friedrich120: Editorial

Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger, Präsident der Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
(Image: FAU/Einhorn)

Dear readers,

Some of you may know the poem by the celebrated American poet Robert Frost: ‘Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.’ Each day of our lives we have to decide which way to go, whether to follow new, old, dangerous, easy, innovative or well-trampled roads. Some are so familiar to us, we can follow them in our sleep. However, we are often overcome by curiosity and seek out new, perhaps even risky paths on our journey. This is particularly true in academia. Researchers are always searching for new ways to find solutions to the major questions facing our society.

The topic of ‘pathways’ for our new edition of friedrich is an obvious choice. We have taken a closer look at different pathways in a wide range of different contexts. For example, we looked at why and how people travel. Why do we choose to travel to work in the morning and back in the evening every day? How could these journeys be made more environmentally friendly? What impact do events like the coronavirus pandemic have on our mobility? However, not everybody chooses to travel. Some are forced to set out on a journey due to circumstances beyond their control. They have to flee their country of origin, leave everything behind and set out on a precarious voyage. We explored the reasons forcing people to flee their homes and investigated the situation currently facing refugees and migrants in Germany.

To be on the move can also be taken more literally. Something we tend to neglect in today’s digital society. How can we buck this trend? And how can we help those whose movement is restricted as a result of illness? Even the world around us is constantly shifting, on the move. How do water and air cycles affect our life? And what impact does our lifestyle have on these cycles?

Life is rarely a straightforward journey from A to B. Adaptability is key. Research expeditions are a good example of this in practice. We looked into how Humboldt and other explorers coped with the challenges facing them. And sometimes even if we are expected to follow a certain way of doing things, for example at work, we deliberately choose to ignore it. What inspires us to find a ‘workaround’?

As you can see, this edition of friedrich is branching out down various avenues. We hope you find the time to come with us and enjoy the journey. As we also like to try out new ideas, we have experimented with including more illustrations in this issue. We look forward to hearing whether you like the result as much as we do.

Joachim Hornegger
President of the FAU

FAU research magazine friedrich

friedrich120: CoverThis article first appeared in our research magazine friedrich. You can order the print issue (only available in German) free of charge at

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