Friday, June 24, 2016

Wissenschaft auf Abwegen

Ich war am Montag in Regensburg und habe dort einen öffentlichen Vortrag gegeben zum Thema “Wissenschaft auf Abwegen” für eine Reihe unter dem Titel “Was ist Wirklich?” Das ganze ist jetzt auf YouTube. Das Video besteht aus etwa 30 Minuten Vortrag und danach noch eine Stunde Diskussion. Alles in Deutsch. Nur was für eche Fans ;)


Shantanu said...

Congrats, Sabine.
(Although, I would have come if the talk was in English)

David Schroeder said...

Fascinating to listen to German spoken by native speakers. My paternal grandfather and gr-grandfather, the latter from Lower Saxony, spoke the language at the dinner table according to my dad, when he was a child. I was able to catch a few words that are almost identical to English in pronunciation. The word "problem" seems to have the same spelling/meaning in German as it has in English, and possibly the same pronunciation.

I gather that this was some kind of reward that Sabine received, apparently dealing with social aspects of modern physics. Congratulations Sabine.

Sabine Hossenfelder said...

"Problem" means the same in German and in English, yes. It's pronounced slightly differently: In German the "e" is longer, somewhat like "problehm".

No reward or award or anything, just a lecture for the sake of education and/or entertainment (so I hope).

Phillip Helbig said...

Alles in Deutsch ---> Alles auf Deutsch.

You've been speaking too much English!

Sabine Hossenfelder said...


Sorry. I've only been back in Germany since last December, after 12 years out-of-country, and even so most people at my workplace speak English. It doesn't help that I do almost all my reading and writing in English. The present status is that I speak neither English nor German correctly ;) And don't ask about writing (hab die letzte Rechtschreibreform verpasst). I had to look up half of the expressions for this talk in a dictionary. I'm working on it though. (I just finished writing my first longer piece in German since my PhD thesis in 2003!) Best,


Carsten Führmann said...

I found the talk and the subsequent discussion most interesting. The situation in my former field, theoretical computer science, seems similar in some but not all respects.

On the one hand it's similar because there are way more researchers than there used to be, producing an ever greater total of papers, while having too little time to think about even their peer's work, let alone ponder fundamental changes to their research directions. (One of the reasons why I left is that I saw myself write stuff because my environment made me do it. And because I suspected that my peers had as little time to truly digest my work than I had for theirs.)

On the other hand, theoretical computer science differs from physics, obviously, in that it's not about nature and hard-to-obtain experimental results, but about engineering and/or mathematical foundations. One should think that makes things easier. But it's amazing how much mathematically sound computer science one can produce that has no chance of making it into actual engineering.

What gave me a start was your remark that physicists don't see social studies as a science. I used to think so too, no least because of things like the Sokal affair. But I think one should get rid of that arrogance. It is as you say: physicist, and not only they, should better apply some social science to their own fields.

Finally, the really important remarks:
- The bottle of wine was a exquisite element of suspense
- A pity that you had to compete with football

Bar said...

My father was German but born in Poland. As a teen they returned to Germany where he attended Gymnasium learning the classical languages. Thanks to Hitler he left after a law degree. He spent some years getting a doctorate from Sorbonne had to leave again. He got another doctorate from Stanford and a further legal degree.
All this education left him fluent in many languages. He returned with OSS in the occupation. He met my mother. They told me that when she pointed out that after so many years speaking other languages he still spoke his native German with a Polish accent, he became somewhat upset. My mother was Eine echte Bayer'n and they couldn't speak German at all, he would say.

Sabine Hossenfelder said...


Thanks for your comment. I didn't realize that much of computer science is so otherworldly. The wine - we didn't come around to open it! They asked me in advance if I'd drink some beer with them and I said I'm not a beer drinker, but a glass of wine would be nice. But then we talked too much to think of the wine. In any case, I took it with me and will open it when the situation calls for it ;)



Sabine Hossenfelder said...


Haha, yes, a broad Bavarian accent can be really hard to understand. The guy who makes the introduction has quite some accent, but he's still well understandable. (Frankfurt has its own accent which can be somewhat peculiar, but I don't speak it. Or not much of it anyway.) Best,


Winfried Hilbig said...

Boah, Philipp, Du mit Deinen Frau Lehrerin ich weiß was Kommentaren...

Sabine Hossenfelder said...


ich bin dankbar fuer Phillips Kommentare. Ich krieg sonst nicht viel Feedback zu meinem Deutsch, ausser von meiner Mama (die sich beschwerte, dass "gerner" kein Deutsch ist - da hat sie wohl recht). Gruessli (vermutlich auch kein Deutsch),


Jeff said...

Google Translate says the lecture series is entitled "What's Really?" which I found amusing. Can you (or some other German speaker) provide a better translation of the overall series name?

Sabine Hossenfelder said...

"What is real?"

hidalgo said...

Toll. Es gibt viel zu tun. Gruß von einem früheren Studenten von Dir aus Frankfurt.