Research, invention, and development in Germany have an impact on all of us. This is why it is important that scientists and researchers speak to the general public about their work in the laboratory and office. For many years now, the initiative "Science in Dialogue" has been creating opportunities for such exchange- not only to inform citizens, but also to get their opinions. Science Year and Science Summer events aim to arouse curiosity and clarify the significance of scientific questions.
The leading organizations for science and humanities agreed to actively collaborate in strengthening the dialogue between research and society in 1999 on the initiative of the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft with support from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The initiative "Science in Dialogue" (or Wissenschaft im Dialog - WiD) was established on the basis of a joint memorandum. The WiD member organizations have committed themselves especially to seeking a dialogue with the general public and supporting the researchers involved.
WiD is establishing the process of "Public Understanding of Science and Humanities" (PUSH) in Germany, which has already existed in other countries for some time: there is "National Science Week" in Great Britain and "Fête de la Science" in France. The goal of PUSH is to develop a common understanding of concerns and interests in society and science. This includes taking up controversial topics and leading debates on complex and socially relevant issues.
For this reason, a new discipline or area of research has been chosen in Germany every year since 2000 to be the focus of diverse events and activities.
Science Year 2013 - The Demographic Opportunity - is underway. It focuses on concrete approaches and solutions from science and research that can contribute to our understanding of demographic change - and our ability to shape it. In addition to this science year, Federal Research Minister Johanna Wanka officially opened an exhibition at the Berlin Natural History Museum entitled "Live the Future: The Demographic Opportunity" on 26 February. The exhibition will tour to five other German cities starting on 7 April. (URL: http://www.bmbf.de/en/21029.php)
The Science Year 2012 - "Project Earth: Our Future" was dedicated to research for sustainable development. Sustainability research is the key to the future. The ZukunftsWerkStadt initiative kicked off the Science Year on 8 February 2012. This initiative of the Federal Government enabled people to enter into a dialogue with researchers and contribute to the sustainable redevelopment of their local environment. (URL: http://www.bmbf.de/en/17858.php)
Science Year 2011 - Research for our Health - opened up a dialog with and in the general public. Health research creates possibilities and new perspectives, but it also has an ethical and social-political dimension. Prevention and nutrition is one field of research which will have a huge impact on our society in the future. The increasing systematic exploration of the influences of environment, nutrition, and movement on the human organism is leading to targeted prevention and improving the quality of life. (URL: http://www.bmbf.de/en/15596.php)
Securing a sustainable energy supply that is safe, efficient, and environmentally compatible will be a central issue for people in the coming decades. Science Year 2010 focused on the key topic of "The Future of Energy." (URL: http://www.bmbf.de/en/13553.php)
The BMBF's eighth Science Year was held in 2007 under the motto "The Humanities: the ABCs of Humankind." A full year of competitions, exhibitions, and lectures became an invitation to experience the diversity and fascination of humanities research, with a particular emphasis on language. Language is the basis for every form of thought and communication, and the humanities spell out the ABCs of humankind. Whether history or philosophy, American or Turkish studies, the humanities reflect the cultural basis of our world. Science Year 2007 focused in on the diversity and significance of disciplines within the humanities, as well as their sterling international reputation. The closing ceremony took place at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. (URL: http://www.bmbf.de/en/7189.php)
The seventh year of science 2006 was dedicated to computer science. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research, together with the initiative "Wissenschaft im Dialog" and numerous other partners utilized the Year of Information Technology to exhibit the relevance of this technical discipline and provide new insights for the general public. "Informatics Year" wanted to make people look forward to the future and acquaint them with an area of science that is advancing rapidly. (URL: http://www.bmbf.de/en/5629.php)
The Einstein Year 2005 came to an end with a final ceremony in Berlin. Prof. Dr. Hänsch, Nobel Prize Winner 2005, honoured Albert Einstein and showed Einstein's fundamental impact on his own work. The Einstein Year 2005 marked the 50th anniversary of the death of the world-famous scientist and the publication of the Theory of Relativity 100 years ago. The Einstein Year was a joint initiative launched by the Federal Government, science, industry and culture and was Germany's contribution to UNESCO's World Year of Physics. The Year was coordinated by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Science in Dialogue (WiD). (URL: http://www.bmbf.de/en/3056.php)