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Conversations about Time

Episode II. The Age of Science?

Guest: Prof. Dr. Hartmer, lawyer and managing director of the German University Association (DHV)

We live in the age of science, decoding DNA, splitting particles and flying into space. We are digitally and globally connected. Knowledge appears to be omnipresent. However, the shining opportunities of the digital age and the democratization of education and knowledge also came with a downfall: fake news. When politics and public opinion ignore scientifically proven facts and appear to be driven by emotion rather than reason, it gets increasingly hard to find a common base of understanding as a society. Have we unlearned to trust facts in an increasingly complex world?

“Rationality is complicated,” says Prof. Dr. Hartmer. As Managing Director of the German Association of Universities (DHV), he has helped shape university and education policy in Germany for more than 20 years. He assigns a particularly important role to science and its purpose to bring various perspectives together to a sound decision making process. He adds, “we as humans have a tendency to prefer simple answers to complicated questions.” So, how must politics and science interact in today's world? And, who is held responsible for the decisions made based on factual research?

Especially in times of fake news, he argues, scientific research should provide recommendations but not make the decisions. That power lies within the duties of the elected officials and a clear line between politics and research should be drawn. After all, a rational political choice might not be the most human and empathic one. To find a balance between the two in a fast paced world therefore appears to be the challenge of the age of science: “Good decisions need time,” Prof. Dr. Hartmer adds. In this episode of "Conversations about Time," we dive deep in the role of science in the post-factual age with Prof. Dr. Hartmer and find out what significance the term "time" has in this context for both individuals as well as society and its politics.

In "The Age of Science?" we get to the bottom of the many fold questions. With the series “Conversations about Time” we will take a look at the perception and significance of time in a wide variety of areas, create new perspectives and find inspiration from it. QLOCKTWO combines science, creativity and craftsmanship and, through this intersection, creates artistic moments that free us from the urge to measure time down to the second. We want to focus on these moments and create memorable conversations with wonderful guests.

The podcast is hosted by Elias Wuermeling

Short Background

Prof. Dr. Hartmer has been Managing Director of the German University Association (DHV) since 1991. He studied law and philosophy at the Albert-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg and the Friedrich-Wilhelms-University in Bonn. As honorary professor at the University of Cologne, he has been a lecturer for educational law since the winter semester of 2005/2006. In addition to the promotion of young scientists and the design of potential career paths in the field of science, he is particularly concerned with educational policy issues in higher education and the importance of creativity in research.