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Conversations about Time

Episode I. Science - time creates knowledge!

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

Time can be a reward or a punishment. You can take time, it can be given, or even stolen. It is an abstract construct. Depending on what we are experiencing or doing, it can pass excruciatingly slowly, or in the blink of an eye.

In some situations we might even feel like we’ve completely wasted our time. In many areas of life, wasting time is a negative thing, but many great discoveries and inventions, especially in science, are often the result of supposedly wasted time and wrongly pursued avenues. "In reality it is quite normal to spend time on things, especially in science, that are irrelevant”, says Prof. Dr. Hartmer. As Managing Director of the German Association of Universities (DHV), he has been helping to shape university and education policy in Germany for more than 20 years and assigns a particularly important role to time from various perspectives as science works as a breathing and constantly changing system. But what exactly does that mean?

Prof. Dr. Hartmer compares scientific research to a room with unlimited doors that can be opened. Each door represents a promising opportunity that might shed light on the research matter and will therefore lead to another room that again, offers new doors to open. In this process of going through each room and testing whether a door leads to a dead end or a new perspective and questions, it is crucial that also these doors leading to dead ends are pushed open in order to eliminate wrong avenues. However, this process needs time and creative approaches.

In this episode of our podcast "Conversations about Time" we will talk to Prof. Dr. Hartmer about how the right working environment for this process can be set. We will also find out what significance ‘having time’ has for young scientists and their career paths. After all, "The further science advances, the more complex it becomes, the more uncertain the decisions." How can fitting career opportunities in the field of science and universities be offered in today's world? And, do we still have enough time to properly educate upcoming scientists at universities?

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.