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Press Release | Tuesday, 27. August 2019

The basis of the cosmos and a primordial human experience: the Leopoldina Annual Assembly is dedicated to the topic of time

In theory, could it be possible for us to travel back in time? How is our perception influenced by rhythms generated in our brain? How is digitalisation changing the way we perceive and experience time? These and other questions will be discussed by renowned scientists at the Annual Assembly 2019 of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. This year’s Annual Assembly will explore “Time in Nature and Culture” and will take place in Halle (Saale) on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 September. We cordially invite you to join us at the event and we would be delighted if you mentioned us in an article or on another media platform.

Leopoldina Annual Assembly 2019
“Time in Nature and Culture”
Friday 20 September and Saturday 21 September 2019
Leopoldina Main Building
Jägerberg 1, 06108 Halle (Saale), Germany

Time is a primordial human experience, and yet it remains a mystery. It is a foundational element of our cosmos. We measure it with ever-increasing precision and we investigate time-related processes over spans ranging from fractions of a second to millions of years. We have a very subjective sense of time and are ruled by nature’s cyclical rhythms. And we try to organise time in the way that best meets our needs.
Thus, time is a topic worthy of closer investigation from a variety of specialist perspectives. A whole host of experts have been invited to speak at the Annual Assembly, including Professor Ursula Keller, who will introduce the fundamental problems involved in measuring time using quantum mechanical processes.

Professor Norman Sieroka will hold a presentation offering insight into the philosophy of time. Professor Russell G. Foster and Professor Charles A. Czeisler will address the impact of daily rhythms on sleep and on the circadian rhythm experienced by humans and other living organisms. Professor Gabriele Doblhammer will discuss the relationship between the seasons and birth, health and death from a sociological standpoint. During Friday’s evening lecture, neuropsychologist Assist.-Professor Jessica Grahn will dissect how the brain reacts to musical rhythms. Other presentations will focus on time in chemistry, biology, cosmology, mathematics and history.

At the opening ceremony on Friday, eight outstanding researchers will be honoured with prizes and medals for their contributions to science. The legal philosopher, Leopoldina member and member of the German Ethics Council Professor Reinhard Merkel will hold the Annual Assembly’s keynote lecture, which will focus on scientific freedom and scientific responsibility in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Germany’s constitution, known as the Basic Law. The post of scientific coordinator of the Annual Assembly has been assumed by mathematician and computer scientist Professor Thomas Lengauer, Member of the Leopoldina Presidium.

Approximately 50 talented school pupils from across Germany have also made it onto the guest list for this year’s Annual Assembly. They will attend the scientific presentations and will have the chance to talk with researchers. The school pupils programme is made possible by the support of the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundation in cooperation with the Society of German Natural Scientists and Physicians e. V. Media representatives who would like to attend the Annual Assembly are kindly asked to send an email to presse@leopoldina.org to make a binding registration by Friday 13 September.

The speeches will be delivered in German and English and will be simultaneously interpreted. The Annual Assembly will be streamed live on the Leopoldina’s website and videos of the speeches will be made available after the event.



Caroline Wichmann

Head of Department Press and Public Relations

Phone 0345 - 472 39 - 800
Fax 0345 - 472 39 - 809
E-Mail presse@leopoldina.org