The origins of the Zukunftskolleg go back to the Centre for Junior Research Fellows (Zentrum für den wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchs – ZWN), which was already established at the University of Konstanz in 2001. Within the scope of the Excellence Initiative, the ZWN was converted into the Zukunftskolleg in November 2007.

Both Zukunftskolleg and ZWN can look back on a notable success story, as the career paths of former members show.

The Alumni/ae Website of the University of Konstanz can be visited here.

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Unai Atxitia Macizo

Physics

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Junior Group Leader at the Department of Physics at Freie Universität Berlin

At the Zukunftskolleg from 03/2014 - 02/2016

Affiliated with the Department of Physics

Project: Multiscale modeling of magnetic materials

How can the different demagnetization rates in ferromagnetic alloys be theoretically understood, in particular in Py, where theory can be compared to experiments? To understand the differences in the magnetization dynamics of Fe and Ni in Py, he developed a model based on a hierarchical multi-scale approach to investigate the sub-lattice dynamics of ferromagnetic alloys and to obtain deeper insight into the underlying mechanisms.

Christof Aegerter

Physics

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Lecturer and Group Leader at the Physics Institute University of Zürich, Switzerland

At the Zukunftskolleg from 2006 until 2009

Affiliated with the Department of Physics

Project: Dynamics of levitated granular gases

He studied the bulk dynamics of a granular gas in the absence of the motions added by a gravitational field using a strong magnetic field gradient to levitate the (diamagnetic) grains. Hence he experimentally studied the effect of gravity and bounding walls on such phenomena as the cooling of a gas in the absence of energy input, phase separation and non-Gaussian velocity distributions.

Brendan Balcerak Jackson

Philosophy

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Assistant Professor at the University of Miami, USA

At the Zukunftskolleg from 03/2014 until 08/2015

Affiliated with the Department of Philosophy

Project: Foundations of semantics

In 2014 Research Fellows Brendan Balcerak Jackson (Philosophy) and Doris Penka (Linguistics) coorganized a Working Group on the Foundations of Semantics, along with Senior Fellow Irene Heim (Linguistics, MIT), Postdoctoral Fellow Sven Lauer (Linguistics), Linguistics department member Brian Leahy, and Philosophy department members Arno Goebel and Johannes Schmidt. The working group conducted an ongoing interdisciplinary investigation related to methodological questions about the interaction between syntax, semantics and pragmatics – the systematic relationships between the form of an expression, its meaning and the ways it is used in interpersonal communication.

Magdalena Balcerak Jackson

Philosophy

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Assistant Professor at the University of Miami, USA

At the Zukunftskolleg from 06/2013 until 08/2015

Affiliated with the Department of Philosophy

Project: Imagination and reasoning

The project developed a novel, positive account of the epistemic value of imagination in non-empirical enquiry. It did so by bringing together ideas about the nature and function of imagination as a cognitive capacity and ideas about the methodology of hypothetical reasoning. Thus while on traditional views imagination has, at most, a heuristic value, on the view developed here imagination provides us with a priori justification for substantive truths.

Tuhin Shuvra Basu

Physics

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JSPS postdoctoral fellow at NIMS, Tsukuba, Japan

At the Zukunftskolleg from 04/2015 until 02/2019

Affiliated with the Department of Physics

Project: Size-controlled luminescent semiconductor-metal hybrid nanostructures

Silicon (Si)-metal hybrid nanoscale objects with controlled dimension and desired morphology are ex-ceptionally promising candidates for exploring the fundamental physics of small systems and for potential applications. In this project, the primary aim was to probe the individually size reduction induced electronic state modification of ultra-small luminescent Si nanoparticle (NP) and plasmonic noble metal, gold (Au) and silver (Ag), NP by means of scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). The advantage of individual measurement is the ability to determine the exact correlation between their size and intrinsic property.

Michael Bauer

Politics and Public Administration

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Professor of Comparative Public Administration and Policy Analysis at the German University of Administrative Sciences Speyer

At the Zukunftskolleg from 07/2005 until 07/2009

Affiliated with the Department of Politics and Public Administration

Projects:

  • Nationale Verwaltungen in der transnationalen Integration: Zur Empirie und rechtlichen Bewältigung administrativer Loyalitätskonflikte
  • Decentralisation following the reform of the European Commission: Evaluation and perception
  • Governance-Präferenzen im europäischen Mehrebenensystem. Subnationale Exekutiveliten zwischen Sozialisierung und Nutzenmaximierung
  • The European Commission in question: Challenge, change and performance
  • Confronting social and environmental sustainability with economic pressure: Balancing trade-offs by policy dismantling or expansion?

Karim Johannes Becher

Mathematics and Statistics

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Associate Professor at the University of Antwerp, Belgium

At the Zukunftskolleg from 12/2008 until 10/2013

Affiliated with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Project: Quadratic forms and invariants

This project strived for substantial progress on the investigation of invariants in the algebraic theory of quadratic forms. It concerned invariants attached to a single quadratic form as well as field invariants related to quadratic form theory. While the natural questions about invariants are different in the two contexts, attacking these questions involved the same kind of methods, making use of properties of quadratic forms and their behaviour under scalar extensions, and further of generic splitting techniques.

Janina Beiser-McGrath

Politics and Public Administration

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Lecturer position in Politics and International Relations (Quantitative Methods) at the Centre for International Security at Royal Holloway, University of London

At the Zukunftskolleg from 04/2016 until 09/2019

Affiliated with the Department of Politics and Public Administration

Project: Grievance and collective violence: Opening up the black box

This project looked at how ethnic groups’ circumstances come about, how these circumstances develop into grievances, and what role governments play in this process. In collaboration with Nils Metternich (University College London), she analysed why some ethnic groups are included in gover-nment coalitions and are thus in power whilst other groups are excluded. They found that in autocracies, coalitions of ethnic groups that are similar in size are more likely to form.

Gunhild Berg

Literature

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Researcher and project leader in the [D-3] Project

Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 04/2009 until 09/2013

Affiliated with the Department of Literature

Project: A literary history of ‘experiment’ from 1700 to 1920

In her project, she wrote the history of the concept ‘experiment’ as a literary history by observing its contemporary meanings, uses, and discoursive functions (1700-1920). She argued that the modern experimental method has been called neither ‘experiment’ nor ‘essay’ in German texts around 1700, but the usual translation of both foreign concepts has been only one German word: ‘Versuch’ (‘trial’). Due to the history of this concept her research on ‘experiments’ in the German speaking literature had to start with a literary history of ‘Versuch’.

Julien Bernard

Philosophy

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Professor and Researcher at CEPERC, University of Aix-Marseille, France

At the Zukunftskolleg from 09/2013 until 08/2015

Affiliated with the Department of Philosophy

Project: On the trail of Hermann Weyl

Just a few weeks after arriving in Konstanz, and thanks to the collaboration with the Institute of Catalan Studies in Barcelona, he rediscovered important typescripts in French, written by the German mathematician and philosopher Hermann Weyl during a stay in Spain in 1922. In spring 2014, he wrote an article to disclose this discovery to Weyl scholars and to explore the historical events that explain the status the typescripts, and the reasons why they were “lost” for more than 80 years. The article has been accepted and was published in the course of 2015: Julien Bernard, «Les Tapuscrits Barcelonais Sur Le Probleme De L'espace De Weyl», in Revue d’histoire des mathématiques, 21 (2015), p. 147-167.

Francesca Biagioli

Philosophy

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Researcher at University of Turin, Italy

At the Zukunftskolleg from 08/2014 until 06/2017

Affiliated with the Department of Philosophy

Project: Space, number, and geometry from Helmholtz to Cassire

In 2016, she published a book that offers a reconstruction of the debate on non-Euclidean geometry in neo-Kantianism in the second half of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century. Kant famously characterized space and time as a priori forms of intuitions, which lie at the foundation of mathematical knowledge. The success of his philosophical account of space was due not least to the fact that Euclidean geometry was widely considered to be a model of certainty in his time. However, such later scientific developments as non-Euclidean geometries and Einstein’s general theory of rela-tivity called into question the certainty of Euclidean geometry and posed the problem of reconsidering the structure of space as an open question for empirical research

Steffen Bogen

Literature

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Lecturer for the Science of Art at the University of Konstanz, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 08/2006 until 05/2010 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Literature

Luc Bovens

Philosophy

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Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

At the Zukunftskolleg from 09/2002 until 08/2005

Affiliated with the Department of Philosophy

Rudolf Bratschitsch

Physics

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Professor at the University of Münster, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 12/2007 until 10/2010 (Former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Physics

Project: Ultraschnelle Landungsträger- und Spindynamik in Halbleiter-Nanostrukturen

The central goal of the project was to study the light-semiconductor interaction by tailoring the electronic states and electromagnetic field spectrum in a hybrid semiconductor - metal  and/or microresonator structure. The purpose of the metallic nanoantenna is to funnel the electromagnetic radiation from an exciting laser spot which is typically on the order of a micrometer into the quantum dot with a diameter of only a few nanometers. As an alternative an optical cavity increases the light-matter interaction. A measurement of the luminescence lifetime for electron-hole pairs inside these compound structures and photon statistics of the emitted light will show whether they could be used as high-repetition single-photon sources for quantum telecommunications. Time-resolved Faraday rotation experiments will reveal the spin dynamics in these hybrid structures.

Daniele Brida

Physics

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Full Professor in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics, University of Luxembourg

At the Zukunftskolleg from 04/2013 until 03/2021 (former Research Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Physics

Project: Ultrafast Quantum Transport in Nanosystems via Phase-Locked Single Cycles of Light

The aim of the project consisted in starting new experiments in which the absolute optical phase of quasi single-cycle light pulses is harnessed to directly control charge transport in quantum nanosystems. The basic concept of this technique relies on the fact that, with ultrashort pulsed laser sources, it is possible to obtain the confinement of a large amount of energy in just few cycles of the optical wavelength; this results in extremely high peak intensities and thus high peak electric fields.

Martin Bruder

Psychology

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Head of Department at German Institute for Development Evaluation (Deutsches Evaluierungsinstitut der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit, DEval)

At the Zukunftskolleg from 02/2010 until 01/2013

Affiliated with the Department of Psychology

Project: Overdemanding consequentialism? Experiments on moral intuitions, emotions, and virtues

The work of Martin Bruder examined social emotions such as pride, joy, guilt and shame. He asked the question: How do emotions influence one’s willingness to cooperate?

