List of Notable Alumni of ETH


Samarpita Goswami
Updated on Feb 21, 2022 12:35 PM IST

The ETH, Zurich is the production house of several Nobel Prize winners who have remarkably contributed to the scientific world. Even the son of the famous physicist Albert Einstein studied here. Let us now learn more about the top 10 notable ETH alumni who studied here.

List of Notable ETH Alumni

Switzerland has contributed immensely to global education. A large number of Nobel Laureates has graduated from or obtained degrees from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, also known as ETH Zurich. It is the alma mater of exceptionally talented students who have contributed to the fields of science and technology. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, one of the premier institutes in Switzerland,endorses the Swiss values of responsibility of anindividual, personal freedom and open-minded outlook, and the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Founded in 1855, ETH university is specially dedicated to the study of science and technology and is known to be a hub of knowledge and creative instinct. Its studentsare endowed with the freedom to be unique and individualistic in their approach towards education and research. This helps in the proper functioning of the students and creates an environment where success thrives. They have always aimed at providing modern solutions to modern problems and since the beginning of the university, they are catering to the global needs in the fields of technology and science.

The Times Higher Education has ranked ETH15th in itsWorld University Ranking in 2022 and theQuacquarelli Symonds rankingof ETH is 6th among the top world universities. Tertiary education has been globalised by ETH and this has helped in improving the quality of education of the students and university. The courses offered by the Federal Institute of Technology are physics, chemistry, engineering, computer science, etc. The competition to get into the university is quite tough as every year thousands of students show their will to study there. Every year more than 20,000 students graduate from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and here we have chosen a few to adorn the list of notable ETHalumni who have made spectacular contributions in their areas of expertise.

Also Read:List of Notable Cambridge Alumni

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Top 10Notable ETH alumni (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)

ETH Zurich has produced some finest brains of all time. Read the list below to know the top 10 alumni of ETH Zurich:

Hans Albert Einstein

Hans Albert Einstein is the son of the great physicist and scientist Albert Einstein. He studied at ETH and acquired a diploma degree in civil engineering. He was an engineer and educator. He is largely known for his works on sediment transport. He specialized in hydraulic engineering. Hans worked in the U.S.A in the department of Agriculture. He achieved several research awards like fellowship at Guggenheim, certificate of merit from the department where he worked in sediment transport, and awards for his research from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Wilhelm Conrad Rontgen

He was a renowned German physicist and mechanical engineer who worked for the production and detection of electromagnetic radiations in a wavelength known as X- rays. He took a radiograph, a few weeks after his discovery. He studied mechanical engineering at ETH which earned him a degree. In 1901, he won the Nobel Prize in Physics. He is named as the father of Diagnostic radiology and there is an element in his name roentgenium which has been assigned the number 111. Roentgen also has a unit of measurement under his name which is a unit for exposure of X-rays and Gamma rays.

John von Neumann

ThisHungarian-American polymath graduated as a chemical engineer from ETH Zurich. He was an expert in Physics, chemistry, computer science, engineering, and mathematics. He was regarded as a pioneering mathematician during his time who worked for the integration of pure and applied sciences. In the field of mathematics, he worked in functional analysis, geometry group theory, operator algebra, numerical analysis, and statistics. In economics he worked on game theory, in computer science he formulated Neumann architecture, stochastic computing, and linear programming. Hydrodynamics and quantum mechanics were the fields of Neumanns work in physics. He won Bocher Memorial Prize for his research memoirs in mathematics.

Werner Arber

In Zurichs Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Arber studied chemistry and physics. He is a microbiologist and geneticist. In 1953, at the University of Geneva, he started an assistantship for electron microscopy. For the discovery of restriction endonucleases, he won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. During his high time, he has researched formative topics like electron microscopy, bacteriophages, phage genetics, and molecular biology. He studied various interdisciplinary approaches to microbiology. Recombinant DNA technology was developed under him. He was also the president of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences from where he retired in 2017.

Richard Ernst

Richard Ernst was a swiss physical chemist who studied physical chemistry at ETH and earned his doctoral degree. He developed Fourier transform nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and he won the Nobel prize for this path-breaking development in 1991. He also invented noise decoupling and worked on medical magnetic resonance tomography. Intra-molecular dynamics is another field of his study where he has done considerable bulk of research. Besides Nobel Prize, he got Marcel Benoist Prize, Wolf Prize, and Tadeus Reichstein medal. He held honorary doctorate degrees from various universities in the world.

Felix Bloch

Felix Bloch started studying Engineering but later he shifted to Physics at ETH. He was born in Switzerland but he remained in the US for most of his life. In the year 1952, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for his development of new ways and methods for nuclear magnetic resonance and measurements. He is the foremost developer of nuclear Magnetic resonance and influenced the understanding of ferromagnetism and electron behaviour in crystal lattices. He worked on superconductivity, on ferromagnetism and he developed a Bloch Walls'' which is a description of boundaries between magnetic domains. He proposed a concept of spin waves in theory. He also worked briefly on the atomic bomb project he will be concentrating on investigations into nuclear induction and nuclear Magnetic resonance which brought him Nobel Prize.

Armand Borel

A Swiss mathematician, Armand Borel studied mathematics in ETF Zurich. He was influenced by algebraic topology and worked on it. In addition, he worked on the theory of Lie groups and their classifying spaces and created the contemporary theory of linear algebraic groups. His theory which he shares with another mathematician, named, Borrel- Moore homology applies to compact spaces and has relation to sheaf theory. His other theories are Borel conjecture, Borel construction, Borel fixed point theorem, Borel-de Siebenthal theory, spin theory, etc.

Rudolf K. Alleman

Professor Rudolf K. Alleman got his diploma in chemistry from ETH in the year 1985. His fields of work are chemical biology and synthetic biology. He worked to bridge the gap between enzymology and organic chemistry. He contributed towards knowledge of enzymatic mechanisms by combining chemical, biophysical, enzymological, and molecular biology techniques. His insights extended to terpene syntheses and terpenome. He researched hydrogen transfer catalyzing enzymes. His laboratory has developed new applications which include the first generation of designers in Science, optogenetic tools, and intracellular biophotonic nano switches.

Heinrich Rohrer

He is a Swiss physicist who studied Physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. His work was on the measurement changes of superconductors at superconducting transitions. His work includes scanning tunnelling microscope (STM) and scanning probe microscopy. He won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1986.

George Bednorz

George Bednorz studied crystallography at the University of Munster and later did his PhD from ETH Zurich in physics. In ceramics, he discovered high-temperature superconductivity. In his experimental work, he grew crystals of Srtio3. He studied the electrical properties of ceramics and successfully induced superconductivity in lanthanum barium copper oxide. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of superconductivity in materials made of ceramics.

Also Read:Famous Ivy League Alumni

Other Notable ETH Alumni

Few other notable alumni of ETH who deserve mention are:

Name of Alumni


Markus Affolter


Arthur von Abrahamson

Civil Engineer

Duilio Arigoni


Michel Andre


Giovanni Felder


Alfons Baiker


Phillippe Kahn


Michel Franz

Computer Scientist

Lydia Bieri

Mathematician and Geometric Analyst

Rofl Gruetter

Physicist and Neurobiologist

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