Alumni Magazine "keep in touch"


Issue 63, Summer Semester 2017

Sending a Strong Signal Against Plastic Waste

“With its highly developped technology, the Pacific Garbage Screening project is very successful at calling attention to the plastic garbage pollution affecting the world's oceans. The 400 by 400 metre platform acts as a calming device for the ocean current, which also, in the same process, allows any plastic particles to float to the surface, where they can be collected without endangering fish or other marine life. This Master's Thesis is a visionary, yet solution-oriented effort with a strong message. And that is exactly what we want to achieve by awarding it the Bundespreis Ecodesign - to send a strong message. What a great achievement." This was the reasoning behind the jury's decision in October of last year to bestow this German federal award on young architect Marcella Hansch for her Pacific Garbage Screening project, which she developped for her Master's Thesis at the completion of her architecture studies at RWTH Aachen.

Every single day, 350 tons of plastic waste end up in the world's oceans and destroy the basis of life in this important ecosystem. During a diving vacation in the Cape Verde Islands, Marcella Hansch literally experienced this problem right under her nose, oftentimes having plastic bags floating by in front of her goggles. She set to researching the issue on her return flight home already. She couldn't stop thinking about this topic and the idea for her Master's Thesis took shape. Now it isn't enough anymore for Marcella Hansch to just send a message, but she wants to make her idea a reality. To this end, she has founded a non-profit association and also gathered a dedicated team to help her.

In the interview with keep in touch, the young architect not only talked about the idea for her project and its further development, but also about her time at university prior to that.

Other Topics:

  • “C.A.R.L. is in Operation.” The NRW Construction and Real Estate Agency, or BLB NRW, has now officially handed over the new lecture hall complex located at Claßenstraße to RWTH Aachen University. Building owner BLB NRW invested approximately 45 million euros of the state's University Modernization Program funds for the construction of the multilevel building.
  • “Five Years of AMS.” For five years now, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) has been orbiting our planet aboard the International Space Station ISS 400 kilometres above the Earth's surface. The recent scientific results gained from AMS clearly show that our understanding of the origin, acceleration, and transport of cosmic radiation from its sources into our galaxy and to the AMS is incomplete. The high-precision data generated by the AMS however show in which direction the existing models must be expanded.
  • “A Case for Europe.” On May 25, 2017, the renowned historian and publicist Timothy Garton Ash was awarded with the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen at the Aachen City Hall – for his astute analyses of contemporary Europe, but also for his tireless commitment to freedom of speech. In his book of the same title he carries into the twentyfirst century the liberal idea of freedom of speech and expression and formulates ten principles of communication for a connected world.
  • and others

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