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Asking questions: New president of Leibniz-Association visits PIK

04/02/2011 - The new president of the Leibniz-Association asked quite some questions when he visited the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) this week. Which kind of data get included in the climate models developed by the institute, he asked the research domain chairs. About the details of their contracts he questioned PhD-students. Karl Ulrich Mayer, having started last year as leader of the "Scientific Association Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz", didn't just ask in order to be polite. He really wants to know what is going on at PIK - one of the 87 members of the Leibniz-Association.
Asking questions: New president of Leibniz-Association visits PIK

Karl Ulrich Mayer, president of the Leibniz Scientific Community, and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, direktor of PIK. Photo: Gaigg/PIK

The sociologist Mayer, who used to be a professor at Yale-University in the US, visits each and every institute of the community. There is quite a broad range from the Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine to the Social Science Research Center Berlin. They all aim to be intermediaries between basic research and applied research. In Potsdam, Mayer got informed about ongoing work - for instance calculating global warming scenarios first and then using this to give advice to small island states who cannot afford research on their own. But one major concern of his was also talking to junior scientists in an intimate circle.

Their answers will not be forgotten. Mayer pulled out his notebook to write down some of the things he was told. And he didn't seem to be unhappy with what he heard.

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