german research DFG by liaoqinmei


									                                                                                                          german research 1/2008

german   Magazine of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
                                                                     In this issue
                                                                     Insights into
                                                                     Everyday Colonial Life
                                                                                                                                  Hans-Joachim Gehrke
                                                                                                                                  Precarious Success in the Humanities  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . p . 2
                                                                                                                                  The DFG takes stock of its funding initiative

                                                                     Multifaceted testimonies of                                  Arts and Humanities
                                                                     colonial history: 55,000 histori-                            Wilhelm R. Schmidt
                                                                     cal photographs document life
                                                                                                                                  The Emperor’s New Colonies  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . p . 4
                                                                     in the German colonies before
                                                                     the First World War. A great                                 Klaus Schmidt
                                                                     effort has been put into index-                              When Humanity Began to Settle Down  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . p . 10
                                                                     ing and digitalising the photo-
                                                                                                                                  In Anatolia, archaeologists are uncovering unique Stone Age monuments
                                                                     graphic record, the collection
                                                                     is now available online to
                                                                                                                                  Life Sciences
                                                                     researchers worldwide. Page 4
                                                                                                                                  Axel Meyer
                                                                                                                                  King Midas and His Descendants  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . p . 14
                                                                     Technology for the                                           Cichlidae throw a remarkable light on the processes of evolution
                                                                     Older Generation                                             Report
                                                                     The Senior Research Group                                    Rembert Unterstell
                                                                     at the Technical University of                               “Talking About My Generation”  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . p . 18
                                                                     Berlin is testing the user-friend-
                                                                     liness of household and high-                                Portrait
                                                                     tech products and evaluating
                                                                                                                                  Magdalena Schaeffer
                                                                     ideas for products. As experts
                                                                     in their own field, the active                               A Balancing Act  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . p . 21
                                                                     older generation is diligently                               The physicist Elisa Resconi combines science and family
                                                                     pursuing their studies – for the
                                                                     benefit of the ever-growing                                  Natural Sciences
                                                                     generation of over-55s. Page 18                              Klaus Heide
                                                                                                                                  The Secrets of the “Glass Mountain”  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . p . 22

                                                                     Secrets of                                                   On tour with german research
                                                                     Natural Glass                                                Eva-Maria Streier
                                                                                                                                  Where Science Builds Bridges  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . p . 26
                                                                     Glass is not only a man-made
                                                                                                                                  Russian and German archaeologists dig near Kaliningrad
                                                                     product, it also occurs natural-
                                                                     ly. A great number of different
                                                                     types of glass were created in
                                                                     prehistoric times. Studying the
                                                                     mechanisms by which such
                                                                     glass was formed and its prop-                                                                        Testimonies of Early
                                                                     erties is also very important for                                                                     History of Humanity
         1/2008 . When Humanity Began to Settle Down . The           the development of new mate-
                                                                                                                                                                           An expressive, larger-than-life sculpture

                                                                                                              Cover: DAI Berlin
         Secrets of the “Glass Mountain“ . A Balancing Act . Where   rials for technical applications
                                                                                                                                                                           of a human head. At the Göbekli Tepe in
                                                                     of the future. Page 22
         Science Builds Bridges . The Emperor's New                                                                                                                        Anatolia, archaeologists are studying fas-
                                                                                                                                                                           cinating Stone Age monuments. Page 10
         Colonies . “Talking About My Generation“
                                                                                                                                                                      german research 1/2008

      n the beginning was the crisis,          often, researchers in the humani-            This is where the DFG attempted            The success side of the coin is that                        without causing the projects to go on        jects as a result of the initiative. Their
      and the diagnosis for the crisis. At     ties had to accept conditions that        to address the situation by providing      the funding initiative heralded the                            ad infinitum. Because large groups           identity has already at least been
      the dawn of the new millennium,          were not ideal for the specific way       the humanities with an entirely new        introduction of four specific meas-                            such as Collaborative Research Cen-          damaged by the changes to univer-
    the DFG took a thorough look at            of working in the humanities, which       form of support – thus creating en-        ures that were tailor-made to suit                             tres are not necessarily appropriate         sity courses, thus impairing their
    the general state of the humanities        in many cases is not conducive to di-     tirely new perspectives. The magic         the circumstances and the proposals                            for the situation in the humanities,         chances of survival, if not actually
    in Germany. This study revealed            vision of labour and a project-based      bullet was “calibration” of the DFG’s      that had been made.                                            but enjoy great prominence when              putting them at risk of extinction.
    two major trends, which reinforced         approach. The intellectual imple-         funding instruments. The idea was             They took the crucial importance                            it comes to performance evaluation              In the end, how they are dealt
    each other in a worrying way when          mentation of empirical research in        that these instruments would be            of individual research work in the                             and are generally very important in          with will reveal how willing society
    looked at together.                        the form of writing a monograph is        flexible enough to adapt to the spe-       humanities into account by allow-                              establishing a profile within the uni-       is to continue benefiting from the
       On the one hand, the core sup-          essentially done by an individual         cific methods of working in the hu-        ing proposals to be submitted for                              versities, the DFG’s “Research Unit”         enormous and vital potential that the
    port being provided by universities        – and the monograph remains the           manities, and the specific needs that      research time in the same way as for                           funding instrument was expanded              humanities hold. After all, the hu-
    was being cut back. On the other,          centrepiece of an individual’s work       arise as a result. This gave rise to       projects. The funding this provided                            to take the specific needs of the hu-        manities are not merely the guard-
    the principle of performance-related       in the humanities. Although it does       the “Humanities Research Funding           for stand-ins simultaneously served                            manities into account. This led to the       ians of our own or foreign traditions,
    funding allocation within the indi-        require a certain degree of ground-       Initiative”, which a working group         to promote young researchers.                                  creation of the new “Kollegforscher-         they also show us how to deal with
    vidual departments and subjects, al-       work and discussion of ideas, that        within the DFG started developing             Because direct contact to other                             gruppen” (Humanities Centres for             them. They translate and mediate
    though a good thing in itself, was in      in itself does not necessarily call for   in early 2002, in close collaboration      researchers is often especially prob-                          Advanced Studies) in 2007, the Year          between the different cultures with
    practice based primarily on quantifi-      large research groups.                    with the scientific community, and         lematic in the humanities, especially                          of the Humanities.                           which they have become familiar by
    able indicators, not least the amount         Yet it is equally true that – de-      was approved by the DFG’s statu-           in the so-called minor subjects, due                                                                        detailed study of language, ideas

    of third-party funding attracted. This     pending on the problem addressed          tory bodies a year later.                  to the large distances separating the                                   ltogether, these new instru-        and concepts. In a world where cul-
    was accompanied by the increasing          and the objectives of the research – a                                               researchers, which is a particular                                      ments have been received            tural interaction needs to keep pace

    importance given to the issue of di-       Collaborative Research Centre may                he pilot phase, approved in         problem for young researchers, the                                      very well in the research           with economic interdependence the
    rect application and exploitation of       be an appropriate funding instru-                2003, has now come to an end        initiative enabled the researchers to                          community. The first three have al-          cultural skills a society possesses are
    the research work and scientific find-     ment in the humanities. However, it              and the measures and instru-        establish international networks on                            ready been evaluated and found to            especially important, even essential
    ings – and it is a well-known fact that    is frequently the case that research      ments brought into being by the ini-       specific topics.                                               be successful, but for the most re-          for survival.
    this is much harder to identify and        projects in the humanities are of a       tiative were confirmed as permanent           Working with a long-term per-                               cently implemented instrument, the              With the funding instruments it
    propagate in the humanities than in        different nature, with studies that do    institutions, and there is even talk of    spective is another specific charac-                           Humanities Centres for Advanced              has developed in recent years, the
    the life sciences, natural sciences or     not require large-scale funding, but      the possibility of them serving as a       teristic of the humanities, for instance                       Studies, it is still too early to perform    DFG has demonstrated that it is well
    engineering.                               which nevertheless yield important        model for other disciplines. High          when dealing with long and drawn-                              an evaluation, although it is hoped          aware of these facts, but it remains
       The humanities had already be-          results. Admittedly, anyone who           time, then, to take stock. The result,     out archaeological digs, editions and                          that they will be equally successful.        a challenge – not only for the DFG –
    gun to react to these constraints and      works in this way is bound to be put      however, turns out to have two sides       other source materials. The fund-                              So far, so good!                             to arouse awareness for these facts
    had indeed been very successful            at a disadvantage by the fixation on      to it. What at first sight appears to be   ing initiative created clear rules that                           On the other side of the coin are         amongst the general public and, not
    in attracting third-party funding,         third-party funding and the com-          a success story is actually still sub-     were easy to implement and provid-                             the threats. Despite the success of          least amongst the politicians and or-
    sometimes at a high price. All too         mercial exploitation of results.          ject to a variety of threats.              ed the necessary planning security,                            the funding initiative, the humani-          ganisations who are responsible for
                                                                                                                                                                                                   ties are still faced with not inconsid-      making science policy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   erable problems, basically because              Many areas of the humanities have
                                                                                                                                                                                                   the unfavourable conditions they             already got their back up against the
                                                                                                                                                                                                   faced continue to prevail. Funding           wall. Further cuts will inevitably re-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   cuts, the orientation towards appli-         sult in the demise of certain fields of
                                                                                Hans-Joachim Gehrke                                                                                                cation and the migration towards             research. There may be universities
                                                                                                                                                                                                   large groups continue to pose seri-          that take a laid back view of these
                                                                                                                                                                                                   ous difficulties for the humanities.         cutbacks in the range of subjects they

                        Precarious Success
                                                                                                                                                                                                      In a way, the problems have even          offer, but can our society allow itself
                                                                                                                                                                                                   been exacerbated by the Excellence           to be robbed of its ability to reach a
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Initiative by the German federal and         deeper understanding of itself, or the
                                                                                                                                                                                                   state governments to promote science         ability to genuinely communicate
                                                                                                                                                                                                   and research at German universities.         with other cultures?
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Although the humanities enjoyed