Joanna Chojnicka

History and Sociology

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Post-doctoral researcher at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland

At the Zukunftskolleg from 09/2013 until 08/2015

Affiliated with the Department of History and Sociology

Project: Attitudes to confessional and sexual minorities in the changing Latvian, Lithuanian and Polish media discourse:

Embedded in the frameworks of critical and historical discourse analysis, the project "Attitudes to confessional and sexual minorities in the changing Latvian, Lithuanian and Polish media discourse" examined the construction of attitudes to confessional and sexual minorities in the post-socialist, transitional societies of Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, and the role played in this process by the media (press, radio, television and the Internet). The project regarded the construction of religious and sexual identities against the backdrop of national identities, showing that in the post-socialist societies, characterized by a mixture of often contrasting values, identification with a religious or sexual minority may put into question an individual's loyalty towards the nation and state, making it a political issue. This project examined the role of the media discourse in sustaining such harmful and prejudicial notions in the hope of contributing to the creation of a more informed and critical audience.

Monika Class

Literature

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Junior Professor at the University of Mainz, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 03/2014 until 02/2016

Affiliated with the Department of Literature

Project: Medical cases narratives and British novels: The psychological reader, 1674-1880

What’s to be gained from studying medical case histories as genre? Medical case histories help us to understand the individual experience of illness, shaped by biological, social and psychological factors alike. As such, the study of medical cases is at the intersection of the humanities, medicine, social and natural sciences. Part of this research strand was a reaction against the “Two Cultures” (C. P. Snow, 1959), which assumes two incompatible spheres: science and culture.

Eleanor Coghill

Linguistics

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Professor at the University of Uppsala, Sweden

At the Zukunftskolleg from 05/2010 until 06/2016

Affiliated with the Department of Linguistics

Project: The morpho-syntax of Neo-Aramaic dialects in an areal perspective

As a linguist, her work focused on North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic (NENA), a group of modern languages descended from ancient Aramaic, that have somehow survived till the modern day in Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran. These languages (we usually call them dialects, but they are in fact as diverse as the Romance language family), are of enormous value to historical linguists, because they represent the latest stage in a recorded history of nearly three thousand years: the earliest texts in Aramaic date to around 900 BC. This means we can trace developments in the language over a very long span of time, in a way that is impossible for the vast majority of languages, most of which have recorded histories of a few hundred years or have until modern times never been written down.

Maité Crespo García

Psychology

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Newton International Fellow

University of Cambridge, UK

At the Zukunftskolleg from 03/2014 until 08/2016

Affiliated with the Department of Psychology

Project: Human cortico-hippocampal interactions during the encoding of new object-place associations supported by spatial and semantic schemas

How do neocortical schemas support learning of new information? In order to answer this question, we need to have a look at the neocortico-hippocampal dialog. This was the main focus of her Marie Curie Zukunftskolleg project, started in March of 2014. With this project, she broadened the scope of her doctorate question to the field of spatial navigation. People living in a city for years have incorporated spatial relationships between landmarks into a mental map. She investigated how participants from Konstanz learn new spatial or semantic information while navigating through computer models of Konstanz’s town center and of a city for which they have no spatial schema.

Sarang Dalal

Psychology

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Full Professor at the University of Aarhus, Denmark

At the Zukunftskolleg from 01/2011 until 12/2015

Affiliated with the Department of Psychology

Project: Noninvasive and invasive characterization of hippocampus dynamics

This project aimed to investigate the role of the human hippocampus using noninvasive magnetoencephalography (MEG) in conjunction with intracranial electroencephalography (iEEG), both separately and simultaneously. Invasive recordings in epileptics will serve as a validation measure for MEG measurements. While their brainwaves were recorded, volunteers were asked to play a taxi driver video game to elicit spatial navigation skills, as well as a simple decision game such as “rock-paper-scissors.” Additionally, the connections of the hippocampus to the rest of the brain were studied using a combination of the two techniques. Finally, epileptic activity known from implanted electrodes were characterized with the MEG recordings.

Martin Dege

Psychology

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Assistant Professor at the American University of Paris

At the Zukunftskolleg from 04/2014 until 03/2016

Affiliated with the Department of Psychology

Project: Democracy 2.0?: Science, technology and social participation

His project contributed to a conceptualization of changes, that go beyond the predominant dystopian or utopian visions. First, it argued that the roots of new forms of participation reach further back in time than the emergence of the Web 2.0 and can be witnessed in three distinct fields: (1) In the area of labor organization and organization development (OD). (2) The phenomenon of new social movements, which took off in the 1960s, redefined grassroots activity, first from class struggle to identity politics understood as a struggle for recognition qua difference, and eventually to a social constructionist politics of identity that produces a variety of movements that put governmental bodies under pressure. (3) The fields of Science and Technology Studies (S&TS) and Science, Technology, and Society (STS) have been increasingly working together ever since the early 1980s with reciprocal effects on Media and Cultural Studies.

Udith Dematagoda

Literature

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Assistant Professor at the Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, Tokyo, Japan

At the Zukunftskolleg from 12/2017 until 09/2020

Affiliated with the Department of Literature

See video on Udith Dematagoda's research project.

Project: Machine men, machine minds, machine hearts?: Masculinity, technology and fascist modernities

His research was broadly concerned with the convergence of ideology, masculinity, and technology within literary and artistic culture in twentieth-century Modernism. There were several different facets to his research project, comprising analysis of four different writers: Louis Ferdinand Celine, Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, Julius Evola and Wynd-ham Lewis, with the latter being the central figure of my research project.

Jure Demsar

Physics

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Professor for Experimental Physics at the University of Mainz, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 07/2007 until 07/2012 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Physics

Project: Ultrafast phenomena in correlated systems

The objective of the research in his group was to study ultrafast phenomena in correlated electron systems* excited with femtosecond optical pulses, and to apply and develop new real-time spectroscopic techniques for studying real-time dynamics of elementary and collective excitations in these technologically important materials. In particular, the focus of the proposed research was - but not limited to-on ultrafast studies of carrier dynamics in superconductors (conventional and cuprate), collective mode dynamics in low dimensional charge density wave compounds, ultrafast spectroscopy of spin and collective mode dynamics in quasi 1D spin density wave compounds, and the investigation of transient photo-doping effects in cuprates (or more broadly Mott insulators) aiming to elucidate the nature of electronic states involved in superconductivity in cuprates.

Malte Drescher

Chemistry

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Vice Rector for Research, Academic Staff Development and Research Infrastructure
University of Konstanz, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 02/2008 until 02/2013 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Chemistry

Project: New nanostructure probes in electron spin resonance

Electron spin resonance (ESR) can make significant contributions to the elucidation of the structure and dynamics of disordered systems with the aid of specifically introduced spin probes. Within the framework of this project, fundamentally new methods were developed to elucidate even more complex structures and processes. For this purpose, nanostructure probes were used that could be addressed not only by ESR, but additionally by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and optically. An increase in selectivity and a significant expansion of the previously accessible range for structural information at the nanometer scale were the main goals. The new techniques were to be used specifically for research on membrane proteins within the framework of this project.

Panteleimon Eleftheriou

Mathematics and Statistics

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EPSRC Early Career Fellow, University of Leeds, UK

At the Zukunftskolleg from 05/2015 until 04/2021

Affiliated with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Project: Groups Definable in Tame Expansions of O-Minimal Structures

This project concerns work in and around o-minimality, focusing on the study of definable groups. On the one hand, o-minimal structures provide a rigid framework to study real algebraic geometry, which is one of the main research areas in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Konstanz. On the other hand, groups definable in o-minimal structures have been a core subject in model theory during the last decades. Examples of such groups include all compact real Lie groups. In this project we aim to study groups definable in structures beyond the o-minimal framework where tame behavior is preserved. A concrete instance of such a structure is (R, 2^Q), the expansion of the real field by the multiplicative subgroup of the reals consisting of all rational powers of 2. It is known that this structure has nice model theoretic properties, but no groups definable in it have previously been studied. The ultimate goal in this setting would be a structure theorem that every such group is a quotient of a product H x K by a lattice, where H is a group locally definable in R, and K is a group which is 2^Q-internal.

Martin Elff

Politics and Public Administration

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Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Sociology at Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen

Friedrichshafen, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 02/2013 until 01/2015

Affiliated with the Department of Politics and Public Administration

Project: Political sophistication and political equality

How should political sophistication be measured? How can political sophistication be measured in a cross-nationally equivalent way? The causes and consequences of political knowledge (the possession of political information) played a central role in this research project. What is the relation between political awareness and political misinformation? Most of the evidence about the effects of misinformation and the correction-resistance of the misinformed comes from the US contexts. The project therefore aims to check whether these American findings can be replicated in the German context and what policy areas or issues are particularly prone to be affected by misinformation.

Artur Erbe

Physics

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Head of Department "Skalierungsphänomene" at Helmholtz-Zentrum

At the Zukunftskolleg from 07/2006 until 04/2009 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Physics

Project: Reproducible electrical contacting of single molecules

This project focused on the characterization of metal-molecule contacts in mechanical fracture contacts. Statistical investigations based on conductance histograms were combined with studies of current-voltage characteristics (I-V characteristics). A histogram is an association between a certain value that a quantity can assume and the frequency with which this value is assumed.

Carsten Eulitz

Linguistics

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Professor at the University of Konstanz

At the Zukunftskolleg from 04/2001 until 04/2004 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Linguistics

Project: Neural basis of linguistic processes - Phase constancy as a measure of the "coherence" of language-related electrocortical signals

The study of neural correlates of linguistic processes has undergone a dynamic and successful development in recent years. In particular, the testing of specific hypotheses derived from linguistics using the arsenal of methods from cognitive neuroscience has been able to make some important contributions to the processing of linguistic stimuli. The project aimed to continue this process using new methods of data analysis and focusing more on dynamic aspects of language and the brain. To this end, electrocortical correlates of linguistic processes were considered from the perspective of coherence. It was expected that this approach would yield additional information about the neural correlates of language processing beyond previously available measures.  In particular, it was expected to make the cooperation of distributed neural structures in language processing accessible to investigation. This was made possible by analyzing the time course of modulations of signal coherence and signal amplitude.

