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Symposium 2016

Mathematics and Science Fiction: Visions for the year 211 = 2048

Mathematics today & in the future – its significance in medicine, internet & everyday life

Public Symposium on "Mathematics & Science Fiction" excites the audience

On July 11, the Hector Fellow Academy and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) invited to a public evening event entitled “Mathematics and Science Fiction – Visions for the Year 211=2048“. With the focus on the practical application of mathematics in present and future, the event was integrated into the BBAW’s current annual theme “Leibniz: Vision as Task” which is dedicated to the great mathematician.

The welcome by BBAW President Prof. Martin Grötschel was followed by two keynote speeches on the current role of mathematics by Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President of the European Research Council, and Dr. Georg Schütte, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Professor Christof Schütte, Head of the Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB), explained in his presentation “Medication, Medicine and Mathematics” which important contribution mathematics makes in the development of novel medication. Mathematics enables the efficient conceptual design of new agents which can significantly reduce side effects by their locally limited effectiveness. Only an interdisciplinary cooperation of scientists – for example from mathematics, IT, chemistry and medicine – could come to a successful result.

Johannes Buchmann, professor of computer science and mathematics at the TU Darmstadt and BBAW member, examined another application field of mathematics. In his presentation “Primes, Quanta and the Internet” he pointed out the connection between number theory and cyber security. Primes have already bothered mathematicians for centuries. Today they have a key function for secure communication on the internet. Professor Buchmann emphasized among others the urgency to develop new encryption methods: with the realization of quantum computers, today’s encoding methods would no longer be effective.

(video in German)


Johannes Buchmann, professor of computer science and mathematics at the TU Darmstadt and BBAW member, examined another application field of mathematics. In his presentation “Primes, Quanta and the Internet” he pointed out the connection between number theory and cyber security. Primes have already bothered mathematicians for centuries. Today they have a key function for secure communication on the internet. Professor Buchmann emphasized among others the urgency to develop new encryption methods: with the realization of quantum computers, today’s encoding methods would no longer be effective.

(video in German)


The final presentation held by Prof. Günter M. Ziegler, professor for mathematics at the FU Berlin, Hector Fellow and member of the BBAW focused on “Our Mathematical Future”. He presented, that the (self-)perception of mathematics is constantly changing. Despite the omnipresence of the mathematics it is nearly impossible to find a clear definition for it. With the example of the mathematical basis in the research of artificial intelligence, Prof. Ziegler showed that mathematics will gain more importance in the future. He appeals to bring the diversity of mathematics and their application to the collective conscience, especially in primary and higher education. He helps towards that point with the German book “Panorama der Mathematik” that will be released shortly together with Dr. Andreas Loos by the Springer Company.

(video in German)


Every year the Hector Fellow Academy hosts a symposium, which deals with essential problems of our times to support the dialog between science and society. The next symposium will take place on the 6th of June in 2017 in cooperation with the TU Dresden; the theme will be the role of organic electronics in the modern medicine.

Photos: David Ausserhofer

Press Contact:

Hector Fellow Academy
Thorana Grether
Phone: 0721 / 608 – 47883
thorana.grether(at)hector-fellow-academy.de

Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Dr. Mimmi Woisnitza
Phone: 030 / 20 370 – 586
woisnitza(at)bbaw.de