The impact of physics on society and economy is paramount. In the last centuries, physics has shaped the way how we understand the world we live in and has underpinned the largest industrial revolutions. Today, physics, which encompasses a vast range of scientific topics, is omnipresent in all technically oriented industrial sectors. The successful Swiss economy is the fruit of long-term support for physics in education and research. In a society so strongly shaped by science and technology, literacy in physics is essential. For these reasons, the Swiss Physical Society (SPS) has evaluated the influence of physics on the Swiss economy and on the society as a whole in the SPS Focus ‘Impact of Physics on Swiss Society’. The main results and conclusions are summarised in this factsheet.
- Physics-based industries play an important role in the Swiss economy, comparable to the importance of sectors such as production or trade. The economic efficiency of physics-based industries outperform the production, trade and construction sectors.
- The collaboration between basic research in physics and industry is as valuable as it is diverse: From the development of products stemming from academic research to the contribution of physics graduates in small and medium companies.
- Swiss physics institutes are active in all areas covering fundamental to applied research. The Swiss research contribution is of high international standing in a wide range of areas, from condensed matter physics to particle physics; from astrophysics to biophysics.
- To address the biggest challenges of our time, such as the climate and the energy supply crises, as well as global health concerns, we increasingly depend on the development of new technologies derived from physics research.
- A solid basic education in physics is central to a functioning democracy, in a world that heavily relies on modern technologies. It is thus essential that Switzerland succeeds in maintaining the population's interest in physics throughout their school years.
Standard identifier: DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.7157866