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4 | 2018

Dec 10, 2018

70 Years of Freie Universität Berlin

More than 1,300 people attended the anniversary celebration. On the screen behind the stage: a photo of the official founding ceremony of Freie Universität in December 1948.

Anniversary Events in 2018

Throughout the year many lectures, events, and publications were devoted to the founding of Freie Universität Berlin in 1948. Back then, many students who were influenced by the repressive atmosphere during World War II and the increasingly ideological orientation of the University of Berlin, which had been founded in 1810 and after the war found itself in the zone of the city occupied by the Soviet Union, were seeking academic freedom. The Latin terms Veritas, Justitia, Libertas, or truth, justice, and freedom, became the motto of the new university. What is their significance today?

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Crossing Boundaries Together

The joint proposal of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

Three major Berlin universities and Charité submitted joint proposal in the German government’s Excellence Strategy

Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin have completed their proposal within the German government’s research funding competition, the Excellence Strategy. On December 10, 2018, the three universities submitted the document to the German Council of Science and Humanities in Cologne. Under the title Berlin University Alliance – Crossing Boundaries toward an Integrated Research Environment, the four partners describe their plans, the special features of the Berlin consortium, and the opportunities they see for this unique regional collaboration in research and teaching.

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Alarm at the Checkpoint

A single poke can save lives. Vaccines to fight infectious diseases are administered starting in infancy. Image Credit: VOISIN-PHANIE/picture alliance

Which vaccines strengthen the human immune system? Expert teams at Charité and Freie Universität search for answers.

Fall is vaccination season. To many people, refreshing their protection from flu on an annual basis is a matter of course. Others refuse all protective immunizations on principle because they believe the potential risks outweigh the benefits.

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Earth to Exoplanet: Is Anyone There?

An animation of the K2-138 solar system, the first system with multiple planets discovered by amateur astronomers. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Geophysicist Lena Noack and biophysicist Andreas Elsässer study the possibility of life on other planets.

Is there life on distant planets? It is a question that fascinates people like no other. In light of the fact that there are an estimated 70 sextillion (70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) stars, and countless of them have satellites like our sun, the answer is more than likely yes.

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Warning Signs of Terror

A moment of silence: On December 19, 2016, terrorist Anis Amri drove a truck into a crowd of people at the Christmas market on Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz. Twelve people were killed, and more than 50 were injured.

Psychologist Herbert Scheithauer is studying how young people are radicalized online.

Where is the line between a deeply religious Muslim and a radicalized one who is willing to embrace violence? Where does piety end and ideology begin? At what point does a person become willing to leave the path of peaceful dialogue?

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Researching Islam around the World

In Germany too, Islamic life is undergoing constant change. This change is being explored at the Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies.

The Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies has been educating doctoral students for ten years. The training also includes a focus on topical issues.

The Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies (BGSMCS) is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Within the framework of a three-year doctoral program by Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, doctoral students deal with the diversity and changeability of Islamic societies and cultures. An interview with Gudrun Krämer, a professor of Islamic Studies, and Hansjörg Dilger, a professor of social and cultural anthropology, both at Freie Universität Berlin, who together head the BGSMCS as director and deputy director.

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A Global Understanding of Political Modernity

Left to right: E. Aufderheide, Secretary General of the AvH Foundation, W. Knöbl, Institute for Social Research, S. Costa, Institute for Latin American Studies, award winner J. M. Domingues, Thomas Rachel, Parliamentary State Secretary at the BMBF

Brazilian sociologist José Maurício Domingues recipient of Anneliese Maier Research Award / He will be a guest at the Institute for Latin American Studies at Freie Universität in January and February 2019.

José Maurício Domingues firmly believes that taking a global view is the only way to understand the present day. Domingues, a sociologist from Rio de Janeiro State University, is excellently equipped to do just that: He can read six languages – aside from his native language, Portuguese, he also reads English, Spanish, French, German, and Italian – and has spent time in India, China, and Israel for research purposes. 

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