                        in the Humanities
                                                                                                                                                                                                   considerable success in the second
                                                                                                                                                                                                   round of the Excellence Initiative, the
                                                                                                                                                                                                   fact remains that the Excellence Ini-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   tiative, at least in part, counteracted
                                                                                                                                                                                                   the positive developments brought
                                                                                                                                                                                                   about by the funding initiative. It re-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   mains to be seen whether coopera-            Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Gehrke was the Chair-
                           The DFG’s funding initiative has given this discipline a boost –                                                                                                        tion in very large and in some cases         man of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the
                                                                                                                                                                                                   – as is already evident, even at this        DFG’s Humanities Research Funding Initiative. A
                        but budget cuts and the principle of exploitation remain a threat                                                                                                          early stage – over-organised groups is       renowned ancient history expert, he has been
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                the President of the German Archaeological In-
                                                                                                                                                                                                   superior to working in more stream-

                                                                                                                                                                               Illustration: DAI
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                stitute (DAI) in Berlin since 1 March 2008.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   lined entities.
                                                                                                                                                                                                      The litmus test could be the pros-        Contact: Deutsches Archäologisches Institut,
2                                                                                                                                                                                                  pects that open up for the minor sub-        Podbielskiallee 69–71, 14195 Berlin                3
                                   german research 1/2008                                                                                                                                                                          german research 1/2008
                       Arts and Humanities

               The Emperor‘s                                         The Colonial Picture Archive in Frankfurt offers a unique

               New Colonies                                          pictorial record of German colonial history. For many years the
                                                                     collection was virtually forgotten. However, following painstaking
                                                                     description and digitalisation, the photo documents are now           5
    german research 1/2008                   By Wilhelm R. Schmidt                                                    german and abroad
                                                                     available on the Internet to researchers in Germany research 1/2008
                      n 1990, when two doctoral stu-       Portrait of an African family. The photo       ciety. In the mid-19th century,        images from governmental, com-          City life in 1912: A German bakery and      (Togo, Cameroon, German South
                      dents from Frankfurt, Imre Dem-      was probably taken in 1906 in German           researchers and missionaries be-       mercial and private collections         confectionary in the harbour town of        West Africa and German East Afri-
                      hard und Uwe U. Jäschke, were        South West Africa, now Namibia.                gan photographing the inhabit-         that have mostly been lost today.       Swakopmund. German South West Africa        ca), the Chinese concession Kiao-
                                                           Settlers, colonial officers and missionaries                                                                                  was the only imperial colony before the
                   searching for historical material       photographed the indigenous popula-
                                                                                                          ants and the natural environment       After the First World War, existing                                                 chow, Kaiser-Wilhelmsland (Ger-
                                                                                                                                                                                         First World War in which a large number
                   about the former German South-          tion as well as towns and landscapes in        of their areas of operation using      collections were systematically         of Germans settled. The prospect of         man New Guinea) and the South
                   West Africa, they uncovered a           the “German South West.” The colony            large-format plate cameras. The        reproduced and incorporated in          diamonds and copper as well as the          Sea areas are also represented.
                   treasure trove: the well-nigh for-      was part of the German Empire from             German Colonial Society came           the inventory of the German Colo-       opportunity for breeding cattle enticed     There are also many thousand im-
                   gotten image archive of the Reich       1884 to 1919.                                  into existence in 1887. With its       nial Society. In 1936, as part of na-   the immigrants to this country.             ages of the colonies of other states
                   Colonial Society, which was dis-                                                       domestic and foreign depart-           tional socialist “Gleichschaltung“                                                  in Africa and Asia.
                   solved during the Second World                                                         ments, it represented the larg-        (forcible coordination), the organ-                                                    During the conservation work,
                   War. This collection of 55,000                                                         est and most influential interest      isation was merged with the Reich                                                   an increasing level of awareness
                   historical photos is a first-class,     was the former German Coloni-                  group for the propagation of the       Colonial Society, which was then        and bleaching, salt efflorescence           of the Frankfurt archive among
                   multi-faceted source for colonial       al Society, whose inventory was                idea of German colonialism.            dissolved in 1943 for reasons of        and delamination. Working with              domestic and foreign cooperation
                   history. Following the descrip-         moved from Berlin during the                      The most important means of         the wartime economy.                    nitro film material can be labori-          projects led to an exchange of im-
                   tion, backup filming and digitali-      Second World War, initially to an              publicity available to them was                                                ous and, due to its high flammabil-         age material and to offers to pro-

                   sation of the image documents,          underground shelter in Thuringia               the public lecture. In the 1880s,            he image material of the          ity, dangerous. It was foreseeable          vide more images to the archive. By
                   which was as costly as it was time      and later to the Frankfurt area.               lectures were already being illus-           German Colonial Society           that deterioration of the collection        far the greatest gain was achieved,
                   consuming, the Colonial Picture         They eventually arrived, via the               trated using the guest speaker’s             forms the basis of today‘s        of images relating to German co-            with the support of the Deutsche
                   Archive is now accessible on the        collecting points set up by the                private glass plate slides. This       Frankfurt collection, which also        lonial history would be complete            Forschungsgemeinschaft (German
                   website of the Johann Christian         American occupation administra-                prompted the society to lay the        features fairly extensive image         within a few years, if conservation         Research Foundation), through a
                   Senckenberg University Library          tion in the Rhine-Main district, at            basis for its own photo collec-        documentation of colonial history       measures were not taken.                    cooperation with the Sam Cohen
                   in Frankfurt am Main to scientists      the City and University Library                tion in 1891, initially with about     in, for example, South America.            The image documents that are             Library in the Namibian coastal
                   and other interested parties from       of Frankfurt am Main in the new                100 large-format black and white       According to a first inspection and     now available, following protract-          town of Swakopmund. The Society
                   around the world.                       state of Hesse.                                slides to be used for slide shows.     diagnosis in 1990, the original im-     ed preparatory work, on the web-            for Scientific Development located
                      The original owner of the im-           However, the beginnings of                  The pool of photos grew rapidly        age carriers were in critical con-      site of the Frankfurt University            there provided a substantial im-
Foto: Caston

                   age material, which also includes       the collection of colonial images              thanks to donations from friends       dition. The dusty glass plates ex-      Library refer to almost all of the          age collection for the expansion of
                   training material and roughly           reach back to before the founda-               of the Society and to the acquisi-     hibited a considerable amount of        historical colonial areas. Along-           the Colonial Picture Archive. It in-
               6   18,000 books on colonial history,       tion of the German Colonial So-                tion of other original and duplicate   scratching and sticking, fracturing     side the African dependencies               cludes 5,000 slides and glass plates   7
                                               german research 1/2008                                                                                                                                                   german research 1/2008
    as well as a further 10,000 images                                                                                                           Scenes from everyday life in the colonies.
    and postcards in lever arch files                                                                                                            Left: A lesson under the open skies. Top
                                                                                                                                                 right: In German East Africa (Tanzania), a
    or historical photo albums. Along
                                                                                                                                                 team of oxen draws a heavily-loaden
    with landscapes and city views,                                                                                                              wagon through the water. Bottom left:
    missionary stations, streets, har-                                                                                                           Natives at a homestead in Togo. Bottom
    bours and farms, there are pictures                                                                                                          right: On 27 January 1912, German
    of everyday life, festivals and sport                                                                                                        colonists unveil an equestrian statue in
    events and many portraits. It was                                                                                                            Windhoek (German South West).
    quickly established that there was
    practically no overlapping with
    the existing Frankfurt material, so
    their incorporation in the archive                                                                                                           who worked in the postal service
    represented a real scientific gain.                                                                                                          in the German colony from 1905
                                                                                                                                                 to 1913. The amateur photographs

           ased on the experiences ac-                                                                                                           not only illustrate the working life
           quired through the filming and                                                                                                        of the time, but also give fresh
           digitalisation of the Colonial                                                                                                        views of places, rivers and moun-
    Picture Archive, it seemed an obvi-                                                                                                          tains that were only seemingly
    ous step to make the German Colo-                                                                                                            familiar. The accompanying texts
    nial Encyclopaedia available on the                                                                                                          compliment the pictures in a la-
    Internet in digital form, and to offer                                                                                                       conic telegraph style, providing
    it in conjunction with the image da-                                                                                                         a kind of a oral history without
    tabase. The German Colonial En-                                                                                                              scientific pretensions. Their sig-
    cyclopaedia, which was edited by                                                                                                             nificance for science is only due to
    Heinrich Schnee, the former Direc-                                                                                                           their permanent documentation in
    tor of the Reich Colonial Office, is                                                                                                         the context of the Colonial Picture
    a contemporary reference work of                                                                                                             Archive.
    the German colonies. By the time

    the First World War broke out, most                                                                                                                 otwithstanding the suc-
    of it had been published in printed                                                                                                                 cessful conservation of the
    form. The digital publication of the                                                                                                                historical image informa-
    encyclopaedia, accomplished by                                                                                                               tion and its online presentation,
    the University of Applied Sciences                                                                                                           making it accessible to scientists
    in Dresden, means that access to                                                                                                             worldwide, the work of the Co-
    this unique historical and scien-                                                                                                            lonial Picture Archive of the Uni-
    tific source is no longer restricted                                                                                                         versity Library of Frankfurt/Main
    to specialist institutions, and that                                                                                                         has not yet reached an end. On
    it can now be utilised around the                                                                                                            the one hand, due to their intrin-
    globe. The encyclopaedia shows                                                                                                               sic historical value, it is important
    the conditions in the colonies as                                                                                                            that the original image carriers
    reflected by contemporary views                                                                                                              be permanently restored and pre-
    before 1914. It thereby provides an                                                                                                          served. On the other, the descrip-
    important information basis for re-                                                                                                          tions found in today’s database,
    search.                                                                                                                                      although mostly taken from the
        Today, extensions to the im-                                                                                                             original captions on the pictures

                                                                    Illustrations: Koloniales Bildarchiv Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt/Main
    age material in the colonial im-                                                                                                             or picture sleeves, are to some ex-
    age archive in Frankfurt do not                                                                                                              tent incorrect and in every case
    always pursue scientific goals or                                                                                                            incomplete. This calls for a sys-
    result from deliberate acquisi-                                                                                                              tematic examination, in order that
    tions. Chance and everyday ca-                                                                                                               this unique historical source can
    prices often have a roll to play. In                                                                                                         be developed in sufficient detail
    the autumn of 2005, for example,                                                                                                             for research.
    the Frankfurt Library was offered
    a photo collection that had lain for                                                                                                         Author: Dr. Wilhelm R. Schmidt is deputy
    over sixty years in a cellar in Sieg-                                                                                                        director of the Universitätsbibliothek Johann
    burg. It consisted of 150 photo-                                                                                                             Christian Senckenberg, Frankfurt/Main.
    graphs and postcards, which were
                                                                                                                                                 Contact: Universitätsbibliothek Johann
    brought from what was then Ger-                                                                                                              Christian Senckenberg, Bockenheimer Land-
    man South West Africa in 1913.                                                                                                               straße 134–138, 60325 Frankfurt/Main
    The photographs show the every-
8   day life of a telegraph line worker,                                                                                                         .        9
                                  german research 1/2008   german research 1/2008
                                                           Arts and Humanities

              When Humanity
                                                                                                                                  Stone pillars in megalithic form are the
                                                                                                                                  most characteristic feature of the Göbekli
                                                                                                                                  Tepe site. These carry numerous animal
                                                                                                                                  reliefs that are still quite visible. Left:
                                                                                                                                  Distinctive T-shaped pillars with duck-like

              Began to Settle Down
                                                                                                                                  birds, cranes, snakes and rotated H signs.
                                                                                                                                  Next picture: A Stone Age pillar featuring
                                                                                                                                  a bull, a fox and a crane.

