How a space scientist became a veterinarian – Aalto University Magazine introduces you to a group of people well-versed in the art of change

This issue’s articles look at people who see and do things differently.
Three copies of the latest Magazine issue photographed on a pile of cardboard boxes.
Photo: Mikko Raskinen

In the Openings column, Chief Human Resources Officer Riitta Silvennoinen considers the possibility of learning from students when dealing with the transformation of working life: “They have, after all, traditionally followed a hybrid work model consisting of contact teaching and group meetings, but also a lot of independent activity.” When a workplace evolves into an inspiring venue for renewal, it also becomes future-proof.

The main article focuses on a researcher and two entrepreneurs who are traversing new paths. Professor Michael Hummel leads Aalto University’s Bioinnovation Centre, which develops new kinds of materials to benefit the textile and packaging industries, among others. Entrepreneur and Aalto engineering graduate Annu Nieminen analyses companies to determine whether their positive impacts exceed their negative effects. School of Business alumnus Richard Nordström left a career in investment banking to launch a business that provides senior citizens with help at home. 

Who interviews Aalto alumna Sini Merikallio, a space researcher familiar to many TV viewers, who now works as a veterinarian and may soon become Finland’s first astronaut.

This issue’s On the go report takes us to the forest, a waste processing facility and the laboratory to find out how the environment-friendly fertiliser Putretti is made.

More innovations in materials research are featured in the article starring Olli Ikkala, a pioneer of the field who continues his research work with the status of professor emeritus. His colleagues talk about their shared research projects.

The On science column debates the climate load of construction. Postdoctoral researcher Juudit Ottelin and architect, Ministry of the Environment Senior Adviser Matti Kuittinen consider how the construction sector could replace lofty talk with an actual real-life transition to a circular economy. 

Aalto University Magazine 29 was published in Finnish and English. Copies are posted to all alumni subscribers. Digital versions of the magazine are available at, and some articles are also published online at

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