Hans Joachim Schellnhuber awarded Wilhelm-Foerster-Prize 2013
“Today, Urania honours a global thinking and acting humanist,” said Dieter Rauchfuß, chairman of Urania Potsdam. The award pays tribute to all those who devote themselves to the “trouble of explaining” and make science accessible. In her laudation Minister Kunst recognized Schellnhuber as an “exceptionally dedicated personality” and “eminent scientist of international rank.” He were “a citizen in the tradition and spirit of the enlightenment, who actively shapes the community” – both in Potsdam and internationally. Mayor Jann Jakobs added that the fact that the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research bears the city in its name were both an honour and an obligation for Potsdam.
As a longtime companion Stefan Rahmstorf, co-chair of one of PIK´s research domains, told of the “unique creative environment at the institute” that Schellnhuber established. Rahmstorf expressed his respect for leading the institute against all odds to his present success and reputation. He emphasized that Schellnhuber was often ahead of his times when boldly introducing new concepts like the two degree guardrail into politics. In his commemorative speech Schellnhuber himself talked about the responsibility of scientists, of conscious without absolute certainties. With events like Auschwitz and Hiroshima, history has shown that you cannot expect that everything will be alright. “Once you have tried the apple of knowledge and are cast out of the paradise of ignorance,” Schellnhuber said, “you bear a great responsibility.”