               Paths to the early history of humanity: At the Göbekli Tepe in Anatolia, archaeolo-
               gists are uncovering unique Stone Age monuments. They are thereby contributing                                     hind for storing provisions, may
                                                                                                                                  be considered the prototype of
               to a new understanding of settlement history and of incipient agriculture                                          the Anatolian farm house that can
                                                                                                                                  still be found today. Even then, the
                                                                                                                                  houses were up to 6 meters wide
                                                                                                                                  and 18 metres long.
     By Klaus Schmidt                               of monumental religious archi-          has been dated to the 9th millen-        Nevalı Çori was submerged by
                                                    tecture have been uncovered. Of         nium. It has been demonstrated        floods from the Atatürk Dam Lake

             bout 15 kilometres north-              these, the oldest layer, with its       that some plants and animals were     in 1992. Well preserved, although
             east of the Turkish city of            richly adorned monolithic pillars,      already used during this millen-      not yet completely researched, is
             Sanlıurfa, on a mountain               is the most impressive. The build-      nium, and that elaborate settle-      the Karahan Tepe, which features
     ridge that can be seen for miles               ings on this layer are circular, with   ments had been built, such as         hundreds of T-shaped pillars and
     around, lies the Stone Age ar-                 a diameter of over 20 metres, and       Nevalı Çori, which lies 50 kilome-    is situated about 50 kilometres
     chaeological site Göbekli Tepe.                constructed from quarry stone.          tres further north. The excavation    southeast of the Göbekli Tepe.
     Its enormous deposit layers, up to             Their age is impressive, having         there, which caused a sensation in    Residential buildings like those
     15 metres high, have accumulated               been dated to the 10th millennium       the 1980s, opened a new window        in Nevalı Çori appear to be com-
     over several millennia on an area              BC, a time when men still lived as      on a previously unsuspected world     pletely absent from Karahan. The
     of about 9 hectares. Even today the            hunter-gatherers. This opened up        of Stone Age culture. The type of     same applies to the Sefer Tepe, lo-
     place has lost nothing of its magi-            a layer of the Stone Age, in which      dwelling which was excavated in       cated about 80 kilometres east of
     cal appeal. For example, a wishing             the so-called Neolithic Revolution      Nevalı Çori, with a living space in   Göbekli Tepe. At this small, like-
     tree, which stands on top of the               took place. The next oldest layer       front and a rectangular area be-      wise unexplored site there are nu-
     ridge, is still sought by the inhabit-
     ants of the surrounding area.
        On this site, archaeologists found
     an important piece of the puzzle
     represented by the early history of
     humanity, which contributes to a
     completely new understanding of
     the process of sedentism and the
     beginning of agriculture. Of course
     the hill, which is strewn with num-
     berless stone implements, and
     with large-format, regular-shaped
     ashlars, only revealed its secret as
     a result of the excavations, which
     have been carried on since 1995.
        Amazingly, no residential build-
     ings have been discovered up to
     now. However, at least two phases

     View of the Göbekli Tepe in the foreland
     of the Taurus Mountains in southeast
     Turkey. The roughly 300 square meter
     archaeological site lies on the highest
     point of an elongated mountain ridge.
     Nowadays, a wishing tree, which can be
     seen from miles around, stands on the
     top of the ridge and is still sought out by
10   the inhabitants of the surrounding area.                                                                                                                                   11
                                        german research 1/2008
     merous T pillars, but probably no             shaped pillars, with a longer face     present the classic duality of man
     residential buildings. The pattern is         section facing the centre of the cir-  and woman. However, with one
     repeated at Göbekli Tepe: the set-            cular structure and a shorter back     exception, the reliefs, adorning
     tlement traces, including caverns,            of the head, corresponding to the many of the 44 pillars discovered
     fire places and residential build-            natural proportions of the human up to now, depict only animals. The
     ings, which are normally charac-              head. Differentiation of sex was only human portrait is presumed
     teristic of Stone Age sites, are so           evidently not intended. It is also     to be of a headless man. So far as
     far missing. Though the research              clear that the minimalist form of can be seen, the gender of the ani-
     results are still pending, it appears         representation was intentional, be-    mals is also male: foxes and boars,
     that there were different types of            cause the other statues and reliefs    ducks and cranes, lions and wild
     location: genuine settlements like            found at the site offer sufficient asses, snakes, spiders and scorpi-
     Nevalı Çori and purely religious              proof of the artist’s ability to pro- ons. Some of the animals, most of
     places such as Göbekli Tepe, Sefer            duce naturalist works. If anything,    which could be said to have ter-
     Tepe or Karahan Tepe.                         the stone pillars represents ances- rifying or protective aspects, may
        The stone pillars are the most             tors, ghosts of                                            have served as
     characteristic feature of these ar-           the dead or dae-                                           guards. It re-

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Illustrations: Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Berlin
     chaeological sites. They only occur           mons, and have         It is likely that the stone         mains a mystery
     in monumental form at Göbekli                 therefore been                                             whether      the
     Tepe. The pillars are without doubt           given an ambig-
                                                                          pillars at Göbekli Tepe             relief pictures
     abstract representations of people;           uous form.             symbolise ancestors,                should be con-
     they are, in other words, stone stat-            The stole that                                          sidered as at-
     ues of anthropomorphic beings.                can be discerned       ghosts of the dead or               tributes of the
     Representations of arms and hands             on some pil-           even daemons.                       respective “pil-
     were discovered on the sides of               lars is possibly                                           lar beings”, or
     several pillars in both Nevalı Çori           an attribute or                                            whether     they
     and in Göbekli Tepe. The head is              a garment. It could only be worn are part of a mythological cycle.
     represented by the cross of the T-            by certain persons as a ritual robe.   The animal reliefs are naturalis-
                                                   Perhaps the stone buttons which        tic and correspond to the fauna of
                                                   occur in large numbers only in         that time. However, the pictured
                                                   Göbekli Tepe belong to a robe of animals need not necessarily                 with animal heads – fabulous or          here is not insignificant. The small-     Current view of the excavation at
     Circular pillar construction at Göbekli       this type.                             have played a special role in the      mythical creatures, such as cen-         er stone figures also discovered          Göbekli Tepe. The fact that some circular
     Tepe. Right: Along with the stone pillars,       The pairs of pillars in the centre  everyday lives of the people, as       taurs or the sphinx, winged bulls        here exhibit a completely differ-         structures and building groups of the
     full statues are also to be found – in this                                                                                                                                                                    older layer were completely filled in
                                                   of each space, which tower above game animals for example. They               or horses, do not yet occur in the       ent and much richer iconographic          during the Stone Age has been a great
     case, an over-life-sized human head: Up       the other pillars, must also be as- were rather part of a mythological        iconography and therefore in the         repertoire, which repeats the stock
     to now, no distinctly recognisable                                                                                                                                                                             advantage to archaeological basic
     feminine motifs are depicted by the
                                                   cribed an important role. Twins, or world, which we already encoun-           mythology of prehistoric times.          of motifs associated with the large       research. From future excavation
     Stone Age artefacts, neither by the           pairs of brothers and sisters, are a ter in cave painting. The impor-         They must be recognised as crea-         stone sculptures and reliefs.             campaigns, archaeologists hope to find
     anthropomorphic nor the animal-like           common theme in mythology. On          tant thing is that – with the excep-   tions of the high cultures which            It has been a great advantage          even older traces of human and cultural
     objects.                                      the other hand, they may simply        tion of anthropomorphic beings         arose later.                             to modern archaeology that the            history.
                                                                                                                                    In Göbekli Tepe, distinctly femi-     circular constructions of the older
                                                                                                                                 nine motifs are lacking from both        layer at Göbekli Tepe were com-
                                                                                                                                 animal and human images. In              pletely filled in during the Stone
                                                                                                                                 Nevalı Çori, by contrast, among          Age. The old surfaces that can be         opens a new perspective on the
                                                                                                                                 the terracottas that have nowhere        observed in the excavations and           Early Neolithic: specialisation on
                                                                                                                                 else been found in such abundance        the processes that occurred in the        particular tasks must have been
                                                                                                                                 – 700 in number – male and female        sediment have been subjected to           possible, in order for members of
                                                                                                                                 figures are documented in equal          pedological analyses and allow            the community to be able to erect
                                                                                                                                 shares. Over 90 percent of them          the act of filling to be dated. What      these monuments and to adorn
                                                                                                                                 are anthropomorphic objects. The         is more, the circumstance that the        them so elaborately. The people
                                                                                                                                 complete absence of terracottas at       structure was filled in leaves some       must also have had a highly com-
                                                                                                                                 Göbekli Tepe, in the more recent         room for interpretation: Was an old       plicated mythology, including a
                                                                                                                                 and in the older Stone Age layers,       religion buried along with the con-       capacity for abstraction. Further
                                                                                                                                 is most remarkable. This surely re-      structions? Was the act of filling        investigations will certainly give
                                                                                                                                 flects the different functions of the    part of some ritual? Was this ritual      us with more detailed informa-
                                                                                                                                 ritual buildings at both locations:      carried out repeatedly?                   tion.
                                                                                                                                 while the buildings of Göbekli              We can assume that much older
                                                                                                                                 Tepe have a possible connection          traces and constructions are yet to
                                                                                                                                 with burial customs, at Nevalı           be found at Göbekli Tepe, and it          Author: Prof. Dr. Klaus Schmidt works
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    at the Orient Department of the German
                                                                                                                                 Çori, it is possible to examine a vil-   may be conjectured that the place         Archaeological Institute (DAI), Berlin.
                                                                                                                                 lage settlement and everyday life.       has a history going back over sev-
                                                                                                                                 The use of clay as a material for        eral thousand years, as far as the        Contact: Deutsches Archäologisches Institut,
12                                                                                                                               the male and female figures found        Old Stone Age. The Göbekli Tepe           Podbielskiallee 69–71, 14195 Berlin                                                        13
                                                                                                                                                                                                       german research 1/2008
                                                         Life Sciences