Benjamin Eva

Philosophy

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Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy at Duke University in Durham, USA

At the Zukunftskolleg from 04/2019 until 08/2020

Affiliated with the Department of Philosophy

Project: Comparativist epistemology / Defining general strategies for building new scientific concepts and theories

A lot of his research is in the branch of philosophy known as ‘formal epistemology'. Broadly construed, formal epistemology is the part of philosophy that attempts to explore and clarify the nature of knowledge and reasoning using formal mathematical tools. He has worked a lot on reviving an old but currently neglected third approach to formally explicating the laws of good reasoning.
In his project, Benjamin Eva explored the possibility of defining general strategies for building new scientific concepts and theories effectively. He used a highly interdisciplinary methodology that utilizes insights and resources from cognitive science, the history and philosophy of science and contemporary AI research. In addition to shedding light on the nature of scientific progress, he aimed to make real progress in automa-ting some of the most mysterious and creative parts of the scientific enterprise.

Thomas Eckart Exner

Chemistry

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Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at Douglas Connect

Basel, Switzerland

At the Zukunftskollef from 11/2007 until 01/2012

Affiliated with the Department of Chemistry

Project: NMR-guided molecular docking based on ant colony optimization

NMR information for the ligand in its bound conformation, taken from e.g. internuclear NOEs for pharmacophore mapping (INPHARMA) and saturation transfer difference (STD) NMR spectroscopy, can be obtained relatively. The goal of the project was to incorporate such ligand-based information into the docking approach PLANTS in close cooperation with NMR specialists, which have developed these methods. The resulting integrated software was applied to specific targets of medicinal interest in cooperation with NMR spectroscopists and medicinal chemists.

Katherine Fama

Literature

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Assistant Professor at University College Dublin

At the Zukunftskolleg from 05/2015 until 04/2016

Affiliated with the Department of Literature

Project: The literary architecture of singleness - American fiction and the production of women’s independent space, 1880-1929

Fama’s primary research goal was the revision and publication of her book manuscript for publication. The Literary Architecture of Singleness: American Fiction and the Production of Women’ s Independent Space, 1880-1929 recovered the intertwined literary and spatial history of the modern single woman. She explored the impact of fin-de-siècle urban domestic architecture - the French flat, the hotel apartment, boarding and lodging houses - on the emergence of single women in the American novel. She argued that while romance plots traditionally concluded inside the marital home, modern American authors explored new material spaces and imagined single women at home beyond the family.

Wolfgang Freitag

Philosophy

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Professor of Theoretical Philosophy/Philosophy of Language at the University of Mannheim, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 12/2006 until 01/2012 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Philosophy

Project: The Topology of Knowledge

David Ganz

Literature

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Professor for the History of Arts of the Middle Ages at the University of Zürich, Switzerland

At the Zukunftskolleg from 12/2007 until 12/2012 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Literature

Project: The visibility of the word of God. Early medieval splendid bindings as a medium of divine presence

The goal of this project was to write a media history of the early medieval splendor binding. The word of God fixed in the liturgical book, which was performed during the mass, was transformed by the external binding of the codices into a pictorial presence of God, which could reach into the vicinity of the sacramental presence of God in the altar sacrifice. Evidence on the use of liturgica in the early and high Middle Ages suggests that it was primarily the exterior of the book that represented the Word of God to participants in liturgical rituals: for most of the time, codices remained closed book bodies.

Denis Gebauer

Chemistry

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Professor for Inorganic Chemistry, University of Hannover

Fellow from 03/2014 until 02/2019

Affiliated with the  Department of Chemistry

Project: Pre-nucleation clusters in crystallization – relevance to bio- and biomimetic mineralization

Since bio(macro)molecules are responsible for the high level of biological control over precipitation, there is, moreover, the great promise of the development of synthetic bio-inspired materials for advanced applications — such as earthquake-safe concrete. Altogether, this research project was designed to achieve an improved, fundamental mechanistic understanding of precipitation processes, so as to advance the various connected scientific fields. Another major objective for the future was to demonstrate how these insights are useful for developing advanced functional materials.

Chiara Gianollo

Linguistics

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Associate Professor at the Dept. of Classical Philology and Italian Studies

University of Bologna, Italy

At the Zukunftskolleg from 11/2008 until 05/2011

Affiliated with the Department of Linguistics

Project: The history of Indo-European genitive - a diachronic investigation into mechanisms of Case assignment and Case-realization within the Noun Phrase

The general aim of the project consisted in the integration, within the chosen domain of study, of synchronic and historical investigation, a goal which has always inspired her work, since the research conducted for her Ph.D. dissertation. A substantial part of her current interests was devoted to Latin, and to the syntactic change in the nominal domain leading to the differentiation observable in the Romance languages since Mediaeval documents. she has also been working, together with her research group in Trieste, at a novel comparative method with phylogenetic purposes based on syntactic data.

Thomas Gisler

Physics

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Senior Scientist Spectroscopy at Metrohm AG Herisau, Switzerland

At the Zukunftskolleg from 05/2004 until 04/2009 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Phsyics

Project: Neurophysiological imaging with diffusing-wave spectroscopy - improving spatial resolution with path length-resolved detection

Dynamic multiple scattering of light (diffusing wave spectroscopy - DWS) has recently been successfully applied to the noninvasive study of human brain activity during motor and visual stimulation. It has been found that the DWS signal is exceptionally sensitive to functional changes in blood flow in specific brain areas. In the present project, the spatial resolution of DWS as well as its specificity to cortical activity should be improved using path length selective detectio

James Griffiths

Linguistics

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Professor in English Linguistics at the Department of Modern Languages, University of Tübingen

At the Zukunftskolleg from 04/2016 until 12/2018

Affiliated with the Department of Linguistics

Project: Fragments of discourse

His research project at the Zukunftskolleg, focused on the phenomenon of ellipsis in natural language. Roughly speaking, he observed ellipsis in fragmentary utterances which, when encountered without any discourse context, are unacceptable, yet with sufficient context are judged to be fine. Ellipsis is clearly context-dependent, and yet it also affects the grammatical status of natural language utterances.

Helen Gunter

Biology

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Project Manager at Edinburgh Genomics at Universtiy of Edinburgh, UK

At the Zukunftskolleg from 06/2008 until 09/2014

Affiliated with the Department of Biology

Project: The developmental basis of phenotypic plasticity in cichlid jaw phenotypes

She aimed to characterise the molecular developmental processes that underlie cichlid jaw and dentition development, and to identify the alterations that result in phenotypic plasticity. Mammalian jaw and dentition development have been well characterised, and provide a substantial list of candidate genes upon which to base her examination. Microarray was also employed to identify novel pathways that mediate the relationship between diet and jaw development.

Roxana Halbleib

Economics

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Responsibilities

Professor for Statistics and Econometrics at the Institute of Economics, University of Freiburg, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 10/2013 until 04/2020

Affiliated with the Department of Economics

See video on Roxana Halbleib's research project.

Project: Financial risks in the intrinsic time dimension

The huge financial losses many financial institutions experienced during and following the financial crisis of 2007/2008 have revealed serious pitfalls in the existing financial risk measures. Her research has in the last academic year mainly focused on improving the predictability of financial risks through the development of new methodologies for measuring and forecasting them. These methodologies exploit the rich information content of high-frequency financial data, as well as the theory of stable distribution, which is the generalization of the normal to account for fattailedness and skewness and the theory of unifractality/multifractality applied to financial returns sampled in intrinsic/calendar time.

Simon Hanslmayr

Psychology

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Reader at University of Birmingham

At the Zukunftskolleg from 06/2010 until 08/2013

Afiliated with the Department of Psychology

Project: How neural synchronization forms long-term memories in humans

The goal of the research project was to investigate the role of neural synchronization for the formation of long-term memories in a series of experiments. Derived from cognitive theories of long-term memory, those experiments are aimed at dissociating synchronous memory networks at the time memories are being formed. Moreover it was investigated, how the reactivation of those very same networks supports memory retrieval. By means of electrophysiological recordings (MEG/EEG) and functional brain imaging, the dynamics of oscillatory brain networks were elucidated comprehensively. On the basis of these empirical data, a neuro-cognitive memory model was developed, which incorporates the observed brain oscillatory dynamics. Moreover, neuroplasticity studies were conducted to show how those networks are shaped by intense training. These may be valuable for the development of neurocognitive therapeutic interventions for memory disorders (e.g. dementia).

Jörg Hartig

Chemistry

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Professor for Biopolymer Chemistry at the University of Konstanz, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 11/2007 until 02/2011 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Chemistry

Project: Switching RNA Interference

The proposed research aimed at the development of novel tools for triggering RNA interference (RNAi) that will allow for enhanced control of the phenomenon. RNAi describes the specific down-regulation of gene expression induced by homologous double-stranded RNAs, exploiting a naturally occurring pathway. Although it has been discovered recently, the technique has already become a valuable tool in modern biological sciences for controlling gene expression in eukaryotes. Moreover, RNA interference shows promising potential for therapy of a variety of clinical pictures such as viral infections, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Stephan Hartmann

Philosophy

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Professor at LMU München

At the Zukunftskolleg from 09/2002 until 08/2005 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Philosophy

Tamir Hassan

Computer and Information Sciences

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Automated Publishing Researcher, Hewlett-Packard Laboratories, Wien, Austria

At the Zukunftskolleg from 03/2013 until 07/2014

Affiliated with the Department of Computer and Information

Project: Open-world standardized textual document understanding

Most existing approaches to document understanding are geared towards a particular problem or application and do not generalize very well. His proposed project addressed the generalization of this problem and he intended to discover how far it is possible to rediscover the logical structure of any arbitrary PDF document using generic knowledge alone. This was the first step towards his long-term research goal of automatic separation of content from presentation, representing both in standardized schemata, making it also possible to perform the transformation in reverse and generate a formatted document from separate representations of logical structure and formatting rules. This promising research goal has the potential to revolutionize a wide range of applications, such as search, document management, cataloguing, accessibility and repurposing (e.g. for portable devices), and is therefore likely to be of considerable interest to researchers beyond computer science, as well as industry.

