On 19 January, a farewell symposium was held at the Empa campus in St. Gallen in honor of Alex Dommann, member of Empa’s Directorate, who retired at the end of January. For ten years, the physicist headed Empa’s Materials Meet Life department and the research focus area Health and Performance. In doing so, he represented Empa and the ETH Domain in Eastern Switzerland and established numerous partnerships in research, with hospitals and industry, for example recently with the Switzerland Innovation Park Ost.
To mark the retirement of Alex Dommann, the symposium "Future Opportunities in Materials Meet Life: Conclusion and Outlook" was held on 19 January in St. Gallen in the presence of representatives from politics, research and industry as well as numerous employees. Empa Director Tanja Zimmermann paid tribute to Dommann as a talent promoter, networker and enabler and presented some highlights from the past ten years of his tenure. For instance, the establishment of Empa’s X-ray Center: This was opened in 2014 and, in addition to a high scientific output, has since produced countless fascinating images and insights for research projects, such as of blood clots in 3D that can lead to a stroke, the structure of the cochlea in the human ear, but also of rhinoceros skulls, historical coins and disused satellites. Zimmermann described X-ray technology as one of Dommann’s passions, and the equipment for it as his favorite "toys." She could not imagine Alex Dommann abandoning research in future and hinted at another hobby for his: railroads - both in model scale and in life size.
"Gardening and cooking are not for me," Dommann said recently, and he let it be known that even after his retirement he will remain involved in research with his "favorite toys", X-ray instruments. At Empa, the search for a successor as a member of the Directorate is currently in full swing; ad interim, René Rossi, head of the Biomimetic Membranes and Textiles lab, will take over as head of department in February.