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"Uncomfortable truths need freedom" - Researcher Winkelmann at Alliance of Science Organisations with Federal President Steinmeier

27/09/2019 - Science should interfere, said Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the closing event of the campaign "Freedom is our System". The campaign was led by the Alliance of Science Organisations under the leadership of the Leibniz Association. The physicist Ricarda Winkelmann from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) also spoke at the event in Berlin's Futurium.
"Uncomfortable truths need freedom" - Researcher Winkelmann at Alliance of Science Organisations with Federal President Steinmeier

Ricarda Winkelmann (2nd from right) discussed on the podium with Peter Strohschneider (DFG) and Judith Simon (University of Hamburg), among others. Photo: D. Ausserhofer

"This Germany - with its truly difficult history - has today become a beacon of hope and reason for many, a partner for those who demand the freedom of mind and of speech worldwide," said Steinmeier. Researchers had a special responsibility. "If science judges normatively, if it recognizes necessary changes, then it must be willing and able to go into politics and society and explain, advertise and mediate. It must be ready to be part of the democratic debate."

The President of the Leibniz Association, Matthias Kleiner, declared: "Free science, which is based on open discourse and the dialogue with dissenters, is an indispensable component in the foundation of a democratic and sustainable society." He emphasized the responsibility of science in times in which the freedom of research as well as scientific evidence are questioned in many places. The PIK also belongs to the Leibniz Association.

"For climate research, freedom of science also means actively communicating findings to the public and decision-makers, because they are both the perpetrators and the affected parties of climate risks. Especially uncomfortable truths need freedom," said PIK researcher Ricarda Winkelmann during the subsequent panel discussion. The other panelists were Roland Busch from Siemens AG, Wolf-Dieter Lukas as State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Judith Simon from the University of Hamburg and Peter Strohschneider from the German Research Foundation.

In addition to the Leibniz Association, the Alliance of Science Organisations also includes the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service, the German Research Foundation, the Fraunhofer Society, the Helmholtz Association, the German Rectors' Conference, the Max Planck Society, the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the German Science Council.

Weblink to the event (in German): www.wissenschaftsfreiheit.de

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