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Max von Laue-Vorträge

Die DPG rief im Jahre 2000 eine Vortragsreihe zu Ehren von Max von Laue ins Leben. Der Physiker und Nobelpreisträger, der von 1931 bis 1933 Präsident der Deutschen Physikalischen Gesellschaft war, setzte sich zwischen 1933 und 1945 in außergewöhnlicher Weise im Bereich der Menschenrechte ein. Die Max-von-Laue-Vorträge finden jeweils im Rahmen der Jahrestagungen statt und werden von Wissenschaftlern gehalten, die sich durch starkes politisches oder soziales Engagement auszeichnen.

2018 Prof. Dr. Paul G. Richards
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, New York, USA
Scientific Work in Support of Bans on Nuclear Testing: Lessons for Science Advice

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was finalized in 1996, but cannot enter into force until a few more key signatures and ratifications are obtained. In practice this treaty has stopped nuclear testing by all but North Korea. The CTBT is associated with a complex verification system. Several different approaches combine to give excellent capability to monitor for nuclear explosions.
The talk will review the principal monitoring methods. Some of the most important are provided by seismology. The presentation also describes how most methods of explosion monitoring evolved, mainly from 1945 to 1996 when more than 2000 nuclear test explosions were conducted. The goal then was to monitor ongoing weapons development by potential adversaries. Today the treaty context is nuclear arms control, involving very different agencies, different objectives, and different attitudes to technical issues. The talk also describes several difficulties in giving valid science advice, eventually accepted, that was not initially welcomed by sponsoring organizations.

2017 Prof. Dr. Michael Gordin
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA
From the "Vergangenheit der Physik" to the "Future of Physics": Monolingualism and the Transformation of a Science

Among all the transformations that have shaped the physical sciences over the past century, one of the most dramatic but least recognized has been the transition from a trilingual discipline (in English, French, and German), to the monolingual discipline of today. The dominance of English seems so inevitable to scientists working now that it is surprising to recognize that it attained this overwhelming status only in the 1970s, and that the process was quite contingent, even chaotic, as recently as midcentury. This talk will explore the origins of the current linguistic order in the sciences with an emphasis on the fate of the German language and the disciplines of physics and chemistry.

2016 Prof. Dr. Allison MacFarlane
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Nuclear Energy: Practical Realities and Significant Challenges

Nuclear energy tends to be a polarizing subject: you are either for it or against it. Putting debates aside, in 2016, there are practical realities associated with nuclear power: many countries use it (even Germany, though it will be phased out), many seem to want to acquire it (even though it is a 60-year-old technology), and all that have or will have it must develop a responsible way of managing its wastes. In this post-Fukushima environment, can nuclear power continue to be used safely? Given the threats of terror attacks, can it be used securely? Can ``new entrants,'' countries that want to acquire nuclear power, do so safely? And can we develop a technically sound and politically acceptable solution to the waste problem? All of these areas must be addressed to ensure public health and safety.

2015 Prof. Dr. Frank N. von Hippel
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Unmaking the Bomb: A Fissile Material Approach to Nuclear Disarmament and Nonproliferation

The number of operational nuclear weapons in the world has dropped from about 65,000 at the end of the Cold war to about 10,000 and can be driven much lower. But we have a huge amount of highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium from these dismantled Cold War nuclear weapons and from failed civilian plutonium breeder reactor commercialization programs. To make nuclear disarmament irreversible and prevent nuclear terrorism, all this material must be secured and disposed of. We also must abandon the idea of using a nuclear-weapon-usable material as a fuel * that is plutonium in power reactors and highly enriched uranium in naval-propulsion and research reactors. Fortunately, using plutonium as a fuel is uneconomic and research and naval reactors can be designed to use low-enriched uranium. Finally, we must move away from ambiguous national enrichment programs like Iran*s to multinational enrichment programs such as Urenco.

