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Showing posts from 2018

Go get them in the subway!

Science-festivals are booming, open house events are packed and it looks like every science-institution of class has to have an artist in residence program.  At the same time ‚alternative facts‘ are part of a populist surge that globally shakes societies. What are we doing wrong? Conventional communication addresses those who are already interested in science. We are preaching to the converted. But if scientific knowledge is to show an effect for society ‚everybody‘ has to be reached - especially those who skip the science-part in the newspaper or wouldn’t lose sleep for a science-night. In order to reach those ‚non-believers‘ Paul-Drude-Institut has brought MTL (a concept developed by the greek organization SciCo) to Berlin, presenting science of nine Leibniz-institutes and DLR in 5 subway stations. This experiment during Berlin Science Week  was new to everybody involved. Mercedes Reischel (transfer-manager at PDI) found a wonderful partner in Berlins BVG, the Science Week p

How Does Knowledge Get Into Society? A fly-by-artist-in-residence and a Dialogue

The artist Sadie Weis was shadowing some of the scientists at Paul-Drude-Institut (a research-institute for nanomaterials) for eight weeks, observing the way they work, how scientists communicate with eachother, how they explain stuff to an outsider. The result of this dialogue is a light-installation and - maybe more important for the scientists involved - a reflection of the scientists  and of the artist on the languages they use.  T his project of an artist in a fly-by-residency will be wrapped up on Saturday, November 10th with a p resentation by the artist Sadie Weis and a panel discussion on differences and similarities in the way artists and scientists communicate with the outside world                  November 10, 2018 from 14-18                 Paul-Drude-Institut für Festkörperelektronik                  Hausvogteiplatz 5–7, Berlin-Mitte                Germany For  the Dialogue,  please register at .   Der Dialog wird auf Deutsc

How can your research have an impact, if you don't care about knowledge-transfer?

Research can be relevant but ineffective One important difference between basic research and applied research is the time it takes for the generated knowledge to become effective in society. This effectiveness is generally measured in economic terms but is certainly much wider in scope. While it is obvious that application-driven research shows an effect in society much faster than fundamental research, the consequences of fundamental studies can be vastly bigger. The effects of application-oriented or application driven research tend to be rather incremental, while basic research has the potential to be truly disruptive. But then - The potential has to be 'activated' by knowledge transfer No matter on which end of the scientific scale your research is located - and definitely independent of your personal preferences - the potential societal impact of research can be extremely high but a real impact being totally absent. Obviously, the knowledge gained has to be activ

How can you do knowledge transfer if you have no knowledge?

I just had to endure another few minutes of Michio Kaku rambling about something he does not even start to understand: free will. Physics, he says, puts an end to the debate about free will . His reasoning? After lots of 'Einstein' and 'Heisenberg' iconography ('god does not play dice', 'there is uncertainty'), repeating the simple and wrong 'an electron is everywhere at the same time' he arrives at the oh-so mind-numbing and wrong banality that we have a free will because there is uncertainty dominating physics. This makes the act of a murderer unpredictable and really evil (as compared to the Newton-driven murderer whos actions are predisposed by Newtons laws. Everything would be deterministic from the beginning of time - everything could be calculated, nothing would be left to chance ... hey, Michio, there is more to the world than crude mechanics .... and therefore that fella would be guilt-free (talking of the physics-laws-driven killer, no

dumbing down

One of my fellow smart_'sses just published a book! 😀 In german 😢 So, this is the moment to learn one of the less accessible languages on the planet. Or have your german-speaking friend make this book a huge success and it will be translated to any language you understand. Or english. Since the essays are a lot about dumbing-down mankind by drowning us in ubiquituous babbling, let me keep it short: Congratulations Daniel Rapoport, it's a book!