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Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Sandner, Berlin
am 30. November 2010

Rede des Präsidenten
anlässlich des ADeKo-Workshops im Harnack-Haus Berlin

Your Excellency Moon, Tae-Young, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea,
Dear Mr. Michael Geier, Vice President of the German-Korean Society and former Ambassador to the Republic of Korea,
Dear Ms. Liane Constantine,
Dear Members of the Korean Delegation.
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to be here at this workshop, the first representative event of the Alumni Network Germany Korea (ADeKo) in Germany. ADeKo is the world's biggest country network of Korean German Alumni who have lived, studied and researched in Germany. For your motto, "Connecting - Strengthen - Support", to become true you have made a particulary strong relationship between Germany and Korea at the political, economical and technological as well as on a cultural level.

Being a young association, founded in 2008 by Korean graduates who studied in Germany, it is a truly inspiring and successful concept promoting friendly relations between Germany and Korea in all areas. This is why I am particularly glad that the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the “BMBF”, has been providing increased funding to individual mobility measures in order to intensify cooperation between Germany and South Korea in research and technology. The success of ADeKo parallels the development of the Republic of Korea. Being Asia's fourth-largest economy, South Korea is also one of the most important markets for German exports. At the same time, we are very proud that Germany is South Korea's 4th-largest trade partner and the most important trade partner among the EU Member States.

Scientifically, a nice example of contacts between our countries is the Partnership Agreement between the German Physical Society DPG and the Korean Physical Society signed in 1991, just one year after the German reunification, in their common desire to foster cooperation in the physical sciences between our countries. This agreement is a truly inspiring model to exchange ideas and foster physics and science.

We expect such contacts to grow considerably in the future. For instance, the first ASia-Europe Physics Summit has been held March 24-26 in Tsukuba, Japan under the aegis of EPS (European Physical Society) and AAPPS (Association of the Asia-Pacific Physical Societies), with participation of all Asian countries including Korea. It has addressed quite general issues including the involvement of developing countries in frontier research, the communication between researchers and decision makers or between researchers and the industry, the access of women to physics and the benefits for physics, the education for and by research in an Asia-Europe Framework – much in the spirit of your organization and your present workshop.

Let me add from a personal point of view that my institute, the Max Born Institute in Berlin Adlershof, enjoys long-standing collaborations with Gwangju Insitute of Science and Technology and its Advanced Photonics Research Institute – APRI. This includes joint research projects, exchange of experts, joint publications and conferences, all funded by the BMBF and the National Research Foundation of Korea. Most importantly, is has led to the recent appointment of two MBI researchers on professor positions at APRI, one of them, Peter Nickles, on a visiting professor position. He happens to be present today and may be a candidate for your Alumni network!

The present workshop aims to further the advancement of the German-Korean scientific dialogue by providing the Korean participants with insights into the mechanisms of German science coverage and its institutional bases.

Allow me to present a few examples from my own organiation, the DPG:

By now we can claim that about half of Germany`s physicists are members of the DPG (60.000 altogether!), their membership often beginning while they were students, thus making the DPG itself an “alumni network” of some sort. Students and cutting edge scientists, among them Nobel Prize laureates, meet at the DPG to share their thoughts and ideas. This is very important to foster one major concern of the DPG, namely to encourage young talents in Germany to “carry on the flame”, to study physics.

How do we do that in detail?

The DPG runs a nationwide network for physics students in the working group "Young DPG". Women and issues of gender equality also have a forum with the "German Conference of Women in Physics" which is held annually. In addition, the DPG awards prizes to high school graduates throughout the country for outstanding achievements in High-School physics. I am very happy that our efforts in this field have been successful over the last years. As a result, I am very delighted that over half of the members of the DPG are between the ages of 19 and 29. This fact gives us “senior physicists” a better night’s sleep when thinking about the scientific future of Germany as well as the DPG’s own future.

Being the world’s largest organization of physicists, DPG attempts to achieve its goals by various media. On the one hand, there are our major conferences, the so-called “Spring Conferences”, symposia and scientific meetings. These conferences are attended each year by around 9,000 experts from Germany and abroad. The largest physics conference in Europe is regularly among these conferences. With our conferences we try to contribute to public debates in society on topics such as environmental protection, education and life long learning, as well as research and energy politics while promoting good relations to domestic, foreign and international associations at the same time.

Important communication media are publications like the membership journal of the DPG “Physik Journal” or the electronic open acess magazine “New Journal of Physics”, published together with the British Institute of Physics. Further, we raise our voice on scientific or science policy issues by releasing press statements, carrying out studies, giving statements, hosting parliamentary evenings or bilateral meetings with politicians and multipliers.

By doing so, DPG is careful to act as a competent, but neutral advisor and contact partner for the media and the political sector likewise, to ensure high quality standards in publications as well as scientific neutrality when informing the public or working with the media. That is, in our opinion, a key factor to assume responsibility in science. Another key factor is the cooperation with the partners of DPG. Our partners cover a broad range of different actors and institutions such as the Max-Planck-Society, Helmholtz-Association or Leibniz-Association, universities, government bodies and of course learned physical societies abroad – including the European Physical Society in which we play a major role.

Therefore, I am very much interested in the results of your workshops focusing on the social responsibility of science coverage and its challenges in the current media market. Surely, there is much to be learned on both sides, and what is a greater pleasure to a scholar than to learn…!

Finally, let me make one comment:

A little more than a week ago we had a memorable event in the Berlin Representation of the German Physical Society, DPG, namely the 20th anniversary of the Re-Unification of the two Physical Societies within Germany. In November 1990 this has happened only one year after the fall of the wall, and only one month after the official re-unification at the political level. In my speech last week I pointed towards the fact that during all the time of the Cold War, when the interaction between the scientific organizations on either side of the wall was frozen, it never turned hostile – quite remarkably, and contrary to the political atmosphere. I assumed that this was due to the special education of scientists, physicists in particular: focus on facts, and use of a common language, mathematics in our case, that leaves little or no room for ideologies, maybe even in our brains. This is why we scientists - and physicists in particular - always felt a “corporate identity” even across the wall, a feeling which was invisibly present during the Cold War and led to a rapid re-unification of physicists after its end.

Let me end with the hope and my best wishes for your nation to experience the same one day!

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