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Tomorrow may be too late

As a woman with a visual impairment, you have lost in science, nothing. A half-hour of the ETH-Zurich Professor whined asked as Barbara Müller him in 1992 for the supervision of their dissertation work, the today, 55-Year-old. The Professor was wrong. Barbara Müller is a renowned geologist and an internationally sought after expert in the field of water conservation and this, although the native Thurgauerin looks now even less than it was then. Barbara Müller suffers from Retinitis Pigmentosa, an inherited retinal degeneration. Even Barbara Müller has a minimes rest eyesight – she describes it as a "tube sight". Sooner or later, however, she will be completely blind.

The first blind spots in the field of view to the scene as a teenager. The reason for this Barbara Müller did not know at the time. During your apprenticeship as a font setzerin – "I graduated at the Insistence of my parents" – was their visual impairment for the first time to the Problem, because they are blinded by the strong light of the light table. But since they are more for rocks and mountains, interested as for the trade of Printer, after repeated after the completion of the apprenticeship, a-levels and enrolled at the ETH. Area Of Expertise: Raw Material Geology. To sell "my Knowledge to a commodity group came in for me but never in doubt," she says. Prefer to it helps Disadvantaged.

"As a geologist, I turn every stone – even in the holidays."Barbara Müller, a geologist

Since 2013, she is doing this in some 7000 kilometers away in Nepal. Highly toxic arsenic from Himalayan mountains for decades, into the groundwater, making the local population sick. The Locals suffer more than average often of tumors and skin cancer. Various organisations and international teams of researchers have tried to find a solution to the problem. Canadian scientists, for example, installed a Filter, which should free the water from arsenic. For this purpose, the groundwater was pumped to the surface, where it ran a screen made of nails; the rust should bind the arsenic itself.

The principle is simple, the implementation is difficult. Perplexed, the Canadians turned to the ETH-water Institute Eawag. This, in turn, contacted Barbara Müller, the area and Geology like no other scientist knows. Since the mid-1980s, she draws as a Trekking-tourist regularly through the Nepalese mountains. "And as a geologist, I turn every stone – even in the holidays." Therefore, you will not know immediately why the filters of the canadian work: "The groundwater flows from the high mountains. This consists of Leukogranit, a Rock that contains almost no iron. However, iron-containing water is the prerequisite for the formation of rust and therefore also for the Functioning of the Filter."

"Apart from the satellite phone we are cut off completely from the outside world."Barbara Müller, a geologist

From the unique request, it was a vocation. Every year it attracts Barbara Müller since then, to the Land of the Sherpas, to remove water and rock samples. Your goal, then as now: clean drinking water. Currently, she is working on a new Filter prototype, according to the American model, convenient for further screens cost can be manufactured. The research is financed by the now professional geologist of the Foundation's funds.

For an eight-week field trip needed Barbara Müller, each approximately 20'000 Swiss francs. In order to pay, among other things, their long-standing Nepalese Guides: Som Rai and Sung Chiring Rai. They assist the visually-impaired scientist working in the field, and assist you with the orientation in the partially icy, bumpy and steep terrain. The Sherpas are preceded by each, warn Barbara Müller obstacles, with steep passages on the rope and wear it over a freezing cold mountain stream. As far as the comfort is there for the Swiss, however, no special treatment. "Apart from the satellite phone we are cut off completely from the outside world," stresses Barbara Müller. The toilet is a hole in the ground, slept in the tent in temperatures of up to minus 20 degrees.

The disease does not prevent you from Hiking: geologist Barbara Müller. Photo: PD

During the trek in the high mountains Barbara Müller endurance proves. For the rock samples she wanders for weeks, from high plateau to high plateau, past passports, which are over 6000 meters high. Your Fitness may come as a surprise, but about you not coming. In spite of their visual impairment, the geologist, rides a bike, Ski and Snowboard climbs. Possible to radio make this signals from wizard – but above all, her overwhelming desire. Because of their disease in lethargy to sink Müller for Barbara out of the question. "I do what I can. Tomorrow it might be already too late." Already in June she wants samples so back to Nepal and for a variety of rock, the two 6000 Mera Peak and Island Peak climb. Walk. Barbara Müller calls it: "limits."


Created: 16.05.2019, 21:20 PM

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