   By Axel Meyer                                                                                                                              ents or siblings, or whether it is
                                                                                                                                              an inborn trait. However, George

              hen I first went to Nica-                                                                                                       Barlow’s interest was not in the
              ragua as a young doctor-                                                                                                        evolutionary consequences of
              al student from the Uni-                                                                                                        this partner choice, and my main
   versity of California at Berkeley in                                                                                                       interest, as a doctoral student of
   1984, the communist Commander                                                                                                              his from Berkeley, was in gain-
   Daniel Ortega was in power and                                                                                                             ing a better understanding of the
   civil war was raging between the                                                                                                           emergence of new species.
   Sandinistas and the Contras, who                                                                                                               Initially, I hadn’t actually want-
   were backed by President Ronald                                                                                                            ed to study this species. After
   Reagan. The strict US embargo                                                                                                              all, what could there be left to
   inflicted even greater poverty on                                                                                                          discover where a dozen doctoral
   the country, its infrastructure was                                                                                                        students had already been? But
   in tatters and there were no spare                                                                                                         then I noticed that the individual
   parts for cars. Even so, we had to                                                                                                         members of this species not only
   find a way to cross the war zone                                                                                                           differed significantly in colour,
   between Costa Rica and Nicara-                                                                                                             but also in terms of other morpho-
   gua, because there was no longer                                                                                                           logical structures. There were sig-
   a direct bus connection into the                                                                                                           nificant variations in body shape
   country, but that’s another story.                                                                                                         within the population of any sin-
      There were other foreigners in                                                                                                          gle lake, with particularly marked
   the war-torn country too, provid-                                                                                                          differences in the shape of the
   ing humanitarian aid, but I was                                                                                                            jaw. Cichlids have developed the
   there to catch fish for research                                                                                                           fifth branchial arch, which in more
   purposes. Specifically, the reason                                                                                                         basal fish still supports gills for
   I was there was the Midas cichlid,                                                                                                         breathing, into a “second jaw”,
   a species which stands out due                                                                                                             known as the pharyngeal jaw,
   to its unusual appearance and                                                                                                              which enables them to process
   interesting colouration. In most                                                                                                           sources of food that remain inac-
   populations, about 90 percent                                                                                                              cessible to other fish.
   of the fish have black and white                                                                                                               This evolutionary innovation

                                                                 King Midas
   stripes, with about 10 percent                                                                                                             probably contributed towards
   losing the black colour once they                                                                                                          making the Cichlidae the most
   reach a length of about 10 centi-                                                                                                          diverse family of all fish and ver-
   metres, becoming bright yellow.                                                                                                            tebrates – with over 3000 species.
   It is to this feature that they owe                                                                                                        The Midas cichlid is able to grow

                                                                    and His
   their name, being a reference to                                                                                                           very strong “molariform” pha-
   King Midas in Greek mythology,                                             Cichlidae is the most diverse family of all fish                ryngeal jaws, which have very
   as everything he touched turned                                            and vertebrates. Some of the 3000 or more                       strong molar-like teeth that en-
   to gold.                                                                                                                                   able it to break hard snail shells,
                                                                              species are found in the crater lakes of Nica-

      The American zoologist and                                                                                                              or “papilliform” jaws with small,
   ecologist George Barlow (1929–                                                                                                             sharp teeth, with which it can
   2007) had been studying the
                                                                              ragua, and they throw a remarkable light on                     efficiently macerate soft food
   mating and aggressive behaviour                                            the processes of evolution                                      such as insect larvae. The papil-
   of this species (Cichlasoma, now                                                                                                           liform Midas cichlids are unable
   known as Amphilophus citrinel-                                                                                                             to break snails’ shells, however.
   lus) with a number of doctoral                                                                                                             It seems feasible to propose that
   students, since the mid-1970s.                                                                                                             this variety of forms associated
   Golden and “normal” black and                                                                                                              with feeding may be the decisive
   white females prefer to breed
   with males of the same coloura-
   tion, and golden cichlids have an
   advantage during aggressive ter-                                                                                                           Waiting for the big catch: Two fishermen
   ritorial rivalry as well as during                                                                                                         hunting down Midas cichlids with a
   mating rituals. The main empha-                                                                                                            cast-net. These fish are very varied in
   sis was placed on their behav-                                                                                                             colour and shape. From left: Amphilo-
                                                                                                                                              phus citrinellus, Amphilophus labiatus
   ioural biology; for example, look-                                                                                                         with its characteristic bulbous lips and
   ing at the issue of whether young                                                                                                          the more recently discovered Amphilo-
   fish learn this preference for fish                                                                                                        phus zaliosus, also known as the Arrow
14 of the same colour from their par-                                                                                                         cichlid.                                   15
                                german research 1/2008                                                                           german research 1/2008
   factor in the emergence of new                        known as geographic speciation,
   species through ecological spe-                       populations that are physically
   ciation.                                              isolated for many generations
      Cichlids in one population that                    accumulate so many genetic mu-
   not only find different sources of                    tations that, if the geographical
   food at different locations in a                      boundary ceases to exist, indi-
   lake, but also select their breed-                    viduals of the populations are no
   ing partners according to their                       longer able to interbreed. In oth-
   shape or colouration, could thus                      er words, when speciation occurs
   potentially evolve into new spe-                      allopatrically, it occurs, solely
   cies. Interestingly, this appears to                  as a by-product of geographical
   be possible within a single lake,                     isolation – and not as a result of
   even in very small crater lakes, of                   natural selection. However, mat-
   which there are several in Nica-                      ing choices, and thus breeding
   ragua, because, as we now know,                       barriers, are the key factor from

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Illustrations: Meyer / Graphic: Magellan
   each of the crater lakes contains                     the point of view of the biologi-
   its own set of young species.                         cal species concept. According
      The cichlids are thus, along-                      to this definition of species, only
   side the Darwin’s finches from                        members of the same species are
   the Galapagos Islands, among                          able to breed with each other.
   the best known model organisms                        As a result, since the rise of the
   for speciation research in evo-                       modern synthesis, the emergence
   lutionary biology. They present                       of new species has been seen al-
   an opportunity to study not only                      most exclusively as a non-adap-
   sexual selection, in other words,                     tation oriented and non-selective
   the emergence of new species                          evolutionary process, with natu-      Left: Cichlids being caught with a gill net   Arrow cichlid due to its shape,         ecological speciation in a small
   through selective breeding, but                       ral selection taking a subordinate    for research purposes. In Lake Apoyo, a       has been described. This species        and young crater lake. In order
   also to test theories of “ecologi-                    role. For decades, not least due      crater lake which is 200 metres deep and      can only be found in the Apoyo          to understand how new species
                                                                                               only 5 kilometres in diameter, evolution-
   cal” species formation.                               to Mayr’s influence, this model       ary biologists have discovered a previ-       Crater Lake, which is just 5 kilo-      emerge at a molecular level, we
                                                         was perceived as the dominant                                                       metres in diameter and com-             are now seeking to identify the

                                                                                               ously unknown species of cichlid. Above:
          arwin’s idea, that natural                     mechanism by which new spe-           In Western Nicaragua small crater lakes       pletely isolated from other lakes       genes which control the morpho-
          selection amongst the indi-                    cies come into being. On the          provide a very special habitat for various    and rivers. We have studied its         logical and ecological differences
          viduals of a population may                    other hand, sympatric speciation,     species of flora and fauna. Right: Looking    origin in greater detail in recent      between these young species.
   not only lead to better adaptation                    in other words, the emergence of      out over Lake Apoyo, which has neither        years using genetic, morphologi-        This also involves identifying
                                                                                               tributaries nor outlets.
   within a species, but could also                      new species from a single popu-                                                     cal and ecological methods. It          how many genes are involved in
   lead to the emergence of new spe-                     lation due to ecological selec-                                                     turned out that the Arrow cichlid       the process and which types of
   cies, had increasingly faded into                     tion, was seen as an impossible                                                     not only differs from the original      mutation caused the differences
   insignificance since the late 1930s                   or highly unlikely mechanism for                                                    species of Midas cichlid, which it      between these species.
   and 1940s. This was because the                       the emergence of new species.         ciently in open water, or others              shares the lake with, in terms of          This is no trivial problem, and
   architects of the so-called “mod-                        This perception of the emer-       whose body shape enables them                 appearance, but also that it prob-      it will take many more talented
   ern synthesis”, which combined                        gence of new species has changed      to manoeuvre particularly well                ably came into existence in this        doctoral students to reach an un-
   the findings of various branches                      in the past decade, in terms of the   close to the shore.                           lake less than 20,000 years ago.        derstanding of this fundamen-
   of evolutionary biology to form a                     geographical aspect and with re-         The Midas cichlid species com-             It only breeds with other mem-          tal issue of evolutionary biology.
   coherent theoretical framework,                       gard to the role played by natu-      plex has given us one of the few              bers of its own species, which has      Nevertheless, we already know
   focused on geographical condi-                        ral selection. Recent theoretical     examples (to date) of the emer-               also been demonstrated by ex-           a lot about the unusual fish of
   tions as the key mechanism, lead-                     models have shown that, under         gence of new species without                  periments into partner selection        this stunningly beautiful country,
   ing to new species more or less                       certain circumstances, ecological     geographical barriers, and thus               in aquaria, and it relies on other      where the people are so friendly
   as a by-product of geographical                       specialisation can indeed result      of sympatric speciation. Amphilo-             sources of food and more often          and where Daniel Ortega is Presi-
   separation. Natural selection thus                    in new species within a single        phus citrinellus only exists in the           lives at greater depths then the        dent once again, 23 years after my
   increasingly came to be seen as                       population, if there is sufficient    two large Nicaraguan lakes, Lake              original species.                       first visit to Nicaragua – and this
   the key driving force on the path                     selection – even without geo-         Nicaragua and Lake Managua,                                                           time democratically elected.

