EPFL marks its 50th anniversary with a two-day open house

EPFL will open its doors to the public on 14–15 September as it celebrates its 50th year as a federal institute of technology. This exceptional event is also designed to be fully sustainable: zero cars, zero plastic and zero waste.
EPFL researchers will explain the cutting-edge work they’re doing. ©Alain Herzog

50 years and going strong. To celebrate its golden anniversary as a federal institute of technology, EPFL is holding a two-day open house the weekend of 14–15 September. Anyone with an interest in science can come tour the school’s labs, attend workshops and talks, view shows and demonstrations, or take part in any of the 300 other activities that will be run at the School’s main campus in Lausanne. Around 1,000 EPFL employees will be on hand to greet the 30,000 visitors expected at the event. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to get a first-hand view of the research being carried out at the School and learn more about its missions and its important role in the community. To top things off, the open house is a zero-waste event.

From drones to super heroes

Of the many entertaining and informative activities to choose from, we would note the impressive physics and chemistry demonstrations by Fred Courant, the French host of L'Esprit Sorcier; the “Drone Days” races and demos showing the exciting potential of these flying robots; and the workshop given (in English) by Physics Girl – the YouTuber whose channel on the fun facts of physics has attracted millions of followers. You can also learn interesting new things in the “How it works” area, and children can discover the magical world of science at the Scientastic Festival workshops. Comic-book fans will get a treat, too – Aleksi Briclot, the French artist who worked for Marvel comics, will give a presentation, and a workshop will be held on digitizing comic strips.

But it’s in EPFL’s many labs, testing rooms, and fablab-like prototyping workshops where you’ll get to see hard-core science taking place. Researchers will explain the cutting-edge work they’re doing, on topics ranging from concrete, protein and fruit flies to internet traffic, nuclear fusion, robots, the periodic table, the art and theory of graphs, intellectual propriety and micro power grids. And they will do so in a clear and simple way, so anyone can grasp even the most advanced concepts. Finally, the event will include a series of talks and panel discussions addressing key issues such as artificial intelligence, animal testing and personalized medicine.

An eco-friendly event

As a forward-looking school, EPFL has taken a number of steps to ensure this event is as carbon-neutral as possible. That means implementing a zero-car, zero-plastic and zero-waste policy. Public transport to and from the event will be free (within the Mobilis zone, registration required for a pass); plenty of secure bike shelters will be available and clearly marked; PET bottles will be replaced by beverage dispensers; environmentally friendly food with no plastic packaging will be served; non-disposable, reusable dishes will be used; and payments can be made using the My:DIO electronic payment system.

Practical info

The open house will be held at EPFL’s Lausanne campus on Saturday, 14 September from 10am to 6pm, and Sunday, 15 September, from 10am to 5pm. Entry is free of charge.

For more information, visit https://www.epfl.ch/campus/events/celebration-en/portes-ouvertes/. The full program for the event – including all activities, times and locations – will be posted on the website a few days before the event, as well as information on how to get your public transport pass and pay with My:DIO.