Public Understanding of Science

Scientific findings are occasionally met with distrust and untruths are glossed over as "alternative facts". HHU therefore strives to make the process of knowledge acquisition transparent and to share this acquired knowledge with those in the general public who are interested. 

The campus grounds, Haus der Universität (located in Düsseldorf’s city centre) and Mickeln House all serve as places of dialogue where researchers can explain their current research results as well as discuss the consequences and risks of their findings. 

In addition, HHU uses social media to present their research results and to interact with different target groups. As a Bürgeruniversität, HHU is always dedicated to collecting new ideas from experts outside of the university on current social questions and to discussing these with the community. 

Examples of Activities and Projects in the Area of Public Understanding of Science

Heinrich Heine Visiting Lecturer

Every two years, HHU hosts a Heinrich-Heine Gastprofessur (visiting lecturer). The respective visiting lecturer critically discusses current socially-relevant topics with members of HHU and the general public in lectures, seminars and panel discussions. A visiting lecturer in 2016, journalist Ulrich Wickert addressed the topic "Power and Media"; on the occasion of his visiting lectureship in 2018, retired Federal President Joachim Gauck spoke about Germany as a country of immigration. Since 1988, visiting lecturers have included Marcel Reich-Ranicki, Richard von Weizsäcker, Helmut Schmidt, Wolf Biermann, Siegfried Lenz, Durs Grünbein, Joschka Fischer and Karl Kardinal Lehmann.  

IHK Schlossgespräche
The IHK Schlossgespräche are organised together with the Düsseldorf Chamber of Industry and Commerce. Here, scientists from different disciplines meet representatives from the private sector at Mickeln House in order to discuss relevant topics on the boundaries of science and economy. Past “Castle Discussions” included the problem of exploding costs in large-scale projects (2016), neuroeconomics as a catalyst for management (2015) and growth financing as an important driver of entrepreneurship (2014). Finally, HHU philosophers exchanged with representatives of the regional economy on the topic of creativity and the conditions of creative and innovative thinking in companies.





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