   towards better adaptation within                      graphical barriers to prevent the     together with its close relative,                   oth of the species that are
   a population, but not as the mech-                    movement of genes. This type of       Amphilophus labiatus. The types                     known so far – more new
   anism for speciation.                                 selection works against average       of Midas cichlid living in the cra-                 species will be described in      Author: Prof. Axel Meyer, PhD, is a Profes-
      During his career, the famous                      individuals and in favour of ex-      ter lakes of Nicaragua, however,              the near future – can be clearly        sor of Zoology and Evolutionary Biology at
                                                                                                                                                                                     the University of Konstanz.
   evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr                     treme specialists – in the case of    differ significantly from the popu-           distinguished from each other
   (1904–2005) was, for many dec-                        the Midas cichlid, for example,       lations in the large Nicaraguan               using genetic markers and mod-          Contact: University of Konstanz, Department
   ades, one of the most dogmatic                        those individuals with particular-    lakes, both in terms of outer ap-             ern methods of population ge-           of Biology, Room M 806, 78457 Konstanz,
   and influential proponents of this                    ly molariform or papilliform jaws,    pearance and genetically.                     netic analysis. According to these      Germany
   process of “allopatric speciation”.                   or those with especially long bod-       So far only one other type, Am-            findings, at least one new spe-
16 According to this theory, also                        ies, which are able to move effi-     philophus zaliosus, known as the              cies has come into being through        .                                      17
                                german research 1/2008                                                                                                                  german research 1/2008

                                                                                                                                                                             Testing is teamwork: Members of the          of consumers. At the same time, ex-
                                                                                                                                                                             Senior Research Group take a closer look     perts like Professor Friesdorf have
                                                                                                                                                                             at a DVD recorder. Right: Klaus Wuttig       already observed that, in contrast to
                                                                                                                                                                             making a phone call with a mobile phone
                                                                                                                                                                             that the Senior Research Group was
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          previous generations, the emerging
                                                                                                                                                                             involved in developing, although it failed   older generation defines itself more
                                                                                                                                                                             to meet all the expectations they have of    in terms of lifestyle than age. “This
                                                                                                                                                                             a senior-friendly mobile phone. Bottom:      generation doesn’t feel old,” he ex-
                                                                                                                                                                             A design that appeals not only to elders:    plains. The Senior Research Group
                                                                                                                                                                             an oval, bent shirt button that can be       in Berlin is a good example of this
                                                                                                                                                                             done up, even with an unsteady hand.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The “senior experts” see their
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          work as being on behalf of the grow-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ing “55-plus generation”. Testing
                                                                                                                                                                             unusual, but also truly remarkable:          and evaluating technological appli-
                                                                                                                                                                             They have taken the initiative, act-         ances and equipment with an older
                                                                                                                                                                             ing as experts in their own field to         person’s eyes, hands and ears is a
                                                                                                                                                                             promote new studies. Their self con-         key part of this. The group does not
                                                                                                                                                                             fident slogan is “seniors researching        want to be just a miniature version
                                                                                                                                                                             for seniors.” Their research is still in     of Stiftung Warentest, the German
                                                                                                                                                                             its early stages, but the growing im-        consumer organisation, however, be-
                                                                                                                                                                             portance of technology that caters           cause they are not primarily interest-
                                                                                                                                                                             for the needs of older people has            ed in comparing appliances to iden-
  Illustration: SRG Berlin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Illustration: Unterstell
                                                                                                                                                                             been apparent for some time now.             tify which are good and which are
                                                                                                                                                                                 Germany is rapidly heading to-           bad. Rather, they want to identify the
                                                                                                                                                                             wards becoming an old-age society.           actual obstacles that hinder use. The
                                                                                                                                                                             Demographic change appears in-               “senior researchers” are in any case
                                                                                                                                                                             evitable: According to data recently         absolutely convinced of the added
                                                                                                                                                                             published by the Federal Statistical         value of senior-friendly products. “A
                                                                                                                                                                             Office, almost half of the entire Ger-       new product that is genuinely user                             friendly mobile phone” (the Vita-

  “ Talking About My Generation”                                                                                                                                             man population will be above the age
                                                                                                                                                                             of 50 by 2035. The “age pyramid”
                                                                                                                                                                             about which demographers have
                                                                                                                                                                             spoken up to now, will then bear
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          friendly for older people is bound to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          be user friendly for younger people
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          too,” Ellen Gorisch, one of the found-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ing members of the SRG, points out
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         phone Handy) was released onto
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         the market in 2004. It had just
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         three oversize buttons, one green,
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         one blue and one red, with the red
                                                                                                                                                                             more resemblance to a mushroom.              emphatically. “That means that eve-                            one programmed to call an emer-
                    The Senior Research Group in Berlin tests household appliances and high-tech gadgets to                                                                  This also means that older people,           ry generation stands to benefit.”                              gency number. There was no dis-
                    promote the development of products better suited to the needs of the 55-plus generation                                                                 in particular the over-65s, are set to           There was therefore great in-                              play and the clunky design made it
                                                                                                                                                                             become the most important group              dignation when the first “senior-                              predestined to remain in the realm
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         of medical supplies. “To call that a
                         By Rembert Unterstell               tired engineer says, with a mixture      research group funded by the DFG.                                                                                                                                                  senior-friendly mobile is patronising
                                                             of resoluteness and Berlin noncha-       Whereas the participants in the                                                                                                                                                    and ageist,” said Ellen Gorisch, still

           t last! The mobile phone’s                        lance. Wuttig is a member of the         SENTHA studies primarily served                                                                                                                                                    rankled. “The emergency phone
           arrived! It’s silver, average                     Senior Research Group (SRG) at the       as study participants and test candi-                                                                                                                                              may be useful for people who are
           in size and handy. Soon it is                     Technical University of Berlin. This     dates, they later went on to become                                                                                                                                                incapacitated and rely on help, but
   being passed from hand to hand. A                         research group has about 20 mem-         involved in the advisory board and                                                                                                                                                 not for most active senior citizens,”
   photographer from a Berlin newspa-                        bers, from the mid-fifties to the mid-   now conduct research themselves,                                                                                                                                                   adds Wolfgang Friesdorf, in a rather
   per is present to witness the event,                      nineties, who evaluate ideas for new     supported by researchers at the                                                                                                                                                    more down-to-earth tone.
   as the elderly group weigh up the                         products, test the user-friendliness     TU Berlin. “Collaborating with this                                                                                                                                                   The experts in the SRG found
   benefits of the new device that will                      of household appliances and high-        group made for very stimulating                                                                                                                                                    that it is primarily the user interface
   soon be going on sale at a chain of                       tech gadgets, and read and discuss       science and proved very fruitful,”                                                                                                                                                 of mobile phones and other high-
   low-cost supermarkets throughout                          instruction manuals. They also con-      Professor Wolfgang Friesdorf, the                                                                                                                                                  tech gadgets that makes life diffi-
   Germany.                                                  tribute the experiences they have        ergonomist who led the SENTHA                                                                                                                                                      cult. They say that older people are
       But it fails to meet all the ex-                      had in using dishwashers, videos or      project, recalls, “and it motivated                                                                                                                                                often not used to operating a device
   pectations they have of a “senior-                        CD players to studies. This group is     them to continue the study after the                                                                                                                                               via a menu that has dozens of icons
   friendly” mobile phone. “There are                        backed up by a panel of about 150        project ended, with their own ideas                                                                                                                                                and several levels. This is accompa-
   still several issues we would have                        senior citizens around Germany,          and setting their own priorities.”      Illustration: sentha-Projekt
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         nied by the fear of breaking some-
   liked to have seen addressed,”                            who are on hand to take part in sur-     The group is now located in the De-                                                                                                                                                thing, for example, by changing the
   Klaus Wuttig says energetically.                          veys or participate in tests.            partment of Ergonomics at the TU                                                                                                                                                   default settings of a device. “This
   “We would like to have been in-                              The first Senior Research Group       Berlin’s Center of Human-Machine-                                                                                                                                                  means that a lot of people just shy
   volved and to have contributed                            was founded in 2004, as a spin-off of    Systems. By creating the Senior                                                                                                                                                    away from using a mobile phone
   our know-how at every stage of its                        SENTHA (“senior-friendly technol-        Research Group, they have accom-                                                                                                                                                   entirely, which is a crying shame,”
18 development,” the 69-year-old re-                         ogy for household applications”), a      plished something that is not only                                                                                                                                                 concludes Klaus Wuttig.                 19
                                                 german research 1/2008                                                                                                                                                                                 german research 1/2008

                                               A magnifier on a shelf (left) and a seat built                          findings of the research conducted
                                               into a shopping trolley (below) are                                     to date and planned for the future
                                               intended to make it easier for older people                             do manage to help senior-friendly

                                                                                                                                                                        A Balancing Act
                                               to visit supermarkets on their own. In
                                               Berlin-Friedrichshain a major supermarket
                                                                                                                       products get off the ground, the
                                               chain has opened its first “generation                                  range of such products on the mar-
                                               market” in anticipation of the aging society                            ket will be altered permanently, and
                                               of the future.                                                          the consumer environment changed
                                                                                                                       beyond recognition.
                                                                                                                          In Berlin-Friedrichshain you can              How the physicist and two-time mother Elisa Resconi
                                                                                                                       already catch a glimpse of what the              combines science and family
                                              studies have come to was that, in                                        supermarket of the future might be
                                              contrast to a commonly held mis-                                         like. Not far from Berlin Ostbahn-
                                              conception, seniors are indeed very                                      hof, a major supermarket chain
                                              interested in new technological de-                                      has opened its first branch that of-             By Magdalena Schaeffer                visors were of equal importance.
                                              velopments and are very eager to                                         fers specific amenities to cater for                                                   Then there was the Marie Curie
                                              accept new technology. Interest only
                                              lessens amongst the very old.
                                                 This new concept of the older
                                                                                                                       the needs of the older generation.
                                                                                                                       Each shopping trolley is fitted with a
                                                                                                                       magnifying glass to help the visually
                                                                                                                                                                        W      ork and family are intri-
                                                                                                                                                                               cately linked in the life of
                                                                                                                                                                        Elisa Resconi. “Basically, I make
                                                                                                                                                                                                              fellowship from the European
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Commission and funding from
                                                                                                                                                                                                              the Emmy Noether Programme,
                                              generation and the change in per-                                        impaired see goods and prices bet-               no distinction between the two,”      which allowed them to arrange
                                              spective it called for was decisive for                                  ter, and between the shelves there               said the young scientist. “Some-      their life more flexibly, in terms of

