This year the study tour of H.V. Ockham explored Switzerland. Eighteen participants and our mascot ‘the Ockhamster’ visited Geneva, Bern and Zurich and went on various excursions. The first excursion CERN is probably the most familiar in Switzerland. We were given a very inspiring presentation about their current research. They are researching the 12 fundamental particles and for example why mass attracts mass. The presentation was held by an old man, probably retired, but he was very passionate and knowledgeable about the research. He also shared his own views on the current research and explained that a colleague of him had a more promising theorem. We also got a tour through a small part of CERN in which we saw the LEIR accelerator.
The next excursion was to Cascination, a biomedical start-up producing surgical devices. These devices can project a 3D image onto an image from a laparoscopic camera, making surgeries considerably easier. We also learned how Cascination was founded by a PhD student six years ago, and over lunch, we had the opportunity to ask the founder and several employees about their experiences with running and working in a start-up company.
It was very inspiring to see how you can setup a company with an idea made at the university. With some help from different professors and a few backers interested in you fully developing the idea, it is possible to begin your own start-up company. He explicitly told us that you should not be afraid and if you doubt about that you should go ahead and take the first step.
In the Einstein centre at the university of Bern we learned about the string theory and the additional quantum gravity theories. This was pretty difficult for the most of us, as it involved some complex theoretical physics, but as members of H.V. Ockham we love challenges. In Zurich we visited ETH in the morning to get a tour through the physics lab and the campus. This campus was very modern and had many interesting labs and departments. They also showed us their ion-beam accelerator. This device could determine the elements of an object. At last, we visited Stadler and saw how a train is built from the ground up. We also saw the exact train that will be riding between Enschede and Zwolle. The last day we also had some spare time to explore Zurich in which some of us visited the Uetliberg. All in all, we saw and learned a lot from this study tour.