Barbara Hausmair

History and Sociology

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Assistant Professor für Medieval and Modern Period Archaeology, Institute for Archaeologies, University of Innsbruck, Austria

At the Zukunftskolleg from 04/2014 until 06/2017

Affiliated with the Department of History and Sociology

Project: ?...diu kint, diu âne den touf ersterbent...?. Unbaptized children between theological discourse and social practices in 12th to 16th century Central Europe

The proposed project seeked to scrutinize the changing relationships between the laic population and the Church from the Middle Ages to the early modern period in regard to the fate of unbaptized children in the Christian afterlife. By analyzing spatial structures of 12th to 16th century infant burials from Central Europe and comparing them with eschatological concepts and historic records on burial regulation, past ontologies of early childhood death were explored. In the 12th and 13th c. theological scholars suggested that children who died without baptism would have to abide eternally in a special place at the margins of hell deprived from salvation, the so-called limbus puerorum.

Anne Hauswald

Psychology

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Senior Scientist at the University of Salzburg, Austria

At the Zukunftskolleg from 01/2010 until 05/2012

Affiliated with the Department of Psychology

Project: Social emotions and the human mirror neuron system

The project aimed to investigate the neuronal underpinnings of selected social emotions, namely empathy, shame, and the media emotion of fremdscham (feelings of shame for others who do not show signs of shame in embarrassing situations) and their connection with the MNS which is known to be involved in social cognition. The generation of social emotions requires the integration and interpretation of several different sources of information, such as representation of the evoking stimulus or situation, knowledge about social norms and inferences about the intentions of others. Therefore, special interest was devoted to the spatial-temporal cerebral dynamics that mediate individual aspects of social emotions and the integration of which gives rise to their experience.

Corinna Herrmann

Biology

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Senior Director Global Medical Affairs Immunology at Takeda, Vienna, Austria

At the Zukunftkolleg from 10/2002 until 11/2008 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Biology

Franz Huber

Philosophy

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Assistant Professor at University of Toronto

At the Zukunftkolleg from 01/2008 until 12/2012

Affiliated with the Department of Philosophy

Project: Formal Epistemology

The Formal Epistemology (FE) research project emerged in part from his work in the Philosophy, Probability, and Modeling (PPM) research group led by Sofja Kovalevskaja Award winner Prof. Luc Bovens and Prof. Stephan Hartmann. In a sense FE is just as interdisciplinary - or rather transdisciplinary - as PPM: The formal methods used are close to mathematics, and in terms of content FE is not only at home in philosophy, but also in psychology and computer science. FE wants to answer philosophically important questions with the help of formal methods. Compared to PPM, the spectrum is narrower in terms of content and is directed towards questions of epistemological interest, but methodically the whole range of formal means is to be used.

Wolf Hütteroth

Biology

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Group Leader at the Department of Genetics at Leipzig University, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 07/2014 until 10/2017

Affiliated with the Department of Biology

Project: Why do we Play?

Insects need to tackle the same problems in their lives as any other animal, including us: survive and reproduce. So if play-like behaviour has any evolutionary advantage (and it should, since it is connected to serious costs), did insects also exploit this trait? To examine that, he was analyzing flies over several days in an enriched environment, with free access to food and water, and voluntary access to a spinning platform – a carousel. He proposed that an animal intentionally exposes its proprioceptors (body joint sensors) to external mechanical stimulation, i.e., centripetal force. This “intentional exafference” is then used to challenge and train self-re-cognition memory (i.e., “self-awareness”) of the organism, but in an internal state-dependent manner.

Laura Iapichino

Mathematics and Statistics

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Assistant Professor at TU Eindhoven, Netherlands

At the Zukunftskolleg from 09/2013 until 04/2015

Affiliated with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Project: Reduced basis method and optimization strategies for the solution of complex systems in real applications

The reduced basis (RB) method is a model order reduction technique that provides a rapid and reliable solution of parametrized partial differential equations (PDEs) as projection of previously precomputed solutions for certain instances of the parameters. She proposed new extensions of the RB method combined with domain decomposition techniques for solving optimization problems described by PDEs within domains represented by networks of repetitive geometries with heterogeneous parametrization.

Zhongbao Jian

Chemistry

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Professor at the Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry

Chinese Academy Of Sciences, China

At the Zukunftskolleg from 07/2013 until 07/2015

Affiliated with the Department of Chemistry

Project: Stereoselective acrylate insertion polymerization

In this research project a new class of well-defined phosphinosulfonate (P^O) and bi(phosphinosulfonate) (P^O)2 ligands with asymmetric aryl substituents at the phosphorus fixed by a bridging rigid spacer (chiral or achiral) was synthesized and their related mono- and bi-nuclear palladium methyl complexes, (P^O)PdMe(L) and (P^O)2[PdMe(L)]2 (L is a coordinating ligand such as dmso, pyridine, lutidine, tmeda, pyridazine, and PR3), or 'base-free' [(P^O)PdMe]n and {(P^O)2[PdMe]2}n was facilely prepared. The identity and purity of all new concept palladium complexes was fully established by comprehensive NMR spectra, element analysis, even IR and single crystal X-diffraction if necessary. The stoichiometric insertion reactions of acrylate with the new concept catalyst precursors was first studied by experimental and theoretical methods to give stereocontrolled mechanistic insight, then stereoselective insertion polymerization of acrylate was preliminarily carried out to build the relationship between the structure of catalysts and the polymerization behaviors (activity, stereoselectivity, molecular weight, and molecular weight distribution).

Georg Jochum

Law

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Professor for Public Law, Tax and European Law, and Regulatory Law at the Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 07/2003 until 11/2008 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Law

Project: Legitimacy of a European Constitution under the conditions of national constitutional traditions - questions of the horizontal and vertical separation of powers using the example of legislation and the financial constitution

Jolle Jolles

Biology

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Affiliated with the Department of Biology

At the Zukunftskolleg from 03/2018 until 02/2021

See detailed profile: https://scikon.uni-konstanz.de/en/persons/profile/jolle.jolles/

Publications on KOPS

See video on Jolle Jolle's research project.

Project: Individual Differences in Collective Behaviour: From Proximate Mechanisms to Ecological and Evolutionary Consequences

One of the biggest advancements in our understanding of collective behaviour has been the discovery that complex coordinated behaviours can be explained by simple, universal interaction rules. At the same time, in recent years it has become very apparent that consistent among-individual differences are widespread among social species, with large implications for a wide range of ecological and evolutionary processes. This raises the important question of whether personality variation constitutes a fundamental organisational principle within animal groups, with large potential consequences for the emergence of collective properties and group functioning. Despite increasing research interest and large and highly active communities in the fields of Animal Personality and Collective Behaviour, there is very limited interaction between these two fields.

Julia Jones

Biology

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Assistant Professor, University of Dublin, Ireland

At the Zukunftskolleg from 06/2008 until 05/2013

Affiliated with the Department of Biology

Project: Evolution and speci­fication in fish / search for colour gene regulatory differences in the Nicaraguan cichlid fish radiation (Amphilophus spp.)

The development of high-throughput sequencing technologies made it possible to resolve genetic differences between species and populations, while DNA microarray studies allow the measurement of transcript levels for thousands of genes simultaneously. She proposed to apply modern genotyping techniques to a well established system, the Nicaraguan cichlid fish Amphilophus citrinellus, A. Labiatus and A. Xiloaensis (of the Midas species complex), to study the genomic events underlying speciation and diversification.

Markus Junghöfer

Psychology

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Professor at University of Münster

At the Zukunftskolleg from 06/2002 until 06/2005 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Psychology

Andreas Karrenbauer

Computer and Information Sciences

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Senior Researcher at Max Planck Institute for Informatics Saarbrücken, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 07/2010 until 12/2012

Affiliated with the Department of Computer and Information

Project: Discrete optimization for flat panel displays

The main objective of the project was to advance the state-of-the-art in modern display technology by means of discrete optimization. In particular, he aimed at a reduction of power consumption of the next generation of flat-panel displays by new sophisticated driving algorithms. Our framework was applied to devices like OLED displays, plasma screens, and e-paper. He has developed algorithms that allow more lines to be addressed at once.

Henri Kauhanen

Linguistics

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Researcher, Department of Linguistics, University of Konstanz

Postdoctoral Fellow from 10/2019 until 05/2021

Affiliated with the Department of Linguistics

Project: Population Dynamics of Language (PopDyLan)

In current quantitative and computational models of linguistic variation and language change, population dynamics plays a small role: models routinely assume fully-mixing, often infinite populations for the purpose of mathematical tractability. Yet real-life language acquisition and language use happens in situations of great social stratification. This project will model the cultural evolution of language in realistic population settings, by drawing not only on linguistic theory and traditional sociolinguistic research, but also on computational social science and complexity science. Organized into two case studies, the first case study of the project will present a model of the normal population dynamics of linguistic transmission over several successive generations of speakers in dynamically evolving social networks whose properties will be made to match closely those of real human societies. In the second case study, this model will be extended by including in the population a number of second-language learners, in order to model complicated mixing processes such as language contact, immigration and creolization.

See detailed profile: https://scikon.uni-konstanz.de/personen/profile/henri.kauhanen/

Publications on KOPS

Young Dok Kim

Physics

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Professor at Sungkyunkwan University

At the Zukunftskolleg from 11/2002 until 03/2006 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Physics

Johanna Kißler

Psychology

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Professor for Affective Neuropsychology at the University of Bielefeld, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 05/2003 until 02/2010 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Psychology

Project: Electrophysiological indices of information processing in patients in vegetative state

For physiological reasons, epileptogenic tissue is very often located in temporal as well as frontal structures of the brain, which play an important role in memory processes as well as in emotional processes. The project involved the identification of brain areas and functional networks that contribute to episodic memory retrieval and the study of their temporal dynamics.

Mathias Kläui

Physics

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Website

Responsibilities

Professor at the Institute of Physics, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 11/2006 until 10/2010 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Physics

Project: Interaction of current with magnetic domain walls

Extremely narrow geometry-dependent domain walls form at the boundary between two regions with differently oriented magnetization directions (domains), in which the magnetization direction rotates 180° on a length scale of a few nanometers. Torque is transferred from the spin-polarized current to the magnetization by injecting current pulses, so that domain walls are moved in the direction of electron flow and an element can thus be switched (current-induced domain wall propagation). The interaction between conduction electrons and magnetization is not yet well understood and should be investigated with a combination of innovative theoretical approaches and novel experiments.

Iris-Tatjana Kolassa

Psychology

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Professor for Psychology at the University of Ulm, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 12/2006 until 11/2010 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Psychology

Project: Effects of stress on neurogenesis in a human in vitro system

She established an in vitro model, together with Dr. Suzanne Kadereit,  in which they observed the generation of new neurons from neural precursor cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. Such a system would mimic the in vivo situation where new neurons are generated from neural precursor cells residing in the adult brain. In this system they assessed the impact of stress on neurogenesis.