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Illustration: private
                                              the approach taken by the SENTHA                                         are wide, non-slip aisles, and even              times I leave work early, to see      time and space. She was able, for
                                              groups. “Whereas we initially as-                                        a step in front of the chiller cabinets          my children, and sometimes I          instance, to move to Heidelberg
                                              sumed that we would need to ana-                                         to make it easier to reach items that            work from at home. I could not        with her family, while still working
       So the SRG has drawn up a list of      lyse the problems that the older                                         are high up. There are even shop-                imagine postponing one of these       as a post-doctorate for the Ger-
   requirements for the senior-friendly       people participating in our tests                                        ping trolleys with seats, to allow               aspects of my life.”                  man Electron Synchrotron (DESY)
   mobile phone of the future: It needs       have in using technology,” recalls                                       shoppers to take a rest while they                  Work, for her, means her re-       in Zeuthen near Berlin. Her three                  like messages from space; our task
   to be about the size of a normal mo-       Wolfgang Friesdorf, “we now re-                                          are shopping! This pilot project,                search activities at the Max Planck   colleagues in the working group                    is to encrypt them,” she explains.
   bile phone, have a simple key-lock,        fer to the resources that they have,                                     known as the “generation market”                 Institute for Nuclear Physics in      in Heidelberg are accustomed to                    To measure the energy of these
   but a slightly larger display, intui-      because, after all, healthy elderly                                      is the first of its kind in Germany,             Heidelberg, where the Italian citi-   the fact that Resconi often leaves                 frantically rapid particles, which
   tive text menus and well-lit buttons,      people have full sensory and mo-                                         and the owner hopes it will catch on             zen leads an Emmy Noether in-         the office in the afternoon.                       travel at light speed through solid
   as well as having nicely spaced            tor skills.” According to Wolfgang                                       quickly.                                         dependent junior research group.         Resconi had very early contact                  materials, is not easy. Researchers
   buttons that are easy to use, and it       Friesdorf, senior-friendly technolo-                                                                                      Her family is composed of her two     with physics: her father, a teacher                have found the perfect laboratory
   should also have an audible warn-          gy is technology that “uses all of the                                   Author: Dr. Rembert Unterstell is an Officer
                                                                                                                                                                        children, Emil and Emma, who are      and later a professor of physics,                  for this purpose in the three-kilo-
   ing in case the battery gets low.          resources an older person still has,                                     in the DFG’s Press and Public Relations Office   seven and four years old, and her     used to involve the family in his                  metre-thick Antarctic ice. Meas-
       Among the older generation,            while simultaneously taking into ac-                                     and Publishing Executive Editor of “german       husband Stefan Schönert, also a       scientific deliberations. “My moth-                urements are taken in bore holes
   there is great demand for such a           count their gradual loss of ability, for                                 research”.                                       post-doctoral astrophysicist work-    er and sister were not interested,                 that are more than two kilometres
   phone, but the manufacturers are           instance, in terms of sight, hearing                                                                                      ing at the same institute.            and I too initially wanted to break                deep.
   still not interested. This means that      or the sense of touch.”                                                                                                      To balance both elements, for      away and study medicine, but I                        Needless to say, Elisa Resconi
   the SRG doesn’t take it for granted           This new point of view can be                                                                                          Resconi, “goes without saying”.       had already caught the physics                     need not be present in person –
   that they will even be noticed, let        very fruitful – even when designing                                                                                       When she first came here from         bug.” So she registered for phys-                  she gets the measurement data
   alone taken seriously by design of-        products for everyday use. However,                                                                                       Italy, she was surprised to find      ics in Milan, and then worked on                   sent to her PC in Heidelberg.
   fices and companies. Here and there        the design also needs to be appro-                                                                                        that in Germany this point of view    her doctoral dissertation on exper-                   She enjoys talking about her
   we find a willingness to cooperate,        priate to the environment of today’s                                                                                      was not necessarily shared by oth-    imental astrophysics at the world’s                research field, and especially with
   but it doesn’t go as far as a willing-     older generation, he emphasises. “It                                                                                      ers. “I had supposed that the Ger-    largest underground research fa-                   laypersons. This is shown not only
   ness to develop a new product from         has to be functional and attractive.”                                                                                     man’s were more advanced than         cility for particle physics and nu-                by the lively style of her explana-
   scratch that is especially designed to     With the help of the Senior Research                                                                                      the Italians with regard to many      clear astrophysics, the Laboratori                 tions, but by the fact that she has
   meet the needs of the over 55s. “In-       Group, designers have developed                                                                                           social issues. But, as far as work-   Nazionali del Gran Sasso.                          even presented her work at her
   dustry is still shying away from the       shopping bags on wheels, smart                                                                                            ing mothers are concerned, Ger-          With her Emmy Noether inde-                     son’s primary school. The highlight
   time and effort needed,” the group         shoes that you can slip on without                                                                                        many seems to be a generation         pendent junior research group,                     was when one of her colleagues
   emphasise, but a rethink will be es-       needing to bend over, and shirt but-                                                                                      behind,” said the 35-year-old.        Resconi has been participating                     called from the South Pole, and
   sential, as has been shown by the          tons that not only look good, but,                                                                                           Of course, for her too, the bal-   since 2005 in the international                    they both talked with the children
   interdisciplinary studies conducted        thanks to their oval shape, can even                                                                                      ancing act between work and fam-      IceCube project at the South Pole.                 about the Antarctic, cosmic ra-
   by SENTHA. Breaking down the               be done up with an unsteady hand.                                                                                         ily is not easy, and without help     The signals of neutrinos are in-                   diation and global warming. Here
   boundaries between engineering             In another project, dubbed “news-                                                                                         from others it would be a lot hard-   tercepted there, in order to dis-                  too, the mother and researcher
   and the social sciences, there has         papers for the ears,” newspaper ar-                                                                                       er. Resconi and her husband have      cover more about the fundamen-                     managed to integrate her family
   been collaboration between engi-           ticles were augmented by a barcode,                                                                                       pursued their scientific careers in   tal mechanisms of the cosmos. In                   and her job.
                                                                                                Illustrations: Unterstell

   neers, ergonomists and product de-         so that users could listen to them be-                                                                                    alternate “surges”; for example,      this context, the physicist is trying
   signers, sociologists and psycholo-        ing read out via mobile phone.                                                                                            while she applied for the Emmy        to find out what forms of particle                 Author: Magdalena Schaeffer M.A. was a
   gists to find scientifically sound            These are just a few examples of                                                                                       Noether fellowship, he looked af-     acceleration exist, that are not                   trainee in the DFG’s Press and Public Relations
   answers to fundamental, real-life          innovative products for the “grey-                                                                                        ter the family. Sympathetic super-    generated by heat. “Neutrinos are                  Office.
20 issues. One conclusion that many           ing” society of tomorrow. If the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     21
                                  german research 1/2008                                                                                                                                                                                    german research 1/2008
                                                        Natural Sciences

            The Secrets of the
                                                                                                mation. The material which makes           pitchstones may be up to 10 percent        tals provide information on the his-
                                                                                                up these cliffs, so-called pitchstone,     water by mass, the water content of        tory of formation. Thus, they provide
                                                                                                is still a glass in spite of its old age   obsidians is usually less than one         an important source of information.
                                                                                                of at least 300 million years. It has      percent. Obsidians vary widely in          As a whole, they form the “words”
                                                                                                clearly withstood the changing cli-        age. Some are more than several            of a “text”, which is far from being

            “Glass Mountain”
                                                                                                matic conditions in this region bet-       million years old. There are immense       deciphered.
                                                                                                ter than the surrounding crystalline       deposits of obsidians as well, some

                                                                                                rock over the past 10,000 years.           of which take on fairy-tale-like di-              he physical and chemical
                                                                                                   Only a weathering crust of just         mensions, for example those found                 properties of these glasses are
                                                                                                a few millimetres covers the green,        in the landscapes of Armenia, Tur-                of interest. The transformation
                                                                                                black, or red-brown bitumen-like,          key or Italy. Based on their external      of obsidians into a molten mass oc-
             Glasses occur even where they are least expected – in nature. The study of their   shiny glass. This glass, which was         condition, they are just as “fresh” as     curs at temperatures considerably
             mechanisms of formation and their characteristics is of considerable importance    formed by volcanic activities during       newly produced technical glass.            higher than for most technical glass-
                                                                                                the Carboniferous period (begin-              Their characteristics are deter-        es. For window glass, this transfor-
             for the creation of new materials and for technical applications                   ning 360 million years ago), differs       mined by various crystals in a glassy      mation occurs at approximately 560
                                                                                                from other natural glasses, the ob-        structure. Like letters in a book, the     degrees Celsius. For an obsidian
                                                                                                sidians, particularly                               shapes of the           crys-     from the island of Lipari, north of
                                                                                                in regard to water                                                                    Sicily, this transformation occurs at
    By Klaus Heide                             ences, the second one is a question              content. While                                                                        a temperature in excess of 700 de-
                                               for the geosciences. The solution to                                                                                                   grees Celsius; for obsidian created

