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Come by and let yourself be captivated by the fascinating world of plants.

NACHTAKTIV is the PSC’s scientainment program for young people with numerous activities. Students from ETH and UZH as well as start-ups present exciting future projects, accompanied by cool music from Swiss DJs.

The Botanical Garden of the University of Zurich, with its futuristic domes houses a fascinating diversity of plants.

NACHTAKTIV presents the science behind it and offers an exclusive experience of the animal and plant world in the evening.

Why do leaves turn brown in autumn? How do plants know which season it is, and what does all this have to do with the summer solstice? At the Crowther Lab, you’ll learn more about the seasonal changes of plants and their impact on the climate.

Discover a different way how plants perceive and react to their surroundings: bioelectricity. This otherwise invisible process has been measured and visualized in a spectacular way. Additionally, you’ll learn how flowers have developed an incredible variety of shapes, colors, and patterns to attract pollinators, and how humans have been captivated by this beauty and used genetic technology to redesign the splendor of flowers.

The Vorholt Lab takes you into the world of the plant microbiome. Discover how bacteria live on plant leaves and promote plant health.

At the CreativeLabZ workshop, you can explore plant structures yourself using cyanotype and maybe even create a love letter.

Thursday, June 27, 2024, 7:00 PM - 10:30 PM

Age: 15-30 years

Get your free tickets:

Learn more (in German)

Systems Thinking and Design for Social Change and in Policymaking


Get to know the transformative potential of systems thinking and relevant tools and methods in policymaking. Society, scientists, and policymakers have to deal with wicked problems and complex societal needs that can be assessed and solved only if seen in a systems context. Systems thinking can inform, model and impact policymaking. This workshop will offer theoretical and practical insights into a toolbox of techniques used in system mapping and system design while being guided by different experts. Participants are asked to bring their own problems and cases to be worked on.

Lecturers: Melanie Paschke (ETHZ), Tobias Luthe (ETHZ), Laura Ferrarello (EPFL), Anaïs Sägesser ( scaling4good & innosuisse), Swen Bos, Empa

Location:  ETH Zurich

Dates: 20.01.2025 - 22.01.2025, 3 days (9:00-17:00)

Detailed cours description and registration: here

Contact: Luisa Last

PSC Newsletter

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Science Highlights

  • Bee-pollination promotes rapid divergent evolution in plants

    Dorey, T. et al., Nature Communications 15, 2703 (2024)

    This study on Brassica rapa plants demonstrates that soil type, pollination, and herbivory, along with their interactions, significantly influence divergent evolution, with the strongest divergence occurring in plants evolving in different soils with bee-pollination.
  • Biotic interactions promote local adaptation to soil in plants

    Dorey, T. et al., Nature Communications 15, 5186 (2024)

    Using Brassica rapa plants over eight generations reveals that plant traits evolved in response to biotic interactions in a soil-specific manner. Notably, local adaptation in flower number occurred only with herbivory and bee pollination, and biotic interactions significantly increased genomic variation, highlighting the role of antagonistic pleiotropy in facilitating adaptation.
  • Phylogenomics and the rise of the angiosperms

    Zuntini et al., Nature (2024)

    Angiosperms are crucial for ecosystems and human life, but understanding their evolution has been limited by studying only plastid genomes. By analyzing nuclear genes a detailed "family tree" for nearly 8,000 angiosperm genera has been created, revealing insights into their diversification and historical evolution.
  • The global distribution of plants used by humans

    Pironon et al., Science 383, 293-297 (2024)

    Finding mechanisms to preserve areas containing concentrations of utilized plants and traditional knowledge must become a priority for the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
  • Effects of climate and environmental heterogeneity on angiosperm flora

    Qian et al., Nature Communications 15, 1097 (2024)

    Investigating global relationships between phylogenetic structure and environmental variables reveals how current and past climatic conditions shape species richness and structure across regions.
  • Biotic homogenization in arable soils across Europe

    Banerjee et al., Nature Communications 15, 327 (2024)

    Arable farming significantly reduces soil fungal diversity compared to grasslands, with rare fungal taxa disproportionately impacted, highlighting the importance of sustainable farming practices to protect ecosystem services.
  • Crop traits and production under drought

    Vadez et al., Nature Reviews 5, 211–225 (2024)

    Understanding physiological traits' role in moderate drought tolerance is essential for enhancing crop productivity and adapting to climate change, necessitating integration with crop genetics and modeling for effective varietal selection.
  • Transnational conservation to anticipate future plant shifts in Europe

    Chauvier-Mendes et al., Nature Ecology & Evolution 8, 454–466 (2024)

    Adjustments to the current reserve network are vital to meet EU biodiversity goals as simulations indicate significant shifts in conservation needs by 2080 due to climate-driven changes, highlighting the importance of transnational connections for effective protection.

Weiterführende Informationen

Alexander Petterson and Melanie Paschke (2024). Ethical Prompting for Generative AI – A how-to guide for students at ETH Zurich. Zurich Basel Plant Science Center: ETH Zurich.