Hochschulwettbewerb 2013

 

The Future of the Human Being

The complex question about the future of humanity has been subject of speculations and science through all times and disciplines. It is not only pure curiosity of what will happen to humankind, but also the practical importance that drives this query: how can we adjust our decisions and practices today to shape a bright and sustainable future? Fundamentally this question remains unanswered, but in a variety of disciplines such as disease research, innovations in human reproduction and studies on new forms of nutrition, scientists keep working on issues and challenges. However, it is our youngsters who will need to undertake any effort to apply these findings and take care of the future. Thus, it is our task to prepare them and to give them opportunities to start thinking about topics which are more relevant nowadays than ever before.

The Human Brain

The human brain has been investigated intensively for years. Experts hope for therapies against dementia illnesses, but also human thinking and feeling is a core focus. But how does our brain work? Can we really simulate our brain and thinking? And will we be able to understand and heal dementia illnesses?

Living and eating healthy - but how?

Organic food is 'en vogue'. But what is that supposed to mean? Do we better not eat meat or even animal products at all? Are genetically engineered foods dangerous for our health? Are long-term consequences to be expected? And how can we be sure what is really healthy and what isn't.

The changing reproduction of mankind

Practices of in vitro fertilisation have become quite common and accepted in society – and here is the very latest: social freezing. Conserving ova is supposed to ensure the compatibility of career and family. How can the human being manipulate its own reproduction and does that really work? Which chances and risks exist?

Stem cells - the potential allrounders?

There would be no man or any other multicellular creature without stem cells. What are stem cells and why is their investigation this attractive – and frowned upon at the same time? How does our life change if we can direct stem cells – and how is that supposed to function at all?

Exploring the inside

What does our brain do while we are exercising? Imaging methods provide diagnostics of the body’s inside. The latest discovery is a high-resolutioned fluorescence microscopy. What is it capable of doing and what effect might it have for widespread diseases?

Augmented human: optimising the human

Glasses and protheses have been employed for many centuries to optimise the human body.  As of now a new wave of modifying the body is being initiated: by means of the google glasses or a ring that can name objects using a camera. What will the human being look like in 20 years’ time? Will our skills be extended through implants, drugs or other technical means?

Imitating nature

Imitating nature through a modular system – that is what synthetic biology is about. Scientists hope for new medication and new pharmaceutical ingredients. How is that supposed to function? How can we imitate new biological pieces, gadgets or systems? And don’t we overstep the mark here?