           lass mountains have filled the      this problem may be found in the re-                                                                                                   by the Armenian volcano of Arteni,
           fantasies of peoples every-         sults of the geoscientifically oriented                                                                                                the value is 830 degrees Celsius.
           where. In fairy tales, the chal-    studies which have been performed                                                                                                        Thus, the values vary widely.
   lenge associated with overcoming            in recent years at the Institute for                                                                                                          The glass structure deter-
   glass obstacles that are apparently         Geosciences at the Univer-                                                                                                                  mines the glass transformation
   indestructible is a recurring theme.        sity of Jena in cooperation                                                                                                                 process. The networking of the
   This attribution of durability and          with Armenian and Turk-                                                                                                                      individual units of structure af-
   permanence contradicts how glass            ish collaborators.                                                                                                                           fects the flow behaviour of the
   and its characteristics are gener-             With the aid of nu-                                                                                                                       glass-forming melting process
   ally perceived in daily life. Glass,        merous        laboratory                                                                                                                    in different ways. The higher
   with its sometimes fascinating col-         experiments, it is now                                                                                                                      and larger the transformation
   ours and shapes, is considered to be        possible to determine                                                                                                                      range (in the words of the glass
   fragile and not very long lasting; the      the durability of techni-                                                                                                                  maker: the “longer” the glass), the
   “glassy state” is often equated to          cally produced glasses.                                                                                                                   “tougher” the glass is at comparable
   “short lived”.                              These experiments are                                                                                                                    temperatures. The glass maker uti-
       This common perception of an            able to make predictions                                                                                                                lises this fact during processing by
   unstable, glassy (or vitreous) state        on the order of years. Long-                                                                                                           varying the chemical composition
   stands in notable contrast to a mod-        er periods, i.e., periods ex-                                                                                                          and, at the same time, by taking ad-
   ern technology which promises to            tending between a hundred                                                                                                              vantage of the flow characteristics of
   be able to banish the hazards of tox-       and a thousand years, can be                                                                                                           the natural, glass-forming melting
   ic hazardous wastes. The operators          deduced in some cases from                                                                                                             process. Technical glasses are gen-
   of nuclear power plants see the “vit-       archaeological findings. These                                                                                                         erally formed from just a few base
   rification” of radioactive waste as a       periods are not, however, suf-                                                                                                         components – window glass, for ex-
   solution for the “permanent dispos-         ficient for the requirements                                                                                                           ample, contains sand, sodium car-
   al” of hazardous products resulting         associated with the permanent                                                                                                          bonate and lime. Depending on the
   from decay. This highly controver-          disposal of hazardous wastes.                                                                                                          technical application, the properties
   sial issue is not the only reason why       For a reliable assessment of the                                                                                                       are varied further through additives
   we require a precise knowledge of           durability of vitrified wastes, a                                                                                                      such as potassium, aluminium, bo-
   the characteristics of glass.               geologic time scale of more than                                                                                                       ron or fluorine. Obsidians and pitch-
       There are two core questions in         a thousand years is necessary.                                                                                                         stones, on the other hand, are oxi-
   the foreground here: Does glass,               A study of glasses formed pre-                                                                                                      dic, multi-component glasses.
   with its dissolved materials and            historically in nature is ideal for                                                                                                        Glasses with a similar chemical
   their chemical and physical reac-           addressing this issue. Here, it is                                                                                                     composition, which can be found in
   tions, possess the stability neces-         seen that “glass mountains” are                                                                                                        countless individual pieces on the
   sary for securing toxic materials for       much more than just fairy-tale fan-
   a time span extending more than a           tasies. In some areas, they can be
   thousand years? And how does glass          climbed and studied in greater de-
                                                                                                                                                                                      A volcanic glass, known as obsidian, from
   react with its natural environment          tail: For example, the glass cliffs in                                                                                                 the Sirikli Tepe in Turkey. The crystal
   during geologic and geophysical             the Triebisch valley near Meißen                                                                                                       inclusions in the glassy structure provide
   processes? While the first question is      in Saxony, Germany, are of interest                                                                                                    detailed information on the history of its
22 one primarily related to material sci-      not only as a geomorphologic for-                                                                                                      formation.                                   23
                                   german research 1/2008                                                                                                                german research 1/2008
   surface of the earth, tell a complete-
   ly different story. They were appar-
   ently formed very rapidly at various
   locations on the surface of the earth,
   for example in North America ap-
   proximately 36 million years ago, in
   the Czech Republic 14 million years
   ago, on the Ivory Coast one million
   years ago or in the Australia-Indo-
   china region 900,000 years ago. All
   of these glasses, so-called tektites,
   are likewise in surprisingly good
   condition in spite of their old age.
   Unlike the volcanic glasses, these
   contain practically no crystals, but
   many streaks and bubbles.
      They have extremely low water
   content, i.e., they contain consider-
   ably less water than obsidians or
   pitchstones, and also less than tech-

                                                                                                                                                     Illustrations: Heide
   nically produced container or win-
   dow glasses. These glasses appear to
   be the result of a collision between a
   cosmic body and planet Earth. Dur-
   ing such events, parts of the earth’s
   crust were vaporised and melted in                      A natural composition: Streaks and bubbles     exist with regard to the conditions
   a very short time. The melted drop-                     create features in a light-green moldavite     necessary for the formation of such
   lets then cooled quickly as they fell                   glass from the Czech Republic. Glasses such    densely fused glass fragments. From
                                                           as this were formed by the impact of
   back to the earth’s surface.                            meteorites on the earth’s surface. Top: An
                                                                                                          the shape of the fragments, it can be
      Decisive for glass formation on                      obsidian quarry in Armenia.                    deduced that these were not heated
   the earth’s surface are the chemi-                                                                     for long periods of time above the
   cal composition and the formation                                                                      glass transformation temperature.
   process. Unlike technically pro-                                                                       The development of a technology
   duced glasses, the natural glass-                       cal methods does not represent a               for fusing such fragments, possibly
   es of the “glass mountains” and                         viable solution.                               directly including the hazardous
   the tektites contain considerably                          Taking into consideration the               materials as a fluxing agent, could
   more aluminium (approximately                           massive deposits in many regions of            make obsidian an interesting raw
   10 percent compared to the 3 per-                       the earth, the question arises as to           material for sustainable environ-
   cent by mass in standard technical                      a useful application of this valuable          mental protection.
   glasses). Glasses with the same                         resource. Numerous tools and ob-                  The “permanent disposal” of
   composition as obsidians, pitch-                        jects demonstrate that these mate-             such blocks with the permanently
   stones or tektites can only be syn-                     rials have played an important role            integrated hazardous materials in
   thesised in the laboratory at tem-                      in the cultural history of the human           “glass mountains” represents an
   peratures exceeding 1700 degrees                        race. In the context of the protec-            environmentally friendly option for
   Celsius. This process has been                          tion of the human race and its envi-           the future. Last but not least, for eco-
   carried out at temperatures which                       ronment from the consequences of               nomically disadvantaged countries
   have never been observed in na-                         technological developments, such               with large potential for radioactive
   ture during volcanic processes.                         as nuclear power, it remains a chal-           waste, such as Armenia, this may
   Under the microscope, it can be                         lenge to study the characteristics             open new perspectives for the so-
   seen that the flowability of the                        and conditions under which these               lution of current disposal problems
   natural melting must have been                          natural glasses formed in order to             as well for the use of suitable raw
   very high. In order to lower the                        develop intelligent solutions for              materials for global environmental
   viscosity of such molten masses on                      their technical use.                           protection.
   the earth’s surface, temperatures                          One finding of the studies to date
   considerably above 1700 degrees                         is that in order to make compact
   Celsius or appropriate additives                        materials out of natural glass, more           Author: Prof. Dr. Klaus Heide is Professor
   are necessary. From these and other                     than just high temperatures are                Emeritus for Mineralogy at the University of
   observations, it can be deduced that                    necessary. For example, parts of the
   the vitrification of waste materials                    glass masses clearly consist of re-            Contact: Universität Jena, Chemisch-Geowis-
   in obsidian-like glasses produced                       fused glass fragments, which form              senschaftliche Fakultät, Burgweg 11, 07749
24 with conventional technologi-                           massive blocks. Only vague ideas               Jena, Germany                                               25
                                  german research 1/2008                                     german research 1/2008
                                             On tour with german research

        Where Science Builds Bridges                                                                             Dr. Hans-Dieter Bienert, and his
                                                                                                                 colleagues from the International

                                                                                                                 Affairs Division, Dr. Jörg Schneider,                                                Lettland
        Excavation site Wiskiauten: A team of Russian and German                                                 and Dr. Jörn Achterberg, but also                                                   Riga

        archaeologists dig near Kaliningrad in former East Prussia                                               the Director of the Museum for Pre-
                                                                                                                 and Early History in Berlin, Profes-
                                                                                                                 sor Wilfried Menghin, as well as                              Ostsee           Litauen
    By Eva-Maria Streier                                                  It was only logical to assume that     Professor Karl-Heinz Willroth from
                                                                       the cemetery had once belonged to         the Seminar for Prehistory at the                                                        Wilna

          he sky above our heads was                                   a nearby trading settlement, which        University of Göttingen and Profes-                                    Königsberg                       Minsk
          dry, even sunny, on this late                                must have been linked to the trade        sor Nikolaj Makarov from Moscow.
          August afternoon. Down be-                                   network in the Baltic area that ex-          There they were joined by Profes-                                                       Weiß-
   low, however, in a four-metres-deep                                 isted during Viking times and was         sor Wladimir Kulakov, perhaps the                                                         russland

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Illustration: Schneider
   well, Timo Ibsen, lead archaeologist                                based primarily on the locally plen-      best expert on the region of Kalinin-                                      Warschau