Claudius Kratochwil

Biology

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Group leader at the Institute for Biotechnology at the University of Helsinki

Fellow from 09/2013 until 12/2020

Affiliated with the Department of Biology

Project: Evolution of Transcriptional Regulation During Diversification and Speciation in Cichlid Fishes

The processes facilitating evolutionary processes are not only of central interest for all biological disciplines as well as computer science, but also for a deeper understanding of our own nature as humans. Cichlids are a famous textbook example for diversity and the rate with which new species can arise. However, little is known about the molecular mechanisms that drive this astonishing phenotypic diversity. It is still not understood from a genomic standpoint, why some lineages, such as insects or fishes, have such an drastic increase of species diversity and how this phenotypic diversity is accompanied or even caused on a (epi-)genomic level.
There is growing evidence for the hypothesis that changes in non-coding DNA constitute a major component of phenotypic evolution. By performing ChIP-seq (chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing) for both histone modifications and modifiers in selected tissues of six different cichlid species I aim to screen in an unbiased manner for regulatory elements influencing the expression of tissue- and species- specific phenotypic traits.

Albert Kümmel-Schnur

Literature

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Website

Responsibilities

Project "Transfer Lehre", University of Konstanz

At the Zukunftskolleg from 09/2006 until 10/2011 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Literature

Project: Visual navigation. Design and critique of schematic maps

The research project "Visual navigation. Design and critique of schematic maps" was a collaboration of Art History, Media Studies and Computer Science. They investigated visual navigation and the use of maps from different points of view, merging theory and practice, algorithm design and cultural studies. Starting point was the recent development of automatic construction of maps as well as civil uses of satellite based positioning systems. Their common goal was to understand how schematization becomes a strong instrument of representing relationships in different contexts

Oleksandra Kukharenko

Chemistry

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Website

Responsibilities

Group leader in the Theory Department at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz

Fellow from 03/2015 until 12/2019

Affiliated with the Department of Chemistry

Project: Using dimensionality reduction to systematically expand the conformational sampling of intrinsically disordered proteins

The project concerned the folding problem for intrinsically disordered proteins and peptides (IDPs), which are involved in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s syndrome. Their pathophysiologically behavior is presumably connected with conformational transitions: proteins change from their disordered state into a structurally more de-fined state. This is why she was concerned with characterizing the conformational space accessible to the α-synucline. She analyzed its fragments by combining molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and mathematical methods.

Takayuki Kurihara

Physics

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Website

Responsibilities

Research Associate (Assistant Professor) in the Laser and Synchrotron Research Center (LASOR) at the Institute for Solid State Physics of the University of Tokyo

Research Fellow from 04/2018 until 02/2020

Affiliated with the Department of Physics

Project: Detecting spin noise dynamics

He proposed a technique to achieve using ultrafast laser technology. The principle relies on detecting the polarization noises contained in a pair of femtosecond laser pulses that transmits the sample. In 2019-2020, he finished characterization of the measurement system and tested his strategy using a sample crystal called orthoferrite. As a result, he succeeded in measuring the magnetization fluctuation dynamics during phase transition. To his knowledge, this was the first time that magnetization noise in a correlated spin system has been recorded in the time domain.

Andrea Lailach-Hennrich

Philosophy

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Website

Responsibilities

Lecturer in the Departments of Politics and Public Administration, University of Konstanz

At the Zukunftskolleg from 04/2013 until 04/2018 (former Postdoctoral Fellow; Associated Fellow upon application)

Affiliated with the Department of Philosophy

See video on Andrea Lailach-Hennrich's research project.

Project: The synthetic a priori

The project that brought her to the Zukunftskolleg was called “The synthetic A priori,” a concept that Immanuel Kant introduced into philosophy. Synthetic a priori judgments are of special interest to philosophers. They are on one hand supposed to tell us something about the features of the empirical world, which is what makes them synthetic. On the other, they are to be justified without reference to experience, which is what makes them a priori. By means of synthetic a priori judgments philosophers seem to be in a position to say something about the general conditions of experience and knowledge without leaving their armchair.

Karsten Lambers

Computer and Information Sciences

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Website

Responsibilities

Assistant Professor of Archaeological Computer Science at the University of Leiden, Netherlands

At the Zukunftskolleg from 10/2008 until 09/2013

Affiliated with the Department of Computer and Information

Project: Remote sensing Archeology - towards semi-automated detection of archaeological residues in high resolution multispectral satellite imagery

This interdisciplinary project aimed at a systematic evaluation of the potential of a new generation of high resolution multispectral satellite sensors for archaeological prospection. Remotely sensed imagery can be analysed through multispectral image analysis, by semantically classifying the contents of images, and through photogrammetry, by extracting geometric 3D information. Both kinds of information allow the location and nature of exposed and near-surface archaeological residues to be determined, which is an important prerequisite for the protection and management of cultural heritage. While the use of high resolution multispectral imagery for archaeological prospection has recently increased, the project proposed here was intended to go beyond the level of previous case studies by systematically testing the new data source under a variety of environmental and archaeological conditions, as well as by employing semi-automated methods of digital image analysis that are standard tools e.g. in the earth sciences. The project has thus contributed to the development of efficient tools for archaeological prospection.

Benjamin Lambert

Mathematics and Statistics

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Postdoctoral Researcher at University College London

At the Zukunftskolleg from 09/2013 until 02/2017

Affiliated with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Project: Boundary conditions for geometric glows

Einstein’s space-time might be written from a geometric point of view (as a so-called semi-Riemannian manifold), and one tool used in trying to understand such space-times might be to consider the so-called maximal surfaces in this space. In a paper, Benjamin Lambert demonstrated that mean curvature flow (a way of deform-ing surfaces) might be used to construct maximal surfaces with certain boundary conditions.

Julia Langkau

Philosophy

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Responsibilities

Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Zürich

At the Zukunftskolleg from 09/2013 until 10/2016

Affiliated with the Department of Philosophy

Project: Emotions and fiction

One reason we engage in fiction is that we enjoy and value the emotions we experience when we read stories, watch stage plays and movies or otherwise engage in fiction. The research project was concerned with the phenomenology and epistemology of fiction-induced emotions. Her aim was to write four related but self-contained papers to be individually published in international philosophy journals. Three aspects of the project constituted a novel contribution to philosophical research on emotions and fiction. First, the discussion about intuitions has taken place within debates in methodology and epistemology, and the debate about emotions and fiction has been conducted in aesthetics and philosophy of mind. She brought the two debates closer together by showing how the debate about the epistemology of fiction-induced emotions can benefit from debates about intuitions in philosophy. Second, she showed that besides the puzzles that have been discussed in the literature, there is a further puzzle of imaginative resistance. Third, it seems that, some attention has been paid to the epistemic role of emotions. However, philosophers have not yet discussed the value of fiction-induced emotions in much detail, which she had done.

Elliott Lash

Linguistics

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Responsibilities

Research Fellow at Maynooth University, Ireland

Fellow from 05/2014 until 04/2016

Affiliated with the Department of Linguistics

Project: Subject positions in old and middle Irish

In the September 2014 issue of Lingua, his article entitled Subject Positions in Old and Middle Irish was published. This article showed through a quantitative case study on word order that despite more than a century of work on Old and Middle Irish (spoken in Ireland between 600 A.D. and 1200 A.D), the syntax of these two phases of the Irish language is far from adequately understood. The subject of the case study concentrated on the position of the subject of the sentence. While the majority of previous scholars have claimed that Irish is a Verb Subject Object (VSO) language, I showed that this pattern is too simplistic and in fact obscures a pervasive dichotomy between two distinct subject positions, distinguished by a series of adverbial particles. If instead one looked at the placement of subjects in relation to these particles, one made the following observation: While all types of subjects can appear both before and after the adverbial particles, there are certain semantic and information structural constraints on both the pre- and post-adverbial position.

Daniel Legler

Biology

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Website

Responsibilities

Professor and Group Leader at the Biotechnology Institute Thurgau, University of Konstanz, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 11/2004 until 10/2009 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Biology

Project: Migration of dendritic cells: Towards the development of an immunotherapy against cancer

The control of dendritic cell (DC) migration is pivotal for the initiation of cellular immune responses. Due to their natural features to prime naïve T cells, DCs loaded with specific antigens are currently used in vaccinations against tumors and infectious agents in clinical trials. However, DC-based immunotherapy so far is not a successful story. One major problem is the fact that antigen-loaded DCs failed to leave the injection site. He discovered that human monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MoDCs) generated under clinically approved conditions, as well as ex vivo peripheral blood (PB)DCs require prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) during maturation for efficient CCR7-mediated migration. The lack of chemotaxis could not be explained by altered chemokine receptor CCR7 expression. In a GeneChip microarray he identified a signaling molecule that is significantly regulated in MoDCs by PGE2. He has had now data providing clear evidence that human MoDCs matured in the presence of PGE2 and thus are capable to migrate dramatically up-regulated the regulator of G-protein signaling 9 (RGS9). RGS9 is a key signaling molecule in the recovery phase of visual transduction that accelerates the GTP hydrolysis of the visual G protein transducin.

Philip Leifeld

Politics and Public Administration

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Website

Responsibilities

Professor at the Dept. of Government

University of Essex, UK

At the Zukunftskolleg from 04/2013 until 09/2015

Affiliated with the Department of Politics and Public Administration

Project: Advances in discourse network analysis

Discourse Network Analysis is a methodological toolbox for the analysis of empirical political discourses. It has been applied in various research projects around the globe and meets a growing demand for a formalized analysis of text-based discourse. The methods have been implemented in a software package called "Discourse Network Analyzer" and corresponding bindings for the statistical programming environment R. The project aimed at (1) extending these methods by adapting new developments from computer science and physics and (2) applying these methods to real-world political discourses in order to understand the apparently ill-defined phenomenon of political discourse. More specifically, (a) new methods for community detection of discourse coalitions in valued graphs, (b) machine learning algorithms for the supervised, semi-automatic detection of actors’ statements, (c) procedures for the measurement of actors' loyalty to the concepts they use in a discourse over time, and (d) the systematic analysis of actors' self-contradictions over time were added to the existing toolbox of discourse network analysis, and they were made available through the Discourse Network Analyzer.

