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Topics in January

Dec 15, 2009

Of Monsters and Myths

While dealing with the topic of blood, visiting scholar Bettina Bildhauer began to do research on vampires and monsters.

Visiting Scholar Bettina Bildhauer Researches Depictions of the Middle Ages in Films

Bettina Bildhauer doesn’t look like someone who deals with monsters and blood all day long. She is wearing a turquoise-colored cardigan and light blue scarf with white dots, and her brown eyes have a friendly sparkle. She isn’t bothered in the least by watching horror movies or seeing blood, and she finds monsters exciting. As a child, though, Bildhauer played with Barbie dolls, not horror figures. It wasn’t until she began her university studies that she discovered her fondness for these topics, when she first encountered medieval texts and legends.

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Not a Foreign Language: How Apes Communicate with Each Other

Appearances can be deceptive: Apes are not cuddly animals. Katja Liebal is shown carrying an ape into the enclosure.

Katja Liebal Is a Newly Appointed Junior Professor at the Institute of Psychology at Freie Universität Berlin

What makes us human? Newly appointed junior professor Katja Liebal is examining this far-reaching question in her new workplace: The 33-year-old Liebal has been conducting research at the Institute of Psychology and the “Languages of Emotion” cluster of excellence at Freie Universität Berlin since the summer semester, observing how great apes make contact with each other and convey information using gestures. Her findings: The boundary between humans and apes is more fluid than previously thought.

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An Elevator into Space

Idyll in outer space: How people in the 1950s imagined a station on the moon

How Vision and Science Have Affected Each Other: Historian Alexander Geppert Traces an Arc from Jules Verne to the Present Day

How have European conceptions of the cosmos and extraterrestrial life changed in step with the progress of space exploration? Geppert, who is to receive aid monies amounting to about 1.1 million euros over the next five years from the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, or DFG) as part of an Emmy Noether research group, will be able to establish a field of historical academic research that has thus far existed only in modest outline form in Europe.

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