Sustainable and connected
Forsch 2021/02

forsch 2021/02: Sustainable and connected

Just arrived: the new forsch issue

You can read a large number of forsch articles from issue 2021/01 in a digital version here. Feel free to view further digital content.

In addition, the PDF download and the flipbook are available.

Visual Stories

forsch Articles
Article from forsch 2021/02
Editorial forsch 2021/02

Dear Readers,

We are coming to the end of another year dominated by the coronavirus – with nobody knowing how it will play out. The pandemic was already featuring in our university magazine this time last year. Back then, a photograph on our cover encapsulated how the pandemic had also intruded into university life, just as it had into virtually all other areas of our lives. This image has now scooped first place at the Germany-wide PR Bild Award 2021 (in the “Lifestyle” category, which is telling). Explaining their choice, the jury said: “The picture captures the life of students during COVID-19 measures extremely authentically. It’s easy to feel empathy for their situation – in the literal sense of the word.” This is a fantastic accolade for photographer Volker Lannert, who took the photo for us, and our picture editor Gregor Hübl. Many congratulations to both of them!

The University of Bonn is supporting flood victims from its own ranks

Heavy rain triggered catastrophic flooding in large swathes of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia in mid-July, claiming lives and causing massive damage to property. At the University of Bonn, it soon became clear that members of the University were also in mortal danger and had lost their homes and possessions. Through the “WIR helfen” (“WE help”) campaign, the University management collected donations and provided relief with a minimum of red tape.

Thomas Roggenkamp is investigating historical floods, including in the Ahrtal valley.

It must have been an unbelievable mass of water that came rolling through the Ahrtal, bringing destruction in its wake. Normally so placid, the River Ahr reached a height of nearly 23 feet (7 meters) near Ahrweiler on July 15, 2021.  But how can you place this figure in any kind of historical comparison? To do so, Bonn-based geographer Thomas Roggenkamp has taken a method developed at the professorship led by Prof. Jürgen Herget and applied it to the Ahrtal. The technique makes use of historical photos and old maps, but also in-depth topographical analyses. 

Not Just a Spring Clean: The University is Building and Renovating –

The University of Bonn is home to 6,500 members of staff plus 42,000 students and doctoral students spread across some 370 buildings, many of which are in urgent need of renovation. The current investment backlog is estimated to run to some €2 billion, with up to €800 million needed for the next five to eight years of refurbishments alone. Most of the work will be done by the North Rhine-Westphalia state construction and real estate agency (Bau- und Liegenschaftsbetrieb NRW, or BLB) in its capacity as the University’s landlord, while some construction is also carried out by the University itself. Today, we would like to introduce you to seven key properties on the three campuses of Poppelsdorf, Endenich and City.

An archaeologists project in Bonn is using latest technology to improve the digital teaching experience

As if spellbound, a group of students from the University of Bonn let their eyes wander around the dimly lit Etruscan necropolis in Cerveteri. In the background a lecturer explains the structure and function of the tomb complex. But this is not a study trip to Italy. The students are moving around a virtual environment, all the while discussing their thoughts and sharing ideas. Physically the students are sitting in a lecture theater in Bonn wearing virtual reality (VR) headsets. 

Bonn-based academy project is recording and deciphering Maya inscriptions

Mysterious pyramids and highly advanced calendars: a great many myths surround the Mesoamerican Maya peoples. It was not until about 200 years ago that researchers began to clear the overgrown ruins of the Maya’s cities and attempted to decode their mysteries. But one thing had many of them stumped: the texts written in Maya hieroglyphs. The Bonn-based Maya Dictionary Project is setting out to change that: since 2014, it has recorded and cataloged thousands of characters, developed digital tools for analyzing texts and built a global network of experts from all areas of Maya research.