2014 Roy MacLeod
University of Sydney
The Scientists go to war: Questions, Contexts and Consequences, 1914 - 1918

In August 2014, the world will commemorate the outbreak of the Great War of 1914 - 18. The occasion will cause many to rethink the causes and the consequences of the war for our time. For many, the war was a catalyst of modernity, and in the popular phrase, ‘the cause of nowadays’. Looking back, it was also the first installment of what historians have come to call the Great World War, 1914 - 45. From the global struggle, emerged one great idea among many: victory was destined to favor those best able to communicate, cooperate, and innovate in the mobilization and management of resources and the applications of science. This task fell largely, and most often, to a generation of scientists and scholars who saw a role for science and culture in nationalism and nation-building. The first international war to engage the entire industrial world quickly challenged established Enlightenment ideals of fraternity, internationality, and communality. Crusading, often ahead of their political and military leadership, scientists won praise for their patriotic service. AftŸerwards, many saw the war – all war – as a heart-rending waste of talent and resources; for others, however, it was an opportunity to show what science could do. As Emil Fischer put it, ‘modern warfare draws its means from the progress of the sciences’. And for George Ellery Hale, Foreign Secretary of the US National Academy of Sciences, the war was ‘the greatest chance we ever had to advance research’.
This presentation will outline leading features of the ‘scientific war’ between 1914 - 1918 and will reflect on the war’s effect on redrawing the scientific landscape, revising pre-war hegemonies, and inaugurating a vision of scientific internationalism that was, in the end, to fail before it could succeed. It is in this wider context that we find the war’s most enduring contributions to the changing social role of modern science.

2013 David Kaiser
MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA
Gravity: A Political History

A popular image persists of Albert Einstein as a loner, someone who avoided the hustle and bustle of everyday life in favor of quiet contemplation. Yet Einstein was deeply engaged with politics throughout his life; indeed, he was so active politically that the US FBI kept him under surveillance for decades. His most enduring scientic legacy, the general theory of relativity – physicists’ reigning explanation for gravity and the basis for nearly all our thinking about the cosmos – has likewise been cast as an austere temple standing aloof from the all-toohuman dramas of political history. But was it so? is talk explores surprising linkages between the pursuit of general relativity and the political history of the 20th century, tracing the embedding of the research in the wider context of the social responsibility of science.

2012 Naomi Oreskes
University of California, San Diego
The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change: Where Do We Go From Here?

In 2004, I published an article documenting the widespread agreement among scientific researchers that anthropogenic climate change was underway. This agreement was made evident by statements of leading scientific societies and national and Royal Academies, and by the content of papers published in peer-reviewed journals. Yet, despite broad expert agreement, action on slowing, much less preventing further, climate change has been sluggish. Does this mean that our science has failed us? In this talk I discuss the implications of our collective inaction on anthropogenic climate change in the light of our current scientific knowledge.

2011 Siegfried Hunklinger
Kirchhoff-Institut für Physik, Universität Heidelberg
Redlichkeit in der Wissenschaft

Vor einigen Jahren wurde eine spektakuläre Fälschung von wissenschaftlichen Daten aufgedeckt. Dieser Vorfall gab Anlass zur Diskussion in der Wissenschaft und in der Öffentlichkeit. Unter der Federführung der DFG wurde daraufhin eine Empfehlung mit dem Titel „Sicherung der guten wissenschaftlichen Praxis“ erarbeitet, die mit kleinen Änderungen von den Universitäten und den Forschungseinrichtungen übernommen wurde. Zusätzlich wurde der „Ombudsman für die Wissenschaft“ (früher „Ombudsman der DFG“) als Ansprechpartner eingerichtet, der nun seit mehr als 10 Jahre tätig ist.
In meinem Vortrag werde ich die Prinzipien der guten wissenschaftlichen Praxis erläutern und deren Bedeutung anhand realer Vorfälle diskutieren. Ich werde zeigen, dass Datenfälschung, Verweigerung der Koautorenschaft, Mobbing usw. im Institutsalltag durchaus vorkommen. Dabei möchte ich mit Hilfe von Beispielen die Arbeitsweise des Gremiums erläutern.