                                                                                                                                                            Graphic: Herling
   of the dig at Wiskiauten, had to con-                               tiful amber.                              grad, which is rich in archaeological
   tend with a relentless flood of water.                                 Since 2005, a joint Russian-Ger-       treasures. Undaunted by the condi-
   Covered in mud from head to toe, he                                 man research project has been at-         tions, he sleeps in a tent just like his
   and his team were trying to excavate                                tempting to locate this settlement.       students when they are working at                                                            ra l n
                                                                                                                                                                                                          U k r u sisnae d
   the stone well as best they could, us-                              The project is being led by Professor     the cemetery of Wiskiauten, even
   ing a pump that was hopelessly out                                  Claus von Carnap-Bornheim, Direc-         though he is nearly 60.                                       been scanned so far, but, as Timo Ib-                                                           manns Erben (Schliemann’s Legacy)              Many churches around Kaliningrad were
   of its depth and by passing buckets                                 tor of the archaeological museum             During the discussions and field                           sen says, “we are proceeding with                                                               for the German broadcaster ZDF.                plundered for building materials. With
   from hand to hand, in an effort to re-                              in Schleswig, and Professor Nikolaj       visits over the three days they spent                         surgical care, just taking small steps                                                              This area’s special history and            the roof missing, weeds thrive inside as
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              well as out. Now that people have
   cover a lump of charcoal – an impor-                                Makarov, President of the Institute of    there, the members of the delega-                             at a time.”                                                                                     political situation is deeply moving           started to take interest in the past again,
   tant artefact for dating the well.                                  Archaeology of the Russian Academy        tion were able to agree on more                                  The stone well is one of their most                                                          for all those present. The tradition           restoration work has begun.
      We are not far from the Samland                                  of Sciences in Moscow. The DFG has        projects for continued cooperation                            important finds and dates back – as                                                             and culture of Königsberg, which
   coast in the Russian enclave of Ka-                                 been supporting the research project      in the future – yet more proof of the                         confirmed by the charcoal that they                                                             was not only hermetically sealed-off
   liningrad, in what was once East                                    since the beginning of 2007, provid-      increased trust that the Russian re-                          eventually recovered – to the 11th                                                              from the rest of the world for several         this landscape. Many wealthy Rus-
   Prussia. Three kilometres south of                                  ing considerable funding for staff        searchers now have in their German                            century.                                                                                        decades, but was more or less ob-              sians have also recognised this fact
   the coastal resort of Selenogradsk,                                 and consumables. This is the first        colleagues. For instance, in 2008                                One of the greatest threats to the                                                           literated, is gradually re-emerging.           and are investing in the “special
   which up until 1945 was called                                      major German-Russian archaeologi-         they are planning a workshop for                              excavations are grave robbers, who                                                              Wedding couples are once again                 economic zone” that was established
   Cranz, the archaeologists suspect                                   cal project in former East Prussia, af-   German and Russian archaeologists,                            hope to sell the treasures on the black                                                         making the trip to Immanuel Kant’s             in Kaliningrad, building houses and
   there once lay the major Viking                                     ter many decades during which this        and travel grants will be provided to                         market. This is another reason why                                                              tomb to have their wedding photos              even encouraging gentle tourism.
   trading centre of Wiskiauten.                                       region was inaccessible to scientists.    researchers from both countries.                              the Russian researchers are grateful                                                            taken, there are plans to rebuild the          With Lithuania to the north, Poland
      The Viking cemetery of Wiski-                                       Ample justification, therefore,           Since 2005, an extensive geomag-                           for the support from their German                                                               castle and renovate the cathedral.             to the south, Belarus to the east, and
   auten, which has over 500 burial                                    to send a delegation from the DFG         netic survey has been conducted in                            colleagues – as well as for the inter-                                                          The German Consul General in                   the Baltic to the west, the Kaliningrad
   mounds, was discovered in 1865 and                                  to get an idea of the situation there     Wiskiauten, with German backing.                              est shown by the general public. So                                                             Kaliningrad, Dr. Guido Herz, even              oblast remains an enclave, although
   has occupied several generations of                                 and to build up contacts between          This has uncovered thousands of                               it was very appropriate that, at the                                                            considers the 750-year history of the          it is gradually opening up. You can
   archaeologists ever since. German                                   the German and Russian archaeolo-         anomalies in the direct vicinity of                           same time as the DFG delegation was                                                             city history to be the key element             get a feel of what it must once have
   archaeologists were the first to dig                                gists. The group therefore included       the cemetery and its burial mounds.                           visiting the area, a TV crew was also                                                           that connects and forges a sense               been like at the railway station in
   at the site, and by the beginning of                                not only the DFG’s Programme Di-          Approximately 70 hectares of a total                          in Wiskiauten, filming an episode of                                                            of identity in the people who were             Kaliningrad, when the long-distance
   the Second World War had excavat-                                   rector responsible for archaeology,       area of two square kilometres have                            the well-known documentary Schlie-                                                              forced to resettle to the Kaliningrad          train to Berlin, which consists of just
   ed about 300 graves, recovering a                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           region.                                        three carriages and takes 13 hours for
   wealth of weapons, remains of cos-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In spite of the fact that numer-           its 600 kilometre journey, is sent on
   tumes and items of jewellery. The                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           ous churches were plundered for                its way, with music blaring from the
   finds, which were unmistakably of                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           building materials and are now in a            loud speakers – a moving scene!
   Scandinavian design, were taken to                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          sorry state of disrepair, that some of             In spite of the great tragedies of
   the world-famous Prussia Museum                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             the fields have been left unfarmed             recent history, the scenario with the
   in Königsberg Castle for safe keep-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         for decades, and that the view from            young Russians and Germans at the
   ing. Not long before the end of the                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         the Curonian Spit to the Baltic or the         well shaft excavation, passing the
   war, the collection was evacuated                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Curonian lagoon still gives the im-            heavy buckets of water down the
   and hidden in various locations in                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          pression of a restricted military zone,        line, points the way to the future.
   Königsberg and elsewhere. As a                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              as there is not a ship to be seen far          Eight Germans and six Russian
   result, many items were deemed                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              and wide; in spite of all this, no visi-       students spent six weeks at the dig
   lost after the war. It was not until 60                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     tor can escape the natural beauty of           house this summer, living, working,
   years later that parts of the collec-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      partying and surviving the mos-
   tion, including material from Wis-                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         quito attacks together – and science
                                             Illustration: Schneider

   kiauten, were rediscovered. When                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If you want to be an archaeologist, you        once again proved its ability to build

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Illustration: Bienert
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               have to get involved. German and
   the Russians resumed excavation                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Russian students pass heavy buckets of
   of the cemetery after the war more                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          water from hand to hand. Lead archae-
   finds of Scandinavian origin were                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           ologist of the dig, Timo Ibsen, trying to      Dr. Eva-Maria Streier is Head of the DFG’s
26 discovered.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 excavate a Viking well.                        Press and Public Relations Office.            27
                                  german research 1/2008                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         german research 1/2008
                                  The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
      The DFG (German Research Foundation)                                      to support the transition in the humani-        international participants. In International
      is the central self-governing organisation                                ties to an integrated cultural studies para-    Research Training Groups, a jointly struc-
      responsible for promoting research in Ger-                                digm. Transfer Units serve to transfer the      tured doctoral programme is offered by
      many. According to its statutes, the DFG                                  findings of basic research produced by          German and foreign universities. Other
      serves all branches of science and the hu-                                Collaborative Research Centres into the         funding opportunities for qualified young
      manities. The DFG supports and coordi-                                    realm of practical application by promot-       researchers are offered by the Heisenberg
      nates research projects in all scientific dis-                            ing cooperation between research insti-         Programme and the Emmy Noether Pro-
      ciplines, in particular in the areas of basic                             tutes and users.                                gramme.
      and applied research. Particular attention                                    DFG Research Centres are an important           The Excellence Initiative aims to pro-
      is paid to promoting young researchers.                                   strategic funding instrument. They con-         mote top-level research and improve
      Researchers who work at a university or                                                                                   the quality of German universities and
      research institution in Germany are eligi-                                                                                research institutions in the long term.
      ble to apply for DFG funding. Proposals                                                                                   Funding is provided for graduate schools,
      will be peer reviewed. The final assess-                                                                                  clusters of excellence and institutional
      ment will be carried out by review boards,                                                                                strategies.
      the members of which are elected by re-                                                                                       The DFG also funds and initiates
      searchers in Germany in their individual                                                                                  measures to promote scientific libraries,
      subject areas every four years.                                                                                           equips computer centres with comput-
          The DFG distinguishes between the                                                                                     ing hardware, provides instrumentation
      following programmes for research fund-                                                                                   for research purposes and conducts peer
      ing: In the Individual Grants Programme,                                                                                  reviews on proposals for scientific instru-
      any researcher can apply for financial as-                                                                                mentation. On an international level, the
      sistance for an individual research project.                                                                              DFG has assumed the role of Scientific
      Priority Programmes allow researchers                                                                                     Representative to international organisa-
      from various research institutions and                                                                                    tions, coordinates and funds the German
      laboratories to cooperate within the                                                                                      contribution towards large-scale interna-
      framework of a set topic or project for a                                                                                 tional research programmes, and supports
      defined period of time, each working at                                                                                   international scientific relations.
      his/her respective research institution. A                                                                                    Another important role of the DFG is to
      Research Unit is a longer-term collabora-                                                                                 provide policy advice to parliaments and
      tion between several researchers who                                                                                      public authorities on scientific issues. A
                                                       Illustration: Querbach

      generally work together on a research                                                                                     large number of expert commissions and
      topic at a single location. In Central Re-                                                                                committees provide the scientific back-
      search Facilities there is a particular con-                                                                              ground for the passing of new legislation,
      centration of personnel and equipment                                                                                     primarily in the areas of environmental
      that is required to provide scientific and                                                                                protection and health care.
      technical services.                                                                                                           The legal status of the DFG is that of an
          Collaborative Research Centres are                                    centrate scientific research competence         association under private law. Its member
      long-term university research centres in                                  in particularly innovative fields and create    organisations include research universi-
      which scientists and academics pursue                                     temporary, internationally visible research     ties, major non-university research insti-
      ambitious joint interdisciplinary research                                priorities at research universities.            tutions, such as the Max Planck Society,
      undertakings. They are generally estab-                                       Research Training Groups are univer-        the Fraunhofer Society and the Leibniz
      lished for a period of twelve years. In addi-                             sity training programmes established for        Association, the Academies of Sciences
      tion to the classic Collaborative Research                                a specific time period to support young         and Humanities and a number of scien-
      Centres, which are concentrated at one                                    researchers by actively involving them in       tific associations. In order to meet its re-
      location and open to all subject areas, the                               research work. This focuses on a coher-         sponsibilities, the DFG receives funding
      DFG also offers several programme vari-                                   ent, topically defined, research and study      from the German federal government and
      ations. Transregional Collaborative Re-                                   programme. Research Training Groups are         the federal states, as well as an annual
      search Centres allow various locations to                                 designed to promote the early independ-         contribution from the Donors’ Association
      cooperate on one topical focus. Cultural                                  ence of doctoral students and intensify         for the Promotion of Sciences and Human-
      Studies Research Centres are designed                                     international exchange. They are open to        ities in Germany.


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