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Science Year 2012 – “Project Earth: Our Future”

Science Year 2012 – “Project Earth: Our Future”

The motto in 2012 was “Project Earth: Our Future”. The year was dedicated to research on sus-tainable development. The topic of sustainability in the sense of a commitment to ecological bal-ance, economic security and social justice can only be systematically understood with the cooperation of scientists from the most diverse disciplines. The “Science Year 2012 - Project Earth: Our Future“ created an outstanding dialogue format for these questions which the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina took advantage of by staging public discussion events.

One of these events focused on the meaning of sustainable actions for people living in democratic societies. How does the concept of sustainability relate to our traditional understanding of justice? In the discussion, social science analyses of the consequences of ecological changes were coupled with humanities reflections on the changes in our thinking about people, society and na-ture. This encourages a more intense exploration of “sustainability versus freedom and justice” and promotes the dialogue between science and the public.

At the discussion event on 17 October 2012 in Halle, two renowned experts presented their views on the concept of sustainability in keynote speeches. These positions were then debated in a moderated discussion. Afterwards, the audience was invited to pose questions and join in.

Fishbowl discussion on 6. Juli 2012. Image: Markus Scholz / Leopoldina

Fishbowl discussion on 6. Juli 2012. Image: Markus Scholz / Leopoldina

“Fishbowl” discussions

In cooperation with Wissenschaft im Dialog and the Haus der Wissenschaft Braunschweig, the Leopoldina also holds fishbowl discussion events as part of the Wissenschaft kontrovers series. This series focuses on current topics that are of great interest to society. During the Leopoldina Night on 6 July 2012, experts and members of the public took part in a fishbowl discussion entitled “What is science allowed to do?”. On 19 December 2012, there was a fishbowl discussion in Magdeburg on the scientific, economic and political aspects, as well as the concrete consequences of the transition to renewable energy sources in the state of Saxony-Anhalt.


Events in the Science Year 2012


Recording of the Leopoldina-Gespräch „Nachhaltigkeit=Gerechtigkeit?“
MDR Figaro, 19.11.2012 (MP3, German)



Elmar König

Head of Department Science – Policy – Society, Head of Berlin Office

Phone 030 203 8997 - 460
Fax 030 203 8997 - 409
E-Mail elmar.koenig (at)leopoldina.org