Monday, November 12, 2007

Science Blogs in German

Back in 2005, when I started looking for blogs to feed my RSS reader, I was a bit disappointed that I couldn't find any interesting blogs about science in German. This situation has not changed much for quite some time - maybe, so my guess, German scientifically minded blogger write in English...

But right now, all of a sudden, a few new interesting blogs are emerging:
  • ScienceBlogs is opening a German branch, called ScienceBlogs
    (Update, Nov. 13: The link is now password protected - seems not to be officially launched yet).
  • The publisher of Spektrum der Wissenschaft, the German edition of the Scientific American, hosts two science group blogs, and - the latter, as you might guess from the Denglish title, with a focus on neuroscience and psychology.
  • Besides these "organised blogs", is a newly established link collection to independent German-language scientific blogs.

If you read German, it may be worth to follow these developments. Keep in mind that the German word "Wissenschaft" is broader in scope than the English word "science" - besides the natural and social sciences, it includes also the humanities, and even business administration and law.

But my current all-favourite German-speaking blog is - a group blog of people reporting their progress in reading books - including The Road to Reality and All Books.


  1. I think there are so little science blogs in German because the widely accepted language in science is English anyhow. I don't read any German blogs whatsoever, but I guess when it comes to politics or art, there's more in German?

    It only happens very rarely that I have to speak or write about my research in German, but it always feels odd. From the first seminar on that I've given I have always only talked about the stuff in English, so even if I try now the outcome is an awful Denglish, that nobody understands unless they know the English expression anyway. Even to my German colleagues I talk in English about science matters, it's just easier with the vocabulary (Loop corrections? tree-level? Cut-off? Confinement? - Help!) So why on earth would I try to write a science blog in German, given that the majority of the blog-generation native Germans speaks English anyhow? I am only sorry for the few friends and relatives that I have who don't speak English, but I could count them one one hand.

    Btw, did you speak to that guy from the Spektrum Verlag? And what did he say about their initiative? Please don't tell me it's all about making money with ads on the website.



  2. Off topic. I've just received an email stating the following

    The very basics of most current human knowledge are flawed [...] This can easily be proven. For instance:

    Were an electron to be a “negative” while a proton a “positive” – as current science upholds – then the negative electrons and positive protons would instantly unite, because opposites attract. Similarly, electrons, as “negatives”, would disperse, as similar negatives would repel each other. So how then do they remain together, without either uniting or dispersing? This is just a single example of all the flaws in current sciences.

    I just have to get rid of this. I think everybody who doesn't believe in quantum mechanics should be forced to live with devices that work without it. It comes pretty close to the 'prove' that the world must be flat, because otherwise the Australians would fall off the globe, right? It is really frightening what amount of stupidity and ignorance can prevail in a the so-called western civilization, and with what arrogance it is defended (and sold).

    "I think it would be a good idea."
    ~Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization

  3. ... what arrogance it is sold with? So much about my Denglish.

  4. with what arrogance it is defended, is, IMO, better than what arrogance it is defended with.

  5. Dear Bee,

    but I guess when it comes to politics or art, there's more in German?

    I don't know for sure - but my impression is that blogging in German in general has not yet spread so far as it has in the English-speaking world.

    So why on earth would I try to write a science blog in German, given that the majority of the blog-generation native Germans speaks English anyhow?

    Yes, that's what I also think explains the "shortage" of German-speaking science blogs. Plus, the number of potential readers is much higher if you write in English. BTW, I know of three more English-speaking physics blogs run by German-speaking people, atdotde, Life on the Lattice, and i Postdoc, therefore I am. There are probaby many more?

    With respect to the blog portal of Spektrum der Wissenschaft, my impression is that they have the feeling that the time has come for such blogs, that there may be enough people interested in the blogs - readers of Spektrum, etc. - and that they don't want to miss an opportunity, especially since ScienceBlogs is also coming. And they are perfectly aware that at the moment, there is no money to be earned with such blogs. From the general impression of the Spektrum websites, there is some hope that adds will stay at a minimum also in future, I would say.

    Best, Stefan

  6. Dear Bee,

    I've just received an email stating the following...[I have never heard of quantum mechanics, and physics is all wrong anyway]

    At least, the guy (my cliche about these guys is always of old white males retired from some technical jobs - although, this guy here may have been a lawyer... I know it's probably unfair ;-)...) remembers something from his physics classes at school. Unfortunately, his knowledege about physics never got beyond that level. But that may not be his fault. But the really sad thing is that he is not even aware of the huge gap in his knowledge, and that he refuses to accept that there may be something he could learn...

    This is not even off-topic: Most German-speaking "science forums" have been taken over by these people, the most blatant case being the forum of bild der wissenschaft. Reasonable information exchange or discussions are essentially impossible there, and that's really a pain.

    I could imagine that the new blogs have a better chance to fulfill this function, since usually there will be some minimal moderation by the writer of the blog. I could also imagine that this is a motivation for Spektrum to launch its blog portal, as there is for sure some demand for this kind of science on the web.

    Best, Stefan

  7. The scary thing about that guy is he was trying to sell me his book. I don't know if it's such a good development that everybody can publish a book that contains complete nonsense.


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