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Report on Wissenschaft auf AEG 2015

Report on Wissenschaft auf AEG 2015: videos of the lecture series

FAU presents exciting current research projects to the public in the lecture series ‘Wissenschaft auf AEG’. The event location ‘Auf AEG’ – the former AEG site – has a unique atmosphere that provides the perfect setting for lecture series. It is a place that promotes knowledge and research where visitors are sure to learn something new. The three events held in 2015 were hosted by FAU’s Vice President for Research, Prof. Dr. Nadine Gatzert.


What is light? A modern answer to an age-old question

  • Monday 12 January 2015, 6.30 p.m.– 8.00 p.m.
  • Prof. Dr. Joachim von Zanthier, Institute of Optics, Information and Photonics

What is light? People have been searching for the answer to this question since Antiquity. Newton imagined light as a stream of particles, while 100 years later Thomas Young’s observations led him to conclude that light is a wave. For around 100 years, we have known that both are correct: light is both a wave and a particle. When taking measurements it simply depends which aspect you want to observe. This lecture will present both properties of light and report on current developments in theories and applications of light. For example, atoms can be bombarded with light particles and cooled down to the lowest temperatures in the universe. At the same time, light waves can be used as the timekeeping element of the most exact clocks in the world. Recent findings show that light particles can interfere with one another due to their wave properties, meaning that measuring one light particle in one place can influence the observation of a different particle in another place.

Was ist Licht? Eine moderne Antwort auf eine alte Frage


Islam in German society and under German law

  • Monday 27 April 2015, 6.30 p.m.– 8.00 p.m.
  • Prof. Dr. Mathias Rohe, Chair of Civil Law, Private International Law and Comparative Law

Islam has become a matter of concern in Germany, despite the fact that millions of Germans have been part of German society for a long time. In light of this, it is important that research is carried out in order to determine the legal and social foundations required for a thriving multicultural community and to develop suggestions for the future. This research must also include a precise analysis of existing problems. The Erlangen Centre for Islam and Law in Europe, established at FAU in 2009, is the only interdisciplinary centre of its kind in Europe that is researching these issues.

This lecture will present findings from national and international research projects, with a particular focus on religious arbitration and parallel justice. Another issue that will be discussed is Muslim self-organisation and participation, such as through Islamic religious education and Islamic theology. FAU also plays a pioneering role in this area with its Department of Islamic Religious Studies.

Der Islam im deutschen Rechtstaat

Digitalising the past: the future of historic artefacts

  • Monday 11/05/2015, 6.30 p.m.– 8.00 p.m.
  • Prof. Dr. Günther Görz, AG Digital Humanities

Bright blue seas underneath white and red text, flags marking individual places and countries depicted in light brown – the Behaim Globe must have been very colourful 500 years ago. Today it is covered in a yellowish-brown fog, but researchers at FAU and the Germanisches Nationalmuseum are now uncovering what the globe would have looked like in all its former glory. This is being done with the help of a computer. In addition to a 3D model which will be available online, they are working on a comprehensive database of the countless images and inscriptions on the globe which is logically connected and will enable a computer-aided comparison of the globe with other objects in the future.

The Behaim project is an excellent example of the research being carried out in the field of digital humanities. This lecture will focus on how cultural heritage can be presented digitally in order to make it more accessible to people across the globe and to provide new sources of information for research.

Aus alt mach digital: Die digitale Zukunft historischer Schätze


Online crime: cyber criminals and their tricks

  • Monday 15/06/2015, 6.30 p.m.– 8.00 p.m.
  • Prof. Dr. Felix Freiling,
    Chair of Computer Science 1 (IT Infrastructures)

Cyber criminals are constantly developing new ways of accessing data in order to gain money. The costs of the resulting damage to companies run into the millions. It is difficult to determine the exact scale of the damage – the number of unreported incidents is too high. In addition to large companies, private individuals are also affected. The methods that criminals use to access data are diverse. They may install malware on a large number of computers or lure internet users to fake websites in order to collect sensitive information.

In this lecture Prof. Freiling explains which tricks are especially effective. In addition to the question of how crimes are committed technically, he also addresses the issue of how such crimes can be prevented. This is an important topic as many computers are not adequately protected, making them a target for cyber criminals.


The 100th anniversary of the general theory of relativity: what it predicts and where it meets its limits

  • Monday 19 October 2015, 6.30 p.m.–8.00 p.m.
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Thiemann, Chair of Theoretical Physics

Without it we would not be able to use GPS devices to accurately determine our positions to within a few meters: Einstein’s general theory of relativity, which is 100 years old this year. But what does it actually mean? And why are physicists searching for a new theory? The general theory of relativity is a very successful theory of gravitation that helps us to describe and understand our world on immensely different scales – from small planetary systems to the universe as a whole.

Albert Einstein viewed gravity not as a force – the force that causes the planets to move around the sun – but as a geometrical object. However, the theory leaves some questions unanswered. The theory describes the beginning of our universe with the big bang, but it appears to lose its predictive power here, at the beginning of space and time, as the physical quantities that it defines would take on infinite values.


Optimised is not optimal: reducing energy costs through intelligent planning

  • Monday 02/11/2015, 6.30 p.m.–8.00 p.m.
  • Prof. Dr. Alexander Martin, Chair of Economics, Discrete Optimisation and Mathematics

Intelligent train timetabling could help to reduce electricity costs. The capacities of the electrical grid are based on peak demand, the point when use is highest. In the home this point is when all devices such as the washing machine, tumble dryer and dishwasher are being used at the same time. The electricity supply needs to be designed to cope with this peak demand. What applies to this small-scale example also applies to Germany’s rail network. The more trains depart and accelerate at the same time, the higher the energy consumption at the given moment. Adjusting the departure times of passenger and freight trains slightly would allow electrical capacities to be reduced – which would in turn reduce prices. The mathematical optimisation used in this example can also be applied in many other areas, such as the transportation of gas in pipelines, the replenishment of ATMs or the scheduling of family-friendly shift patterns. Researchers in this field not only look at which areas their methods could have potential in; they also investigate ways in which they can identify potential in the first place and how they can determine the areas in which it is worth adapting existing systems.

Optimiert ist nicht optimal: Energiekosten senken durch intelligente Planung


What is intelligence?

  • Monday 14 December 2015, 6.30 p.m.–8.00 p.m.
  • Prof. Dr. Albert Ziegler, Chair of Educational Psychology and Excellence Research

Being intelligent means getting good grades. Or being able to solve tricky puzzles. Or being able to do mental arithmetic effortlessly. Or is it? So far researchers have not been able to agree upon an exact definition of intelligence. Intelligence is one of the most intriguing constructs of psychology and is as hotly debated now as it has ever been.

How a person’s intelligence develops depends on many factors, such as genetic predisposition, social environment, education and nutrition. The aim of this presentation is to bring the many different findings together to
create an overall picture. It will look at questions such as: can intelligence be trained? Is intelligence purely a mental thing, or do our emotions and bodies also play a role? Were our grandparents more intelligent on average than we are today? And finally: who are more intelligent – men or women?