Bernard Lepetit

Biology

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Website

Responsibilities

Researcher in the Department of Biology, University of Konstanz

Fellow from 09/2013 until 03/2018

Affiliated with the Department of Biology

Project: Retrograde Signaling in Diatoms Based on the Redox State of the Plastoquinone Pool

Light signaling and photoprotection in photosynthetic eukaryotes with “green” and “red” chloroplasts: In plants and green algae (“green” plastids), as well as in red algae (“red” plastids), the chloroplasts result from an endosymbiotic incorporation of a cyanobacterium more than 1 billion years ago. The major ecologically relevant algae groups in the oceans later obtained their plastids by secondary endosymbiosis of a red alga (i.e. also containing “red” plastids). During and after the process of endosymbiosis, genes of the former cyanobacterium or the former red alga were transferred into the host cell nucleus, and only a small number of genes was retained in the plastid genome. Consequently, most of the multimeric protein complexes in a chloroplast are chimeras of proteins encoded both in the nuclear and plastidic genome. Thus, in order to adjust the photosynthetic machinery and metabolism to an optimal extent under changing light conditions, the specific amounts of these proteins have to be finely balanced, something that is performed by the plastid itself, i.e. via intra-plastidic and retrograde (plastid to nucleus) signaling pathways. Another more rapid way of avoiding cellular damage by sudden increases in light intensity is the dissipation of excessively absorbed light as heat, thus avoiding over-oxidation. This so-called NPQ process involves xanthophyll cycle pigments, Lhcsr and/or PsbS proteins. For both light signaling and NPQ, much is known about “greens” compared to “reds” and comparative studies are scarce (NPQ) or completely lacking (light signaling). Therefore, he collected and compared knowledge on “greens” and “reds” in terms of NPQ and thus pinpointed the knowledge gaps on the light responses of the ecologically very important group of algae with “red” plastids.

Shujun Li

Computer and Information Sciences

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Responsibilities

Professor of Cyber Security at the School of Computing and Director of Institute of Cyber Security for Society (iCSS), University of Kent, UK

At the Zukunftskolleg from 07/2008 until 08/2011

Affiliated with the Department of Computer Science

Project: Secure multimedia computing

Security was never taken into account in the design stage of any existing multimedia coding standard, which leads to some inevitable conflicts between multimedia coding and security tools. In this research project, he changed this trend by considering security as a major concern in the design of “secure multimedia computing” systems from a holistic point of view. He studied how to amend existing multimedia coding standards and deploy multimedia encryption techniques properly to maximize the overall performance of a joint multimedia compression-encryption system.

Anna Lipphardt

History and Sociology

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Website

Responsibilities

Professor at the University of Freiburg

At the Zukunftskolleg from 10/2008 until 10/2010

Affiliated with the Department of History and Sociology

Project: Between global desire and local angst: A cultural and social history of the circus in Germany

The project explored the cultural and social history of the circus in Germany, from its emergence in the mid-19th century to the present. How have the freedoms to move and cultural difference been negotiated and practiced in our civil society, and which functions did and do they fulfill? The interdisciplinary project has been drawn on migration studies, performance studies and spatial theory as well as on transnational history and the history of German nationalism.

Alexander Lvovsky

Physics

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Professor at the University of Oxford

At the Zukunftskolleg from 06/2001 until 06/2004 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Physics

Kirsten Mahlke

Literature

Contact

Website

Responsibilities

Professor for Cultural Theory at the University of Konstanz, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 12/2002 until 11/2008 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Literature

Project: Career, children, Constance

On the situation of raising young scientists at the University of Constance: How well family and science can be combined is still an open and much discussed question in the scientific community. Against this background, an analysis of the status quo of educating young scientists at the University of Constance has been published. With scientists in the postdoc phase, a target group was also considered for whom the question of compatibility arises in a special way due to their still pending firm establishment in the science system and the decision for or against children that is often pending in this phase.

Marilena Manea

Chemistry

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Responsibilities

Chemist at Chromsystems Instruments & Chemicals GmbH München, Germany

At the Zukunftkolleg from 06/2008 until 05/2013

Affiliated with the Department of Chemistry

Project: Development of bioconjugates as therapeutic agents for ageing-associated diseases

The risk of developing cardiovascular, neurodegenerative and metabolic disorders, that represent the main causes of death in the world, increases with age. Therefore, development of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for ageing–associated diseases is of particular interest. This work was focused on the design, synthesis and biochemical characterization of bioconjugates as potential therapeutic agents for cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, including protein expression profile of HT-29 human colon cancer cells after treatment with a cytotoxic daunorubicin-GnRH-III derivative bioconjugate.

Elisa May

Biology

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Responsibilities

Professor at the University of Konstanz

At the Zukunftskolleg from 02/2004 until 10/2007 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Biology

Project: Live cell imaging of structural and functional alterations of the nuclear pore complex in apoptosis

Judith Meinschaefer

Linguistics

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Professor at FU Berlin

At the Zukunftskolleg from 06/2001 until 06/2002 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Linguistics

Matteo Morganti

Philosophy

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Responsibilities

Associate Professor at the University of Rome

At the Zukunftskolleg from 12/2008 until 11/2010

Affiliated with the Department of Philosophy

Project: Ontology, physics and scientific realism

What do science and metaphysics tell us about the physical world out there, and in what way do these two disciplines provide us with an at least approximately true picture (if any) of the nature of things? The research project addressed this question by building upon prior work and resulted in a number of areas situated at the interface between philosophy of science, metaphysics and philosophy of physics. It aimed to further articulate metaphysical positions previously endorsed, performed a comprehensive study of properties with special emphasis on dispositions and emergent properties and applied the results to the scientific realism debate.

Frank Neuner

Psychology

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Professor at the University of Bielefeld

At the Zukunftskolleg from 12/2007 until 10/2008 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Psychology

Michael Teague O´Mara

Biology

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Website

Responsibilities

Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology Radolfzell, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 05/2013 until 12/2016

Affiliated with the Department of Biology

Project: Social foraging in fruit-eating bats: Leveraging passive information from social partners

Sociality and social interactions may be a flexible way to minimize energetic costs in an unpredictable food landscape. The use of social information at a variety of spatial and temporal scales may promote social aggregations and be a cohesive and stabilizing force of social groups. Bats are a prime taxonomic group to test how energetic pressures associated with foraging select for social behavior and information exchange, both in the roost and on the wing. In this project he used two species that are phylogenetically distant but feed on similar diets, Peters’ tent-making bat (Uroderma bilobatum) and the hammer-headed bat (Hypsignathus monstrosus), to explore how foraging for fruit and its energetic limitations have shaped social relationships, social learning, and group foraging. This project has had broad application to understanding how social behavior, sociality, and foraging are mediated by an energetic framework.

Markus Oberthaler

Physics

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Professor at the University of Heidelberg

At the Zukunftskolleg from 06/2001 until 06/2002 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Physics

Peter Öhlschläger

Biology

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Professor for Biotechnology at the FH Aachen, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 11/2007 until 08/2011 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Biology

Michael Pester

Biology

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Responsibilities

Professor for Evolutionary Systematics of Microorganisms at the Technical University Braunschweig, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 03/2014 until 08/2017

Affiliated with the Department of Biology

Project: The hidden sulfur cycle in rice paddy soil

Rice paddy fields are indispensable for human food supply but at the same time are one of the critical sources of the greenhouse gas methane. A hidden sulfur is proposed to occur in freshwater wetlands, such as rice paddy fields, that effectively cycles the various sulfur species between their oxidized and reduced states and at the same time counterbalances methane production. Dissimilatory sulfate reduction is a major process within the hidden sulfur cycle in rice paddy soil and operates at rates comparable to marine surface sediments, despite the significantly lower sulfate concentrations. As a consequence, sulfate reduction as the thermodynamically favorable process over fermentations coupled to methanogenesis diverts organic matter degradation from methane towards more carbon dioxide production. To stimulate and thus identify the responsible microorganisms, greenhouse experiments were set up where whole rice plants were grown in soil amended with gypsum (CaSO4) in amounts relevant for rice agriculture (0.15% w/w).

Achim Peters

Physics

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Professor at the HU Berlin

At the Zukunftskolleg from 04/2001 until 09/2002 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Physics

Niels Petersson

History and Sociology

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Professor at the Faculty of Development and Society at Sheffield Hallam University

At the Zukunftskolleg from 01/2003 until 11/2008 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of History and Sociology

Project: Labor movement and space. Engineers in the British Empire, c.1880-1920

The dissertation project pursued the question of what significance the space of the British Empire had for the labor movement of Great Britain and its white settlement areas in the period of debates about a political reorganization of the Empire. This was based on a multi-part concept of space: the action space describes the radius of action and, together with the communication space, also shows the limits of communicative and active action. What was interesting here was whether these spaces were equivalent to the state space or whether citizens ventured beyond its boundaries. The reference space represents the area from which comparisons are drawn in social debate. This made it possible to analyze which areas were considered to have cultural, historical or political similarities. In order to explore the problem-solving space, it was asked which space was considered for the solution of different social problems, be it the financing of social insurances by import taxes into a kind of imperial economic community (J. Chamberlain) or the creation of an empire-wide labor market (trade unions, welfare organizations).

Torsten Pietsch

Physics

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Project leader in research and development at ZEISS in Oberkochen

Fellow from 04/2013 until 03/2018

Affiliated with the Department of Physics

Project: Non-equilibrium spin- and charge transport in complex mesoscopic systems

Building miniaturized electronic devices with novel functionalities and nanoscale dimensions is one of the ultimate goals of current nanotechnology. To achieve this aim it was necessary to study, understand and control the electronic transport through complex nanoscopic systems. Substantial progress has been made over the past decades in nanofabrication and understanding the basic properties of nanostructures. However, at the interface between different materials in nanoscale systems, new quantum phenomena emerge that hold exciting, new prospects for future applications but are presently not fully understood. He proposed studying novel physical phenomena of charge- and spin-transport in nanostructured heterosystems consisting of different combinations of normal metals, ferromagnets and superconductors. These systems display a rich variety of interesting, new physical phenomena which manifest themselves in the electronic transport properties and are therefore directly accessible by electric measurements. The goal of the proposed work was to elucidate fundamental properties of mesoscopic heterojunctions under non-equilibrium conditions, which are created by exciting the system with high-frequency waves in the GHz and THz regime.