2010 Sidney Drell
Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
Working Toward a World Without Nuclear Weapons
Vortrag als Video
Vortrag als PDF

During the Cold War, the United States and the former Soviet Union relied on nuclear deterrence to navigate successfully through those perilous years. In today’s world, with the accelerating spread of nuclear material, know-how, and weapons, we are facing an increasing danger that nuclear weapons, the deadliest weapons ever invented, may be acquired by ruthless national leaders or suicidal terrorists. Under these circumstances, relying on thousands of nuclear weapons for deterrence is becoming increasingly hazardous and decreasingly effective. What will it take to rekindle the vision of a world free of nuclear weapons that President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev brought to their remarkable summit at Reykjavik in 1986? Can a world-wide consensus be forged on a series of practical steps to escape the nuclear deterrence trap?
A world without nuclear weapons is a goal worth pursuing in itself. Beyond that, and most importantly, endeavoring to achieve that goal will also invigorate efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. But the road will not be an easy one. Real and serious obstacles lie ahead. Nations that have privileged positions in the international system by virtue of being nuclear weapons states will be reluctant to give up that status, or even to accept parity in nuclear weapons as stockpiles are reduced to low levels. Nations that fear the conventionally-armed military might of other nations will be reluctant to give up the option of a nuclear “equalizer.” Factors such as these, rather than technical problems, are the main reasons why reaching zero will be so difficult. And these are problems that can be overcome. No law of nature stands in the way.

2009 David Holloway
Stanford University
Bohr, Oppenheimer, and Sakharov: Physicists and Politics in the Cold War and the Responsibility of Scientists Today

After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, physicists realized that their science, which before World War II had seemed to be remote from practical use, had laid the basis for the most terrible weapons. They felt a special responsibility for dealing with its military and political consequences. In this lecture I will look in particular at the efforts of Niels Bohr, Robert Oppenheimer, and Andrei Sakharov to confront the challenge of nuclear weapons and to prevent the catastrophe of nuclear war. I will examine how they understood that challenge, how they tried to meet it, and how their activities brought them into conflict with political authorities. I will explore the differing conceptions the three men had of the relationship between science and politics and, on that basis, discuss the responsibility of scientists today.

2008 Hartmut Graßl
Max-Planck-Institut für Meteorologie, Hamburg
Die Debatte um den Klimawandel – Wissenschaftliche Fakten und Handlungsnotwendigkeiten

Der erhöhte Treibhauseffekt der Atmosphäre und die kontinentweite Trübung der Luft haben globale Klimaänderungen angestoßen, die mindestens für die kommenden Jahrhunderte zu einer mittleren Erwärmung und stark steigendem Meeresspiegel führen werden. Je nach zukünftigem Verhalten der Menschheit, vor allem bei der Energiebereitstellung, ist eine Erwärmung über alle Erfahrungen des homo sapiens hinaus sehr wahrscheinlich. Eine die Vorgaben der Rahmenkonvention der Vereinten Nationen zu Klimaänderungen einhaltende Klimapolitik muss den Übergang zu kohlenstofffreien Energieträgern organisieren. Wie schnell dies zu bewerkstelligen ist, soll im Vortrag anhand eines Szenarios, das die mittlere globale Erwärmung unter zwei Grad hält, gezeigt werden.

2007 Pervaiz Amirali Hoodbhoy
Professor der Physik an der Quaid-e-Azam Universität, Islamabad, Homepage
Science and Islam

In this talk I shall first assess - within the limits of available data - the current state of the hard sciences (such as physics and mathematics) in Muslim countries. Although there is considerable variation across 48 Muslim countries, one concludes that the situation is unsatisfactory. Possible causes will be explored, including the priorities and funding practices of national governments. Prevalent Muslim attitudes towards science, technology, and modernity will be discussed. Muslim successes in science in earlier centuries are well known, and a comprehensive picture requires putting these into relation with the current cultural and political resistance to change. Bottlenecks to scientific growth will be identified. I shall then turn towards thoughtful contemporary voices among Muslims that recognize the depth of the current crisis, who offer plausible remedies for bringing science back into Islam, and who have captured at least some public attention. The possible role of the EU in helping science grow in Muslim countries will be explored.

2006 Armin Grunwald
Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Institut für Technikfolgenabschätzung und Systemanalyse, Homepage
Was erwartet die Gesellschaft von der Physik und den Physiker(inn)en?

