From the "Vergangenheit der Physik" to the "Future of Physics": Monolingualism and the Transformation of a Science

Max-von-Laue-Vortrag auf der Jahrestagung der DPG 2017 in Münster

We, 29.03.2017 20:00  –   We, 29.03.2017 21:00
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Schlossplatz 46, 48143 Münster

Event partner:
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Contact person:
Götz Neuneck,
External Link:


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.