The “Who Cares?” Project

Many students in STEM disciplines, such as physics, mathematics, and statistics, focus the skills they acquire at ETH on elegant abstractions found in science or high-income careers in consulting or finance. They seldom often hardly consider that their skills are key for tackling societal problems, such as climate change and sustainability, or they simply consider themselves as not responsible for challenges which fall outside the bounds of their numerically or theoretically oriented work.

Thus, we seek to provide students not only with inspirational stories of ETH graduates who are pushing for sustainability, but also with the resources to support those who wish to follow in these graduates’ footsteps. The stories of our project take the form of creating short video statements or full interviews in which the alumni provide insight into their engagement and how their studies have proven to be helpful. The resources we provide give easy access to lists of courses here at ETH, online materials, thesis opportunities, and job platforms to empower students to take action for a better future.
Through our project, we want to present concrete and intrinsically interesting possibilities to use one’s skills and passion to overcome the climate crisis whilst combining it with the beautiful and elegant aspects of one’s own discipline. We thereby hope to show how you, too, can contribute to tackling the climate crisis and take part in showing others who cares.


Petia Arabadjieva studies Quantum Engineering at ETH Zurich. She is highly interested in the use of quantum algorithms to perform tasks which are practically impossible using classical computers – and how this could help us to develop sustainable technologies. Petia is also a member of the Student Sustainability Commission and the Sustainability Committee of the physics department at ETH.

Jan Zibell studied physics at ETH Zurich and is pursuing a PhD in atmospheric science. During his studies, he repeatedly asked himself how he could use his degree to contribute to tackling climate change and now wants to provide answers to students in a similar situation. Jan has worked on promoting sustainability courses in the physics curriculum and enjoyed his teaching assistance in the course “Energy and Environment in the 21st Century”.

Regina Moser is supporting the student initiative as communication manager of the physics department at ETH. First ideas were formed in dialogue with Anna Knörr within the framework of the CO2 working group at the department of physics lead by Prof. Niklas Beisert. These were further developed during the next semesters.

Nicolás Harrington Ruiz studied Statistics at the University of British Columbia and ETH Zürich. Throughout his studies, he has focused on learning about and working on the statistical fields most used in environmental science and policy analysis. He hopes to see more students from STEM backgrounds push themselves to use their skills to tackle major problems in sustainability and climate change, and thus set about to gather resources to make this easier for students.


Special thanks go to ETH Multimedia Services, especially Thomas Häusermann, for technical support and equipment for video shooting, Omar Zeroual for video shooting and editing tips, Fabio Merino for designing the Intro, and the students Anna Knörr, Maria Radisch, Till Muser, and Luna Bloin-Wibe for numerous contributions during the publication process.