Dennis Pingen

Chemistry

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Responsibilities

Associated Fellow upon application

Affiliated with the Department of Chemistry

Project: Integrated Work-Up and Catalytic Upgrading of Microalgae Derived Oils

The iso-merizing alkoxycarbonylation has been proven to pro-duce linear difunctional compounds from algae lipids and served as a model reaction in his project. Additionally, multiple unsaturated fatty acids can be used in further reactions, such as olefin metathesis. Another approach involves the selective conversion of the multiple unsa-turated fatty acids to difunctional molecules. A selec-tive reduction of their multiple unsaturated nature to a single double bond prior to further functionalization allowed for further processing. He developed selective catalytic (transfer) hydrogenation routes with heterogeneous or homogeneous hydrogenation catalysis for this purpose. Ideally, he wanted to integrate them into a one-pot reaction together with further functionalization.

At the Zukunftskolleg since 02/2016 (former Postdoctoral Fellow)

See detailoed profile: https://scikon.uni-konstanz.de/en/persons/profile/dennis.pingen/

Publications on KOPS

Daniel Plaumann

Mathematics and Statistics

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Associate Professor at the TU Dortmund

At the Zukunftskolleg from 09/2013 until 03/2016

Affiliated with the Department od Mathematics and Statistics

Project: Convexity in real algebraic geometry

The research was concerned with questions from adjacent areas of mathematics, mainly real and classical algebraic geometry, convex geometry and convex optimisation. The unifying theme is the geometric study of convex semi-algebraic sets. A spectrahedral cone is a linear slice of the cone of real positive semidefinite matrices. Spectrahedral cones and their affine slices are the domains of semidfinite programmes in convex optimization, just as polyhedral cones (or polytopes) are the domains of classical linear programmes. Algebraic geometry enters the picture because the boundary of a semi-algebraic cone (with non-empty interior) is contained in an algebraic hypersurface. Such cones thus correspond to certain projective varieties. The spectrahedral cones fall into the bigger class of hyperbolicity cones, which were first studied in the 1950s in connection with PDE theory. It is an open problem, known as the Generalised Lax Conjecture, whether every hyperbolicity cone is in fact spectrahedral. Work towards this conjecture was one of the underlying motivations for this research proposal.

Anton Plech

Physics

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Group Leader and Deputy Department Leader at KIT - Karlsruhe Institute for Technology

At the Zukunftskolleg from 10/2002 until 11/2008

Affiliated with the Department of Physics

Project: Physics of nanomaterials

At the department of physics at the university of Konstanz, a junior research group was established in the fall of 2002 to investigate solid-state physical and chemical aspects of nanostructures, in particular nano-particles, in collaboration with SFB 513. The team led by Young Dok Kim focused on new catalytic properties of clusters and nanostructures, while the team led by Anton Plech considered nanoscale structures in strong non-equilibrium and ultra-fast relaxations. Although both junior researchers worked independently, they benefited from the exchange of ideas and the group structure. 

Maria Daniela Poli

Law

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Associate Lawyer at Arendt & Medernach, Luxembourg

Fellow from 03/2015 until 02/2017

Affiliated with the Department of Law

Project: The judicial dialogue in Europe

The increasing interdependence among different legal orders is making the role of jurisprudence ever more vital in the European constitutional space. As a conse-quence, the judicial dialogue is at the centre of scholarly debate. However, it is still an unclear concept, enveloped by a cloud of scepticism. Starting from the main point of criticism concerning the number of judicial conflicts, her research project aimed to add clarity to the concept by analysing the nature and the dimensions of the phenomenon, with particular attention paid to the importance of the homogeneity created by judges. The question was whether the current judicial pluralism can do without a hierarchical logic, substituting a dialogical logic based on a community of values. Should we, on the basis of the potential for judicial conflicts and juridical competition, speak of a “Babel of Courts”? Or should we, also on the basis of the German experience, relativize the problem of the last word and speak rather of “Courts for Babel”, which – as Sabino Cassese suggests in his book I tribunali di Babele – put order into the system?

Beatriz Puente Ballesteros

History and Sociology

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Assistant Professor at the University of Macau, China

At the Zukunftskolleg from 09/2013 until 08/2015

Affiliated with the Department of History and Sociology

Project: Court medicine in late imperial China: Variations on a theme in the history of globalisation

Her postdoctoral investigations concentrated on two innovative topics belonging to the early history of globalisation. The first analysed unknown dimensions of direct intercivilisational encounters between Jesuits, Manchus and Chinese, the second focused on a comparison of court medicine in different civilizational contexts. Both research topics were based on a thorough analysis of archival documents in Western and East-Asian languages and in full consideration of the secondary literature.

Gianluca Rastelli

Physics

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Permanent Researcher at the Italian CNR (National Research Council of Italy)

At the Zukunftskolleg from 04/2015 until 09/2020

Affiliated with the Department of Linguistics

Project: Resonantly-induced friction indriven nanomechanical systems

In vibrational systems, viscous friction is often called linear friction, to distinguish it from nonlinear friction. In his work, he proposed a new mechanism of friction in resonantly-driven vibrational systems. The form of the friction force is the result of the respective time- and spatial-symmetry arguments. He considered a microscopic mechanism of this resonant force in nanomechani-cal systems. The friction can be negative, leading to the instability of forced vibrations of a nanore-sonator and the onset of self-sustained oscillations in the rotating frame. He discussed the local heating as a possible microscopic mechanism that generates such an unusual form of friction. In conclusion, he unveiled this unknown mechanism of dissipation. His findings represent a breakthrough in the physics of nonlinear resonators and elastic medium.This work was completed in collaboration with Professor Mark Dykman (Michigan State University), Senior Fellow of the Zukunftskolleg since June 2018.

See detailed profile: scikon.uni-konstanz.de

Philip Rathgeb

Politics and Public Administration

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Lecturer (Assistant Professor)

School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh

At the Zukunftskolleg from 02/2018 until 08/2021

Affiliated with the Department of Politics and Public Administration

Project: When Populism Meets Government: The Social Policy Impact of the Radical Right in Europe

His current research project investigates how radical right parties influence the reform trajectories of European welfare states, i.e. their social policy impact. It was awarded a research grant (2019-2023) from the German Research Foundation (DFG). He is also interested in the role of European integration in shaping labour markets and welfare systems as well as the political reactions of Social democratic parties to the rise of radical right parties. His work has been awarded the Kurt W. Rothschild Award for economic journalism and research, the Theodor Körner Prize for outstanding early career researchers, the Science Award and the Innovation Award of the Austrian Chamber of Labour.
His book entitled "Strong Governments, Precarious Workers: Labor Market Policy in the Era of Liberalization" was published with Cornell University Press (date of publication: December 15, 2018).

Henning Reetz

Linguistics

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Professor at the Goethe University of Frankfurt

At the Zukunftskolleg from 06/2001 until 06/2005 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Linguistics

Sven Reichardt

History and Sociology

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Professor at the University of Konstanz

At the Zukunftskolleg from 11/2007 until 10/2011 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of History and Sociology

Project: Studies on social and cultural history of the federal republic of Germany

The left-wing alternative milieu of the 1970s was primarily constituted by the subjective self-descriptions and lifestyles of its historical actors. Taking up this cultural constitution of the research object, the self-representations, value horizons, socio-cultural forms of communication and social imprints (education, age, economic living situation) of this milieu, which saw itself as "alternative," was examined. Specifically, six elements of left-alternative culture were examined: First, the ideas and practice of partner relationships ("relationship boxes"); second, the ideal and reality of living in shared apartments; third, episodic communal spaces (pubs, children's stores); fourth, the treatment of the body (hygiene and clothing, health and drugs, sexuality); fifth, the psycho-scene; and finally, sixth, the creative ideas and practices of this milieu (film and theater groups, do-it-yourself craft culture, and the alternative press).

Karsten Rinke

Biology

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Head of Department of Lake Research at Helmholtz-Zentrum for Environmental Research, Magdeburg

At the Zukunftskolleg from 10/2008 until 09/2013

Affiliated with the Department of Biology

Project: Modelling spatial and temporal dynamics of lake ecosystems in a changing world

To achieve a quantitative assessment of the manifold effects the projected global change will have on aquatic ecosystems, the application of complex models is an appropriate measure. The intended aim of the proposed Zukunftskolleg “LakeMod” was to apply an ecosystem model for investigating the impacts of global change on ecosystem Project outline Zukunftskolleg LakeMod 2 of 15 functioning of lakes in the temperate zone. This model system necessarily required the inclusion of several components that are linked to each other by mechanistic processes. A hydrodynamic submodel is mandatory for simulating vertical mixing within the water column and the thermodynamic budget on basis of meteorological forcing factors (wind velocity, air temperature, etc.). This physical model essentially needed to be linked to an ecological model, whose structural design should mirror the complexity inherent in the architecture of lake ecosystems. The latter included the major components of the food web (e.g. phyto-, zooplankton), associated nutrient dynamics, sediment-water interactions, and the microbial loop. Finally, the model system required an interface in order to account for catchment-mediated processes like nutrient import or dilution rates. LakeMod implemented a complex ecological model system for Lake Constance, which was used as a typical example of large lakes within the temperate zone. This paved the way for a mechanistic and comprehensive simulation of ecosystem dynamics and enabled us to derive scientifically based projections of the ecosystems state in a changing environment according to the expected global change.

Tanja Rinker

Linguistics

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Professor for “German as a Foreign Language / Didactics of German as a Second Language” at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 06/2009 until 09/2017

Affiliated with the Department of Linguistics

Project: Turkish-German children with and without Specifi­c Language Impairment (SLI)

The Mismatch Negativity (MMN), a component of the auditory event-related potential, is particularly suited to investigate child populations as it can be elicited outside the focus of attention. Previous studies have shown that the MMN is sensitive to differences in auditory discrimination between language impaired and typically developed children as well as to phonetic differences between native and non-native. 6-8% of all children are affected by SLI, therefore it must be assumed that 6-8% of all multilingual children are affected by SLI as well. In Germany, the largest group of multilingual children are Turkish-German. The aim of the study was to disentangle multilingualism and SLI in Turkish-German on the neurophysiological level. To this end, the study compared Turkish-German children with and without SLI with German children with and without SLI using Mismatch Negativity (MMN), a component of the auditory eventrelated potential. It was planned to employ three different MMN-paradigms: A frequency discrimination paradigm, a vowel discrimination paradigm, and a vowel harmony violation paradigm.

