Hi, my name is Anna. I'm currently working as a science communicator at the SPEED2ZERO initiative at ETH Zurich.
Previously, I completed my Bachelor's degree in physics at ETH as well as a master's degree in theoretical physics at Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada. I sure miss the geese :p
What makes a good day? A surprising conversation with a stranger, a smile from a person I care about, a round of yoga and bjj to feel my neurons tingle and a dose of 100% dark chocolate. Whether or not you measure me, it's likely I'll be in a handstand.
I grew up as a bit of a global nomad: Born in Austria, toddler years on Huntington Beach in sunny California, junior school near Munich, middle school in the little German city with the longest castle in the world. Sixth Form near London, couple of months on exchange learning 中 文 in Shanghai. University life in Switzerland and Canada, interspersed with an internship at QuEra Computing Inc. in Boston... It's been a journey and it's all but over. I am thankful for this privilege and try to put the things I've learned along the road to good use.
I hope you find something in this corner of the WWW that makes your time here worth it!
This year, I have shifted my main focus from physics to science communication for climate, energy and biodiversity. I am working at SPEED2ZERO initiative in Zurich for one year, before starting my PhD at the Harvard Quantum Initiative in fall 2024.
Why did I go for this one-year expedition? While I was a Bachelor and Master student, I was engaged in sustainability on the side of my physics studies. I never seriously questioned (and still don't) studying physics (instead of e.g. politics, environmental engineering, finance etc.), because I felt physics was giving me the foundation I personally wanted for viewing and understanding the world. Being part of sustainability commissions, university politics, event organizing etc. felt like a good combination of interests as well as a nice balance of studying abstract concepts and actually "doing something".
As I was finishing my master's, however, I felt I needed to rethink my modus operandi with respect to climate action. On the one hand, I wanted to deepen my master's work in quantum science and technology in a PhD. At the same time, the urgency of climate action was burning hot in my head. I felt a strong urge to work full time on climate action and get a clearer picture in my head of where we are heading as a society. Of course, I knew such thoughts would likely have to take a backseat during a quantum PhD. So I made the rather spontaneous decision of deferring my PhD, got back in touch with folks at my alma mater ETH Zurich and joined SPEED2ZERO in September 2023.
At SPEED2ZERO, I am thrilled to be getting ten months of direct insight into science communication for the science-policy interface. This means experiencing on-the-job what it means for a scientific institution to provide science-based courses of action to policy makers and support them in their decision making process. Concretely, my job is to create formats through which ETH can inform various levels of Swiss government on possible transition pathways towards a net-zero and biodiversity-positive Switzerland.
You can contact me here: aknoerr[at]ethz.ch