This web portal of the Swiss Biodiversity Forum offers scientifically sound answers to questions about biodiversity and shows what we can do to protect it.more

Image: Pablo Escobar, photocase.demore

At the end of life

Horizons is embracing impermanence and the inevitability of death. But when exactly does life end? How does our society deal with dying and death? And how much self-determination is there in a living will?

Horizons No. 112

The only certainty in life is that everybody has to die. For decades we had banished death from our daily lives, but today it is making something of a comeback. And because of the possibilities offered by modern medicine and our increased life expectancy, we are asked to make the most personal of all decisions towards the end of our lives: whether to continue treatment or let go? The latest edition of Horizons focuses on current end-of-life research. One of the questions addressed in this field of study is: when exactly does life end? Drawing a clear line between life and death is more difficult than one might think.

Horizons also gives a face to researchers who have fled politically unstable countries or war and are now trying to find their feet in Europe. Universities and research funders would like to offer them an opportunity to put their abilities to good use. The results are mixed, as the stories of researchers living in exile in Switzerland show.

Other topics in this issue include the consequences of digital populism for democracy, the possibilities of ensuring safe treatments for children and pregnant women who are neglected by clinical studies, and new ways of fighting Zika, dengue and other viruses that are transmitted by mosquitos.

Further articles detail the evolution of cooperation and new ways of binding CO2. In addition, bioethicist Effy Vayena tells us how she came to have such sensitive research topics, and the migration expert Dominik Hangartner offers an insight into his research on politically controversial themes.


  • Cooperation
  • Europe
  • Human