Clever minds with outstanding ideas

Collage of the FAU-innovators Bernadette Rauscher und Matthias Trost plus the text "dies academicus 2023"
The innovators (left ro right) Meinard Müller, Bernadette Rauscher und Matthias Trost are to be honored at the Dies academicus. (images: FAU/Anna Tiessen)

Three innovators to receive an award at the Dies academicus

Every innovation starts with clever minds, and there is no shortage of them at FAU. They shape the future with their bright ideas, like the three innovators who are to be honored at the Dies academicus.

Audio feature against right-wing violence

FAU Innovator Bernadette Rauscher
Bernadette Rauscher encouraged high school pupils to take a creative look at the violence perpetrated by the right-wing group the NSU. (image: FAU/Anna Tiessen)

What is right-wing violence, and how can we encourage adolescents to think hard about the issue? “Normal day to day school life does not offer enough scope,” says Bernadette Rauscher. The student of the Master’s degree program in “Theater – Research – Transfer” at FAU decided to take an artistic and creative approach to the topic. Together with high school students from Weißenburg, she produced the audio feature “Warum hört das nicht auf zu brennen? Oder: Vom Gestern im Heute. Auf den Spuren des NSU”. (“Why does it not stop burning? Or: About the yesterday in today. On the trail of the NSU”). The feature deals with the murders committed by the Nazi underground organization as of September 9, 2000. The group worked on the project for over 6 months. “We conducted interviews, visited the crime scenes in Nuremberg, organized workshops,” Bernadette Rauscher explains. “And we always tried to reflect on our findings, and how they made us feel.” The feature was broadcast for the first time in “Radio Z” in Nuremberg on the 22nd anniversary of the attack on Enver Şimşek, the first of the ten murder victims of the NSU. Bernadette Rauscher is to be awarded the title “FAU Innovator 2023” in the category “Students” for her project.

Music meets computer science

FAU Innovator Meinard Müller
Meinard Müller uses AI to analyze music data and decode hidden patterns in complex musical works. (image: FAU/Anna Tiessen)

“Music and computer science are not a contradiction in terms,” says Meinard Müller. “On the contrary – we can use the one to better understand the other.” The professor for Semantic Audio Signal Processing intends to use tools from artificial intelligence to decode characteristic features and hidden patterns in complex musical works. Müller works at International Audio Laboratories Erlangen, a shared institution run jointly by FAU and the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS. In his current research, the computer scientist focuses on the many different layers of the concept of learning. He uses deep learning to analyze music data and hopes to make a contribution to digital humanities in this way. He also hopes that his findings will generate new impulses for AI in general. That apart, Müller believes that his project will have benefits for school and university learning: “Music can be a motivating medium to introduce young people to the basic principles of physics, mathematics, computer science and engineering.” Prof. Dr. Meinard Müller is FAU Innovator 2023 in the category of “Research”.

Film keeps rooms cool

FAU Innovator Matthias Trost
Matthias Trost has developed a film that reflects the heat of the sun’s rays, but lets daylight pass through. (image: FAU/Anna Tiessen)

A film that reflects the heat of the sun’s rays, but lets daylight pass through – that is the ingenious product from AMPERIAL Window Technologies. “The sun greatly heats up rooms through windows and glass facades, and cooling them back down requires a lot of energy,” explains managing director Matthias Trost. “Our film can reduce the temperature reached in buildings on a warm day by up to seven degrees Celsius, and electricity consumption by up to 26 percent.” Trost studied International Business Studies at FAU, worked for a short period at a bank and then discovered the lively start-up scene in the Nuremberg start-up center ZOLLHOF. Here he met Niall Killilea, Katja Wadlinger and Dr. Olaf Weiner. They soon came up with the idea of developing retrofittable heat protection for buildings. The transparent film consists of an innovative nanotechnological material, based on research conducted by the FAU research group “Solution Processed Semiconductors” at Energie Campus Nuremberg. The team of AMPERIAL Window Technologies is FAU Innovator 2023 in the category “Alumni”.

Dies academicus 2023

Celebrations for the 280th anniversary of FAU will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2023 at 11 am (doors open 10 am) in the Großer Saal in the Meistersingerhalle, Schultheißallee 2-4, Nuremberg. Everyone who would like to join in the celebrations is very welcome.

To the Dies academicus website