systemic disruption
The “student” element
The campaign against the ETH law, 1969
The revolt of the knowledge workers
The end of the experimental phase

6. A ll about flexibility: Managing science and technology in the post-industrial world

Ready for anything
- Flexibility as a prescription
- The permanence of reform
- The art of the project-centered approach
- A new research commission
- A project-based curriculum?
- Databases and resources

Betting on Internationalization
- The universals of science
- Appointments and university policy
- Deindustrialization and relative backwardness
- The globalization of science
- European-American compatibilities

Computerization strategies
- Computers, centers, and interactivity
- Differentiating services
- Reintegration and networking
- The WWW and customized IT

Consultants, Restructuring, and Management
- The Hayek report
- The creative chaos of the matrix
- Management everywhere
- Autonomy as a management mandate

The demise of disciplines