War and Violence in the Ancient World: Dr. Lennart Gilhaus takes a look at social norms

Waging war was a perfectly normal activity in ancient times. In certain war situations, however, some particular dynamics of violence were occasionally unleashed: massacres, rapes, enslavement. Dr. Lennart Gilhaus from the Department of History firmly believes that, from a modern perspective, the relationship between war and violence in particular is giving us new insights into ancient societies and enhancing our awareness of the social norms of the time. The researcher is a member of the “Present Pasts” Transdisciplinary Research Area at the University of Bonn.


“Stick at it”: Visiting lecturer Dunja Hayali has been bringing together students and media makers

Thirty-four fascinated students, a wealth of media expertise and Wilma the dog on board too: at the four-day block seminar entitled “Mächte, Medien, Mythen” (“Powers, Media, Myths”), Dunja Hayali talked about agenda-setting, honed participants’ media literacy and got them excited about journalism in all its flavors. 

Patient support workers help cancer sufferers on their harrowing journey through cancer therapy

Shock, desperation, grief or even anger: a cancer diagnosis turns someone’s life upside down in a heartbeat. The flood of information that follows throws up some urgent questions about the illness and its treatment. There is often a lot of uncertainty about what exactly will happen over the course of therapy. At the Center for Integrated Oncology (CIO) at the University Hospital Bonn, experienced patient support workers are on hand to help cancer sufferers cope with all the challenges that “hospital” can throw at them. They ensure tailored management of patients’ treatment and follow-up care and are there to hear their worries and needs.

Refugees, international program participants and students all come to chat at the Lerncafé.

Mehmet Boz spends an hour and a half traveling from Düren to Poppelsdorfer Allee. Nearly every Wednesday. He’s happy to sacrifice the time, because he has a clear goal in sight:  he wants to study nutrition science and then go on to work in sport. To obtain a language certificate at the level he needs, he’s taking part in the “Academic Integration for Refugees” (FdIS) program – and is also visiting the voluntary weekly Lerncafé organized by the International Office at the same time.

The University is home to a great many key players, all coming together in the service of sustainability.

How is it possible to embed sustainability systematically right across the University?

This is a question that the University of Bonn started tackling long before setting up the Vice Rectorate for Sustainability and the Sustainability Unit in May 2021. Students have been working to progress sustainability issues for many years. The new Green Office serves as the first port of call for anything sustainability-related and is helping to foster dialogue between students, teachers and staff at the University.

We introduce some of the key players tackling sustainability at the University of Bonn.

Olympic champion Mieke Kröger about her studies, cycling and what’s been happening since Tokyo

Gold for Mieke Kröger! The 28-year-old from Bielefeld raced to the gold medal in the team pursuit in the velodrome at the Tokyo Olympics. And you will also see her in Bonn from time to time, shooting through the Siebengebirge on her black bike, because Mieke Kröger is studying nutrition sciences at the Poppelsdorf Campus. In an interview, she discusses Tokyo, moving house and her studies.

Successful in two languages: Annette Poetsch and Maximilian Boßeler are translating for the University

How do you say “examination regulations” in German? How do you translate “certificate of enrollment”? Nobody at the University of Bonn can answer these questions as precisely as Annette Poetsch and Maximilian Boßeler from the Central Translation Service. Much of the non-academic communication that takes place in English at the University of Bonn passes through their hands in the International Office.

Ambitious Targets for the Next Year as a University of Excellence

This year, at long last, it was possible to celebrate the start of the new academic year in front of a large audience once again. Over 450 people took up their invitation and gathered in the main auditorium in the main building, with many others following the event via livestream. The focus was on the key issues of excellence and sustainability.  

Pierre-Carl Link used the coronavirus pandemic as a chance to study in Bonn. Now he is a professor in Zurich

32-year-old Pierre-Carl Link can look back on a life full of twists and turns. Since August, he has been a professor of education at the University of Teacher Education in Special Needs in Zurich, specializing in social and emotional development disorders. Prior to that, he lived in a monastery for three years, worked at various universities and is also studying theology in Bonn. How does that all fit together?

Die forsch 2021/01 als Flipbook

Photo Gallery of your Summer Photos

We asked for your best summer photos! This is what we got!


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Sebastian Eckert

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Tanja Kühn-Söndgen

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