Summary of the panel discussion on 08.04.2018

Introduction: President Beisiegel

1st Speech: Tanja Gabriele Baudson (co-organizer of MfS Germany):

  • We need to work on more and easily understandable communication with the public
  • Find ways to address negative/etc. results that cannot be published & publication bias
  • Awarded excellence in teaching for work incl. MfS

2nd Speech: Stefan Herminghaus (Director of MPI for Dynamics & Self-Organisation)

  • Is basic research Expensive/useless/elite?
  • Only a few euros per person in Germany actually go to the MPIs for their research.; his seems quite a low cost for the high level of research
  • There should be a greater focus on the ultimate societal goal of the research, even if each individual project is not directly applicable
  • We need to regain the trust of politicians and the public
  • The errors that occur in science have to be corrected
  • We must improve communication
  • We have to find a better way to explain the consequences of bad communication or missing information/knowledge


Aneke Dornbusch (PhD Theology)

  • Used the example of theology to explain how it can be difficult for people to understand what research is about
  • Definitely due to a lack of communication
  • Examples such as “ask me anything” can help
  • One way to reach people and have an impact is to show how to make better decisions in daily life to improve living conditions and sustainability
  • Started a blog to explain her research to a wider audience, tries to describe things in a way that is understandable to anyone

Stephan Herminghaus (MPI)

  • It would be very easy for populism to change everything because one election can do it
  • We need to focus on making things work with society and the environment (not just getting off the planet)
  • Find practical uses for research
  • Simplifying enough to explain without getting the explanation wrong can be difficult, often need to be less precise to make things understandable to the General public

Ulrike Beisiegel (President)

  • Initiative in DFG to get young scientists to write more in common language, avoid complexity just to make articles sound better, focus on wider communication

Tanja Gabriele Baudson (MfS org)

  • Populism just as present in Germany with AfD etc
  • Though cience itself less directly attacked in general
  • Should not just focus on cognitive capacity / intelligence, also need to consider moral and emotional qualities for positions and leadership
  • Old psychology no longer so important in psychology research, mainly held on to by medical establishment
  • Sensational headlines are preferred no only in media, but also in science and publications
  • Need to make communication to public a more important element, also as requirement for open positions

Maria Ximena Ordonez (Literature Research US)

  • Germany has advantage due to better political situation
  • Interest between scientific fields (interdisciplinary research) can lead to better solutions
  • The selection of the audience is highly influential, and as most research is pointed at publications for researchers, not the public or students, it lacks in accessibility


  • Maybe make it clear that science can be done by anyone, not just scientists, to help reach the public
  • Focusing on alternative facts, trump, AfD, misses many other issues
  • Should not just focus on differences between facts and alternative facts or increasing the amount of information, as there already is a lot there. Should explain the methods of how we get there, the scientific process, and how to differentiate ideas versus hypotheses, and assumptions versus tested knowledge
  • How about making it possible for anyone to spend part of their workweek thinking and analyzing, reading and researching

Why we still march for science

Science plays a central role in our lives and our society. It’s allowed us to understand the beauty of mother nature while being essential for human progress and technological advances. The scientific discoveries and knowledge that are made belong to all of us, and you don’t have to be a scientist to benefit from or appreciate scientific research. For me, the March for Science gives me an opportunity to demonstrate my passion for science. Science has played such a crucial role in human history and has helped improve the quality of life of so many people.  Marching for science allows us to express how important we view the role of science in today’s society. It’s a chance for us to reach out to people from all walks of life, and let them know about our scientific findings, why we think they’re important, and how these can contribute to society as a whole. Marching for science also allows us to demonstrate how important research and development to politicians and policymakers. It must be made clear that governmental policy must take scientific results and investigations into account in order to achieve the most beneficial effect. Marching for science will allow us to express that financial support for scientific research is crucial for the long-term advances of society. I hope you will all join in the March for Science on April 14 this year. Together, we can ensure that science continues to benefit humankind.


– Prof. Dr. Stan Lai, Professor for experimental particle physics, Director 2nd Physics Institute and March for Science supporter

Press Release 2: April 2018

13. 04. 2018 | Göttingen – Der „March for Science“ steht für die Freiheit und das Vertrauen in die Wissenschaft und findet weltweit am Samstag, 14. April 2018, statt. Bereits im letzten Jahr erregte der „March for Science“ großes Aufsehen und war auch in Göttingen ein großer Erfolg.

Wir freuen uns, dass wir in diesem Jahr für Göttingen noch einen weiteren Redner gewinnen konnten:

Prof. Dr. Horst Hippler, Präsident der deutschen Hochschulrektorenkonferenz.

Um 10 Uhr geht es los mit einem „Warm-up“ am Gänseliesel in der Göttinger Innenstadt. Hier können sich Interessierte über Forschung in Göttingen informieren und mit Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftlern ins Gespräch kommen.

Nach einem Grußwort von Oberbürgermeister Rolf-Georg Köhler um 11 Uhr geht der Zug durch die Fußgängerzone bis zum Zentralcampus der Universität am Platz der Göttinger Sieben. Dort wirt eine Abschlusskundgebung stattfindet mit Grußwort von Prof. Dr. Ulf Diederichsen (Vizepräsident für Forschung der Universität Göttingen) und Beiträgen von Prof. Dr. Stefan Treue (Direktor Deutsches Primatenzentrum), Dr. Marie Luisa Allemeyer (Direktorin, Forum Wissen der Universität Göttingen), und Organisatoren/innen von March for Science Göttingen.

