Critical Thinking in a Changing World

As new technologies emerge, explore how critical thinking can separate hype from science.

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
Pier 17, Suite 800, San Francisco, California 94111 United States


August 15, 2017 from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)


$0 - $15

With the rapid rise of new technologies, critical thinking takes on a more central role filtering hype from emerging scientific paradigms. Critical thinking has always been and will continue to be crucial to the scientific method; however, since the Enlightenment teaching critical thinking has become an isolated practice at many academic institutions.

This symposium will feature lightning talks and a panel discussion about critical thinking—the reasons for its development and how we might preserve this tradition in science for future generations.


6:30pm – doors open
7:00pm – intro
7:10pm – lightning talks & panel discussion
8:20pm – networking


Lino Guzzella

Lino Guzzella, President of ETH Zurich since 2015, obtained his doctor’s degree in mechanical engineering from ETH Zurich. After holding several positions in industry (Sulzer, Hilti) and academia (ETH Zurich, Ohio State University), he was Rector of ETH Zurich from mid-2012 until the end of 2014. Lino Guzzella has published more than 100 research articles in peer refereed journals and conferences as well as two research textbooks. He has numerous awards, serves on various boards and has been a keynote speaker at conferences worldwide.

Gerd Folkers

Gerd Folkers, Chair Science Studies and Critical Thinking Initiative at ETH Zurich, studied pharmacy at the University of Bonn and obtained a doctorate in pharmaceutical chemistry in 1982. From 2004 to 2015 he was Head of the Collegium Helveticum, a joint think-tank of ETH Zurich and University of Zurich, dedicated to the study of new transdisciplinary scientific perspectives. He has been professor for science studies with particular focus on chemistry and pharmaceutics since 2016.

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht is the Albert Guérard Professor in Literature in the Departments of Comparative Literature and of French & Italian at Stanford. Over the past forty years, he has published more than two thousand texts, including books, translated into more than twenty languages. In Europe and in South America, Gumbrecht has a presence as a public intellectual; whereas, in the academic world, he has been acknowledged by ten honorary doctorates in seven different countries.

Philippe Kahn

Philippe Kahn is an inventor, technology innovator and entrepreneur. Philippe is credited with creating the first complete camera phone solution. He is the CEO of Fullpower, the creative team behind the Sleeptracker IoT Smartbed technology platform and the MotionX Wearable Technology platform. Philippe studied at the ETH in Zurich Switzerland and Sofia-Antipolis, receiving his Masters Degree in Mathematics. Philippe also earned a Masters Degree in classical flute, with simultaneous minors in composition and chamber music from the Zurich Music Conservatory.


Chris Luebkeman

Chris Luebkeman is an Arup Fellow and Global Director of Arup Foresight. His interest in the built environment blossomed early, propelling him to pursue a multi-faceted education, beginning with engineering and culminating in a Doctorate in Architecture from ETH in Zurich. In 1999, Chris joined Arup as the co-Director for Research and Development and formed the Foresight, Innovation and Incubation team, which has evolved into Research + Foresight + Innovation.


Gioia Deucher

Gioia Deucher is the CEO of swissnex San Francisco. Her professional journey has taken her to various countries, from Colombia and Switzerland to the U.S. and Palestine and Brazil. Gioia has dedicated the last eight years to fostering cross-continental collaborations to inspire and strengthen Switzerland’s innovation ecosystem. Before setting out to build the first Latin American swissnex office in Brazil in 2013, she headed the Startup and Innovation team at swissnex in San Francisco, where she has returned as CEO in July. Gioia holds a Master’s degree in International relations from the Graduate Institute (IUHEID) in Geneva, Switzerland, and a second Master’s in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School in Medford/Boston, USA.