Johannes Gutenberg Endowed Professorship 2003

Wolfgang Frühwald

He is a high-ranking name in science and scientific organizations: Professor Wolfgang Frühwald is holder of the Johannes Gutenberg endowed professorship awarded by "Freunde der Universität Mainz e.V." in 2003. The former president of the German Science Foundation and current president of the Alexander von Humboldt foundation teaches as a professor of Modern German Literature at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich.

In his lecture series, he will address a topical issue which is highly controversial for both science and society as a whole. With the topic "The Second Evolution: Advances in Life Science and Changes in the View of Humanity," Frühwald is building a bridge between sciences and the arts and providing a platform for discussions relating to one of the most important topics of our time.

As the successor of Fritz Stern, Bert Hölldobler and Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Mainz will once again welcome a visiting professor with international standing: "The forth holder of the Johannes Gutenberg endowed professorship, Professor Wolfgang Frühwald, provides an intellectual highlight by analyzing current issues across all faculties, providing new insights and considering the consequences for science and society," raves the chair of "Freunde der Universität Mainz e.V.," Dr. Hans Friderichs. "With lectures like these, the university offers orientation guidance on the path through the 21st century, thus living up to its responsibility to society as a whole."

Lecture Series

The Second Evolution: Advances in Life Science and Changes in the View of Humanity

Professor Frühwald will also include well-known guests in his lecture series held over ten evenings during the summer semester of 2003. The explanations and analyses relate to the advances in molecular life sciences and their consequences for both society as a whole and each individual. The failed attempt by the UNO in November, 2002, to implement a worldwide convention banning the cloning of humans only serves to highlight the fact that the debate is set to dominate media headlines in the years to come. Key terms include: use of embryos, prenatal diagnostics, gene tests, therapeutic and reproductive cloning of humans, changes in the way we view the human race.

The entire debate can be summed up by the term "second evolution," because the possibility of human intervention in the genotype is synonymous with accelerating the process of evolution, and it is almost impossible to overestimate the consequences of this process for the development of the human race. Biological evolution, i.e., the development of biodiversity and the creation of ever more complex organisms in a process lasting millions of years, has therefore entered a second phase. In this phase, humans have succeeded in transforming the stuff of fairytales and legends into reality and penetrating the inner core of life just like matter.

The lectures will outline the problems faced by humans when attempting to introduce our body and image of ourselves, of nature, and our creator. They juxtapose the fascinating history of modern life and neurosciences effecting everything (literally: our bodies and lives) against the current social transformation taking place. They will take the role of language into account, which appears to be taking more of a back-seat position when explaining the existence of mankind, giving way to experiments and the visualization of more complex, often formula-based states which are no longer tangible. Finally, the lectures will look at the role of literature within the context of this discussion and the fear-inducing characters found there, the position of these characters in the discussion and the opportunities afforded by a - as Hans Magnus Enzensberger put it - "science which we have to respect and which we can live with."

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Wolfgang Frühwald
Die zweite Evolution: Biowissenschaftlicher Fortschritt und der Wandel des Menschenbildes

Wolfgang Frühwald:
Die zweite Evolution: Kunst und Wissenschaft im Zeitalter der Erfahrungsexplosion
Mittwoch, 7. Mai 2003

Gastredner: Prof. Dr. Johannes Dichgans (Tübingen):
Mimik, Gesten und Sprachmelodie: Medien sozialer Kommunikation und ihre neuronalen Ursachen
Mittwoch, 14. Mai 2003
Wolfgang Frühwald:
Therapie oder Menschenzüchtung? Zur biopolitischen Debatte der Gegenwart
Mittwoch, 21. Mai 2003

Gastredner: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Konrad Beyreuther (Heidelberg):
Gene. Über menschliches Schicksal und die Fähigkeit zur Umgestaltung der Lebenswelten
Mittwoch, 28. Mai 2003

Wolfgang Frühwald:
»Leib sein« und »Körper haben«. Visionen und Utopien zum menschlichen Körper in Naturwissenschaft und Kunst
Mittwoch, 4. Juni 2003

Gastredner: Karl Kardinal Lehmann (Mainz):
Das christliche Menschenbild und die Grenzen der Wissenschaft
Mittwoch, 11. Juni 2003

Gastredner: Prof. Dr. Wolf Singer (Frankfurt am Main):
Unser Menschenbild zwischen Selbsterfahrung und neurobiologischer Erkenntnis
Mittwoch, 18. Juni 2003

Wolfgang Frühwald:
Das »Sprachtier« verabschiedet sich oder Über den Rückzug der Sprache aus der Existenzdeutung des Menschen
Mittwoch, 25. Juni 2003

Wolfgang Frühwald:
Der Streit um das Leben. Moderne Literatur in der Auseinandersetzung mit Natur- und Lebenswissenschaft
Mittwoch, 2. Juli 2003

Gastredner: Durs Grünbein (Berlin):
Lesung und Diskussion
Mittwoch, 9. Juli 2003

Die Vorlesungsreihe mit Kolloquium findet jeweils um 18.15 Uhr, in Hörsaal RW 1, Neubau Recht und Wirtschaft, Jakob-Welder-Weg 9, statt.