Die Erwartungen der Gesellschaft an die Physik lassen sich nach den fachlichen Erwartungen und den außerfachlichen Erwartungen unterscheiden. Die fachlichen Erwartungen sind dabei in der Regel unkontrovers: die Gesellschaft erwartet von der Physik vor allem ”gute Physik“ in Forschung und Lehre – was man dann weiter ausdifferenzieren kann. Komplizierter sieht es mit den außerfachlichen Erwartungen aus. Vor allem die Frage nach der Verantwortung steht hier seit Jahrzehnten im Mittelpunkt. Am Anfang der Diskussion über die Verantwortung der Wissenschaften standen Physiker. Mittlerweile ist die Diskussion über die Verantwortung der Wissenschaften und der Wissenschaftler/innen in viele andere Fächer hineingewandert, dabei aber auch oft in Unkenntlichkeit, bloßen Lippenbekenntnissen oder in Irrelevanz versandet. Im Vortrag werde ich zunächst das Verantwortungskonzept so konkretisieren, dass belastbare Aussagen möglich werden. In der Frage, welche Verantwortungsübernahme seitens der Gesellschaft erwartet wird und von den Physiker(inne)n zugesagt werden kann, steht die Grundsatzfrage am Anfang, ob sie sich zuallererst als Entdecker, Erkennende oder als Handelnde und Eingreifende verstehen. Bestehen die Ergebnisse der Physik in Erkenntnis oder in letztlich technischer Verfügungsmacht? Hierzu werde ich ein differenziertes Modell der Verantwortung vorstellen, dass auch eine klare Vorstellung von den Grenzen der Verantwortung der Physiker und von den Bedingungen der Möglichkeit einer aktiven Verantwortungsübernahme vermitteln soll. Diese Überlegungen münden darin, dass die Verantwortung der Physik als Disziplin und ihrer Organisationsformen einerseits und die der individuellen Physiker(innen) andererseits unterschieden werden müssen. Institutionelle Arrangements sind erforderlich, damit den Individuen in einer komplexen Gesellschaft die Übernahme von Verantwortung möglich wird. In diesem Kontext werde ich das Büro für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung beim Deutschen Bundestag kurz vorstellen, das in verschiedenen Arbeiten auch auf physikalische Expertise zurückgreift. Meine Überlegungen münden dahingehend, dass eine individualistische Form der Verantwortungsethik den heutigen Realitäten nicht mehr gerecht wird. Gesellschaftliche Arbeitsteilung führt auch zu einer Aufteilung von Verantwortlichkeiten. Es bleibt die Aufgabe, themen- und problemzentriert die Teile auch wieder zusammen zu bringen. In den vorgeschlagenen Schritten werde ich auf Fallbeispiele aus der Nanotechnologie zurückgreifen.

2005 Jack Steinberger
Physiknobelpreisträger, forschte an der New Yorker Columbia-Universität und dem CERN
Einsteins Heritage: The Social Responsibility of Physicists and Global Disarmament

2005 is the 50th birthday of the Russell-Einstein-Manifesto which triggered workshops by scientists, such as Pugwash, to study the problem of nuclear weapons and nuclear disarmament. Following some general remarks on my understanding of the social responsibility of scientists, I would like to discuss the problem of nuclear weapons. These pose a continuing threat to humanity, but the problem has the virtue, that, in contrast with other major problems facing our society, it could be solved easily. The chief responsibility for this is with the United Sates, to lead the disarmament of the nuclearweapons states, but Germany and other non nuclear weapons states could help with a not insignificant contribution.

2002 Mark Walker
Professor am Institut für Geschichte des Union College in Schenectady, New York
Physik und Verantwortung: Die Geschichte der Physik und der DPG unter dem Nationalsozialismus
2001 Hans-Peter Dürr
international renommierter Kernphysiker und Träger des Alternativen Nobelpreises von 1987, bis Herbst 1997 Direktor des Werner-Heisenberg-Instituts am Max-Planck-Institut für Physik
Die Verantwortung des Naturwissenschaftlers
2000 Joel Lebowitz
Professor an der Rutgers University, Homepage
Physics and Human Rights: Reflections on the Past and the Present
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