Beyond Materials

In 2020, Empa celebrates its 140th anniversary. To mark the occasion, Empa publishes its book "Beyond Materials – A brief history of Empa" in which the research institute looks back and reveals how it has evolved from a modest basement laboratory at ETH Zurich as a testing facility for building materials to a top-notch research institute – an entertaining journey through a remarkable period of Swiss history.
A research institution through the ages: The new book on Empa is now available. Image: Empa

With the new book "Beyond Materials" Empa gives an insight into its history - and allows a look into the future. In five chapters the book shows, among other things, where Empa's current research priorities lie and how innovations from Empa's labs in the fields of energy, health, sustainable building and environmental technologies as well as nanotechnology can help to meet the challenges of the future and keep Switzerland economy internationally competitive.


Looking back to the early days and its eventful history, the book also tells the story of Empa's evolution from a testing facility for building materials (which was in great demand at the time) as the driving force behind Swiss industrialization, through a turbulent period of transformation marked by pioneering achievements, political, scientific and social developments and forward-looking course-setting, right up to the time when Empa gave up testing and turned into the modern research institute it is today. Finally, ten personalities from politics, industry and research dare to look into the future: What are the future challenges facing Switzerland and how can Empa contribute to meeting them?


In between, current and historical research projects illustrate why nowadays Empa not only represents a key interface between science and industry, but is also renown far beyond Switzerland's borders as a first-class research institute. The book also offers a visual treat, with more than 120 photos, illustrations and large graphics about research at Empa.