Modern physics provides an accurate description of natural processes from the minimum distance of elementary particles almost until the end of the visible universe. Nevertheless, unsolved questions - primarily dealing with the “incompatibility” of quantum theory and Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity - remain. Most likely these questions can only be solved in a theory of quantum gravity yet to be developed. The concept of symmetry is key to the search for such a theory.
The 14th Einstein Lecture Dahlem on February 19, 2015, demonstrates the relevance of the concept of symmetry for established physical laws as well as new approaches toward a complete unification of physics.
Prof. Dr. Hermann Nicolai, born on July 11, 1952 in Friedberg, Hessen (Germany). He studied physics and mathematics at TH Karlsruhe. He completed his doctorate at Universität Karlsruhe in 1978, worked as a research assistant at the CERN in Geneva from 1979 to 1986, and received his habilitation in theoretical physics at Heidelberg University in 1983. After becoming full professor at Universität Karlsruhe in 1986 and at Universität Hamburg, Nicolai has been serving as director and scientific member at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics / Albert Einstein Institute since 1997. Additionally, he is honorary professor at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (since 1999) and at Leibniz Universität Hannover (since 2005).