Celebration of IEEE Day at EPFL, organized by IEEE Switzerland, on 02.10.2017

Celebration of IEEE Day at EPFL, organized by IEEE Switzerland, on 02.10.2017

Written by Mathieu Coustans

On 2nd October 2017, over 30 guests gathered for the IEEE Switzerland Section IEEE Day 2017 celebrations. Held at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, this event recognized the date in 1884 on which prominent engineers and inventors of the time first gathered to share ideas and inspiration and form what would later become the IEEE. The event organized by IEEE Switzerland attracted a diverse audience from many backgrounds, including students, academics, industry representatives and IEEE members and volunteers.

The celebration took place in Adrien Palaz Auditorium at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne. The MED also known as mechanical engineering has been supported by a philanthropic gift to the EPFL from Jean Lebel, former IEEE Region 8 Director in honor to his grandfather, spiritual father of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne.

Following opening remarks from the IEEE Switzerland Chair, Dr. Maria-Alexandra Paun, the keynote speech was given by Prof. Martin Vetterli, IEEE Fellow and President of Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne. Prof. Martin Vetterli recognized the role of IEEE in his career in the past and still today. An important emphasis on the use of “Spectrum Magazines” and IEEE magazines in general to keep-up was also mentioned. It’s also an important initiative that gathered people together that won’t have met in other circumstances. Prof. Martin Vetterli concluded his talk with acknowledging the career of our honor guest, Jean Lebel, and for the Palaz Auditorium handing on as a gift his book entitled “Foundations of Signal Processing”. 

Gift exchanges (Martin Vetterli, Hugo Wyss, Andrioli Letizia, Kirstin O'Neill, J

Gift exchanges (Martin Vetterli, Hugo Wyss, Andrioli Letizia, Kirstin O'Neill, Jean Lebel)

Prof. Martin Vetterli, received also a first gift from Jean Lebel being the biography of his grandfather Adrien Palaz. Another gift was granted from IEEE Switzerland Section. At the inauguration of the auditorium, three actions were decided to be carried on, convince the bank to keep the Wallis hydraulic electricity plants of Alpiq under Swiss flag control, so far so good Alpiq is going to keep it, organize on a yearly basis the IEEE day in the auditorium. Which was on this year. And finally to present to the public the “cuvee Adrien Palaz”, Président Vetterli was offered one bottle and the public discovered at the standing Apéro.

Finally Jean Lebel granted IEEE student branch of EPFL with his biography.

Gift exchanges (Hugo Wyss, Maria-Alexandra Paun, Jean Lebel, Mathieu Coustans)

Gift exchanges (Hugo Wyss, Maria-Alexandra Paun, Jean Lebel, Mathieu Coustans)

The morning session guests enjoyed a series of seminars including details on technical and career development opportunities with the IEEE, ‘Life and career testimonials by female engineers and scientists’, with the speakers: 

  • Dr Alessandra Lombardi, Italian born and working at CERN in Geneva.
  • Dr Eleni Daskalaki, Greek born and working at CSEM in Neuchatel.
  • Dr Maria-Alexandra Paun, Romanian born and working at EPFL in Lausanne.

The speakers went through exposing their professional activities and testimonial of what it takes to be a woman and a scientist. Presenting their role model… Also Mentoring opportunities for younger members with the IEEE, and an introduction to chapters within the section and the services available to students, young professionals and women-in-engineering were presented. 

Dr Alessandra Lombardi’s talk

Dr Alessandra Lombardi’s talk

Dr Eleni Daskalaki’s talk

Dr Eleni Daskalaki’s talk 

Dr Maria-Alexandra Paun’s talk

Dr Maria-Alexandra Paun’s talk

After the morning session where lots of different experiences of a panel of European speakers led to a fairly interesting number of questions and morning session was closed with the lunch break at University of Lausanne where the Erna Hamburger auditorium is located, this little refreshing break was an excellent transition to the afternoon session “Personality and legacy of Prof. Erna Hamburger in Lausanne”.

  • Prof. Solange Ghernaouti, University of Lausanne
  • Prof. Sabine Suesstrunk, IEEE Fellow
  • Dr. Kristin Becker, EPFL equal opportunity project manager, ETH board member.

The topic coming across was the leaky pipeline of women from Ph.D. studies toward a professorship position. Another important point raised was the presence of a few foundations but too few joint actions.

(Solange Ghernaouti)

(Solange Ghernaouti) 

(Kristin Becker, Sabine Suesstrunk)

(Kristin Becker, Sabine Suesstrunk)

A panel discussion and networking drinks reception concluded the event, with the celebration continuing into the evening with personal networking.

On behalf of the IEEE Switzerland Section we would like to give our sincere thanks to all attendees who enjoyed the evening with us to celebrate the occasion. We are planning more events across the Switzerland so check the section website ieee.ch and social media for more details!