Der „March for Science Göttingen“ ist eine Basisbewegung. Die Veranstaltung wurde von einem unabhängigen, überparteilichen Team organisiert, bestehend aus Wissenschaftlern/-lerinnen und Nicht-Wissenschaftlern/-lerinnen.

This is why we march tomorrow!

In April 2017, we all participated worldwide in the „March for Science“ for science, fact-based and reproducible statements and studies. Some of our most important messages were:

  • No borders: physics, like all sciences – does not know any political, cultural nor religious borders.
  • Freedom to travel is indispensable for scientists for their scientific exchange and discourse, for the development of careers and networks.
  • Freedom of speech is necessary, in order to be able to present unexpected scientific results.
  • Acceptance of facts: facts must not and cannot be discussed away by opinions or ideas.
  • Progress means to take new insights into account in order to develop concepts further.
  • Education: state of the art knowledge must be taught to young talents in an unbiased way.
  • Tolerance and cosmopolitan attitude: to view contexts from different points of views leads to new insights. Such different angles must be considered and accepted.

Those aspects were and are still important to us. They have all been discussed last year, were heard and triggered strong and positive resonance. Nevertheless, those aspects have not lost their topicality and brisance, are still not standard in all countries and accepted, still need our support, education, and wide communication, also in Germany. For those reasons, we participate again in the „March for Science“ in 2018. Prof.

  • Dr. Arnulf Quadt, Professor for experimental particle physics, 2nd Physics Institute, University Göttingen and March for Science supporter


Press Release: April 2018

  Press Release (German):
“Science March Göttingen” on Saturday, April 14th (updated)


11. 04. 2018 | Göttingen – Fakten, für alle frei zugänglich, bilden die Basis für konstruktive Diskussionen und eine gesunde Demokratie. Am Sonnabend, 14. April, setzen Menschen in Göttingen mit einer Demo ein Zeichen für die Freiheit der Wissenschaft. In über 200 Städten weltweit wird die Wissenschaft gefeiert und gegen Fakten-Leugnung vonseiten des Staates oder der Politik, Sprachverbote für Forscher, Entlassungen von kritischen Akademikern/-kerinnen, Budgetkürzungen, Reisebeschränkungen und andere Missstände die Wissenschaft betreffend demonstriert. Damit zeigen wir Solidarität mit Wissenschaftlern/-lerinnen, die aktuell akuten Bedrohungen ausgesetzt sind und unterstützen die Wissenschaft als öffentliches Gut. Ein Jahr nach dem ersten „March for Science“ (MFS) ist es notwendiger denn je, diese Zeichen zu setzen.

2017 gingen weltweit 1 Million Demonstranten für den MFS auf die Straße und mehr als 37.000 in über 20 Städten allein in Deutschland. 2018 finden wieder in mehr als 20 deutschen Städten MFS Veranstaltungen statt. In Göttingen, der “Stadt des Wissens”, ist es unumgänglich, die Stimme wieder zu erheben, um sich kritisch zu äußern, wenn  Wissenschaft und Wissenschaftler bedroht sind, aber auch sich positiv zu äußern für die konstruktive Rolle das Wissenschaft als Teil des öffentlichen Lebens. Referenten/innen werden bei der Kundgebung eine Bestandsaufnahme der Wissenschaft von heute in Göttingen und der Welt machen und in ihre Zukunft blicken.

Es sprechen unter anderem:

  • Göttingens Oberbürgermeister Rolf-Georg Köhler
  • Vizepräsident für Forschung der Universität Göttingen, Prof. Dr. Ulf Diederichsen
  • Direktor des Deutschen Primatenzentrums, Prof. Dr. Stefan Treue
  • Direktorin, Forum Wissen der Universität Göttingen, Dr. Marie Luisa Allemeyer
  • Präsident der  Hochschulrektorenkonferenz, Prof. Dr.  Horst Hippler

Ab 10 Uhr wird es am Gänseliesel ein “Warm-up” mit familienfreundlichen Angeboten rund um die Wissenschaft geben. Um 11 Uhr eröffnet Oberbürgermeister Rolf-Georg Köhler dort offiziell den Marsch, der am Platz der Göttinger Sieben auf dem Zentralcampus der Universität endet. Dort wird die Kundgebung gegen 12.00 Uhr den “March for Science” abrunden.

Der „March for Science Göttingen“ ist eine Basisbewegung. Die Veranstaltung wurde von einem unabhängigen, überparteilichen Team organisiert, bestehend aus Wissenschaftlern/-lerinnen und Nicht-Wissenschaftlern/-lerinnen.

Pressemitteilung MFS GÖ 2018 (updated)



March for Science 2018!

April 14th, 2018
10:00 Warm-up at the Gänseliesel
March begins: 11:00

On April 14th 2018 the citizens of Göttingen and the environs are taking to the streets and standing up for open and accessible science and research. We are joining the worldwide March for Science along with 175 other cities, including 15 in Germany, to show our support and affirm that freedom in science is a vital democratic value.

  • 10 AM: Warm up at the Gänseliesel – Interactive science activities, crafts, and displays, sign-making opportunities, and ‘Ask-me-anything’ Scientists.At
  • 11 AM: Mayor Rolf-Georg Köhler will kick off the March, leading to the Platz Göttinger Sieben. Speakers will be Ulf Diederichsen Vice President of research Göttingen University, Prof. Dr. Horst Hippler, President of the Hochschulrektorskonferenz, Prof. Dr. Stefan Treue, Director of the Deutsches Primate Zentrum, and Dr. Maria Luisa Allemeyer, Director of Göttingen’s future museum Forum Wissen.

We look forward to seeing many of you there on April 14th!