Antonio Rotolo

History and Sociology

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Founder and CEO of Ludwig.guru

At the Zukunftskolleg from 04/2014 until 01/2017

Affiliated with the Department of History and Sociology

Project: From archaeology to technology

Ludwig (the name of the project) is a linguistic search engine to search for and solve linguistic doubts. It helps to turn ideas into well-written texts and makes everyone a more confident writer. It is designed thought for non-native English users (especially for researchers) and everyone can use it for free at www.ludwig.guru. Rotolo and his team publicly released Ludwig in February 2016 and have kept growing since then. They have helped more than 180,000 people thus far, from more than 180 countries. Ludwig has been featured in a number of high-level media outlets all over the globe: TechCrunch (USA and Japan), Huffington Post (Italy, France, Maghreb, Arabi, Canada, Greece), Genk (Vietnam), YourStory and The Hindu Times (India), and La Stampa (Italy) among others.

Paraskevi Salamaliki

Economics

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Research Fellow at the University of Patras

At the Zukunftskolleg from 09/2013 until 08/2015

Affiliated with the Department of Economics

Project: Economic policy uncertainty and real economic activity

Economic policy uncertainty and its role in macroeconomic performance has been intensely discussed in recent years, taking off after the work of Bloom (2009), especially after the Great Recession, and throughout the subsequent "not-so-great" or slow recovery. Policy-related economic uncertainty was considered to be at historically high levels during these years, both in the US and in Europe, while evidence arises that correlates increased policy uncertainty with the observed slow recovery of the US economy (Baker, Bloom and Davis 2012; Baker, Bloom and Davis 2013). One of her research projects during the year 2014 focused on the effects of economic policy uncertainty (EPU) on US real economic aggregates, such as output (proxied by industrial production) and employment. The EPU index she employed was recently constructed by Baker, Bloom and Davis (2013). This index is considered to be a measure (proxy) of movements in policy-related economic uncertainty over time, while the EPU index, by nature, might be related to uncertainty about fiscal, monetary or regulatory conditions.

Walter Salzburger

Biology

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Associate Professor at the University of Basel

At the Zukunftskolleg from 06/2005 until 06/2006 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Biology

Project: DNA sequencing of 4,000 gene segments of the East African cichlid Astatotilapia burtoni

Samuel Schindler

Philosophy

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Associate Professor at Aarhus University

At the Zukunftskolleg from 07/2009 until 09/2011

Affiliated with the Department of Philosophy

Project: Towards a new epistemology of science

In the philosophy of science, many believe that the discovery of phenomena and the establishment of physical effects almost exclusively belong to the domain of experimental science. Although theory is thought to figure indirectly in this process—e.g. broadly as ‘background knowledge’, in the form of statistical theory, or in the design of instruments—it is considered not to play a direct role here. That is, a theory’s ‘predictions’ about particular phenomena are not seen to contribute to their being established as genuine phenomena. It is this assumption which he wanted to challenge in his project. But why should the theoretical support for a phenomenon be necessary for its acceptance as an actual phenomenon? He wanted to explore at least three possibilities: (i) a theory whose predictions about other phenomena has raised our confidence in the correctness of its predictions to such an extent that we might tend to reject experimental results that do not support the predictions of this theory; (ii) similarly, we might trust the predictions of a theory because the theory is well‐integrated with other theories which are well supported; (iii) lastly and most controversially, we might trust the predictions of our theories and dismiss evidence that cannot be accounted for by those theories because they exhibit particular theoretical virtues like elegance and ‘beauty’.

Nina Schneider

History and Sociology

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Research group leader at Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research, Duisburg, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 02/2013 until 01/2015

Affiliated with the Department of History and Sociology

Project: Brazilian propaganda: Legitimizing an authoritarian regime

Her most important publication in 2014 was her first book: Brazilian Propaganda: Legitimizing an Authoritarian Regime (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2014). Based on her PhD thesis and supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), the University of Essex, and the Zukunftskolleg, Brazilian Propaganda examined the various channels of official and unofficial propaganda during the authoritarian regime in Brazil. While numerous studies have examined censorship and cultural resistance in authoritarian Latin America, the official propaganda of the Cold War period remained understudied. With regard to Brazil in particular, the book was the first study in the English language and the only comprehensive study, ranging from the intentions of the propagandists to the reception of the regime’s campaigns.

Matthias Schöning

Literature

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PD Lecturer at the University of Konstanz

At the Zukunftskolleg from 12/2003 until 12/2008 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Literature

Sebastian Schutte

Politics and Public Administration

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Senior Researcher at the Dept. Conditions of Violence and Peace

Peace Research Institute Oslo, Norway

Fellow since 06/2014 until 12/2018

Affiliated with the Department of Politics and Public Administration

Project: Running electronic surveys in civil conflicts

In 2016, he was able to continue his research on conflict escalations at the Zukunftskolleg. The German Foundation for Peace Research (DSF) decided to generously support this research by funding a series of electronic surveys which was conducted in low-intensity conflict areas. The rationale behind the surveys was simple: Respondents are asked about their experiences with out-groups; exposure to political violence; and sentiments toward other ethnic and religious groups in three survey waves. By keeping track of how individuals experience conflict processes over time, important lessons can be learned, for instance how conflicts over political issues fuel hatred between communities. This type of conflict escalation from a struggle over issues to a fight between identities has not yet been studied systematically. Understanding the driving forces behind conflict escalations might pave the way for developing political intervention strategies.

Denis Seletskiy

Physics

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Assistant Professor in Engineering Physics at École Polytechnique de Montréal, Canada

At the Zukunftskolleg from 09/2013 until 04/2017

Affiliated with the Department of Physics

Project: Ultrafast spectroscopy of the laser cooling cycle in bulk and quantum-confined condensed matter systems

This project was set to develop novel experimental platform designed for high sensitivity measurements of ultrafast light-matter interactions in bulk and quantum-confined condensed matter systems. The focus of the study was to elucidate the coupling mechanisms between the internal degrees of freedom of a solid, i.e. address the intrinsic quantum nature of the many-body interactions, especially focusing on the unexplored region of below-bandgap excitations. This interest was motivated by the possibility to control the annihilation rate of solid-state lattice vibration quanta, in other words, to optically induce cooling of the condensed matter system as a whole. The overarching aim of the project was to harness quantum interactions for practical applications such as optically-pumped all-solid-state mesoscopic cryocooler.

Ilja Serzants

Linguistics

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Responsibilities

Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Leipzig

At the Zukunftskolleg from 02/2013 until 01/2015

Affiliated with the Department of Linguistics

Project: Diachronic and areal typology of the differential argument marking (dato)

Grammatical relations (such as subject and object) and their realizations lie at the heart of all current theoretical models in linguistics, not least the typological approach to language. Differential marking of grammatical relations have been the topic of several European and American research projects. In spite of the overwhelming weight the grammatical relations play in the current linguistic research, no large-scale, comprehensive study of the historical development of the differential case-marking strategies has been carried out yet. The DATO project aimed at filling this gap. Its task was to uncover the multi-factorial mechanisms leading to the rise of the differential argument marking, more specifically, to the Differential Subject- (DSM) and the Differential Object Marking (DOM). The project was designed to contribute to and to profit from the research on DOM and argument realization carried out at the Department of Linguistics, Division for Romance Linguistics (cf., inter alia, the publications by von Heusinger and Kaiser 2007, 2011), research on case and the diachronic aspects thereof at the Department for Theoretical and Computational Linguistics (cf. work by Miriam Butt, passim).

Minmin Shen

Computer and Information Science

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Applied Scientist Amazon.com Inc., USA

At the Zukunftskolleg from 09/2013 until 02/2017

Affiliated with the Department of Computer and Information Science

Project: Single-image insect pose estimation by graph-based geometric models and random forests

Automated image-based tracking and pose estimation is receiving increasing interest from both the biology and the computer science community, as developments in this area enable remote quantification and an understanding of individual behavior that was previously impossible. They proposed a new method for detailed insect pose estimation which aims to detect landmarks like the tips of an insect’s antennae and mouthparts from a single image. They formulated this problem as inferring a mapping from the appearance of an insect to its corresponding pose. They presented a unified framework that jointly learns a mapping from the local appearance and the global ana-tomical structure (silhouette) of an insect to its corresponding pose. Their main contribution was that they proposed a data-driven approach for learning the geometric prior for modeling various insects’ appearance. Combined with the discriminative power of the random forests (RF) model, their method achieved high precision landmark localization. They were evaluating this approach using three challenging datasets of insects which we were made publicly available. Experiments show that it achieved improvements over the traditional RF regression method and precision comparable to human annotators.

Ulrich Sieberer

Politics and Public Administration

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Professor of Empirical Political Science at the University of Bamberg
Director of Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences (BAGSS)

Fellow from 01/2011 until 07/2016

Affiliated with the Department of Politics and Public Administration

Project: The politics of portfolio design in Germany

His research project, “The Politics of Portfolio Design” (funded by the Young Scholar Fund at the University of Konstanz), pursued the first systematic analysis of the politics of portfolio design in the Federal Republic of Germany since 1949. The project mapped the development of cabinet portfolios, i.e. the creation, merger and abolition of ministries as well as all shifts in jurisdictions between them; developed a rational choice theoretical explanation for such reforms and assessed the effects of portfolio design on policy processes and outcomes. The article conceptualized reforms of portfolio design as the outcome of a distributive conflict between coalition partners during coalition formation and investigates which ministries profit from such reforms.

Aline Steinbrecher

History

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Responsibilities

Lecturer, Histroisches Seminar,

University of Zurich, Switzerland

At the Zukunftskolleg from 06/2013 until 01/2018

Affiliated with the Department of History

Project: More than human history

Her research seeked to expand our understanding of history by refusing to limit it to the human species. It questioned further our understanding of history, and its separation from natural history. Considering animals as beings with an influence on historical development led us to (re)write a new history of animals and of people. This (re)writing arised from a thorough (re)-interpretation of sources as well as a theoretical and methodological (re)organization of the role of animals. Empirically her research focused on the dog-human relationship in the early modern period. One of her aims was to establish international animal studies, and particularly animal history, in the German-speaking region. In 2014, together with Clemens Wischermann (Konstanz, Department of History) and Gesine Krüger (Zürich, Department of History), she therefore edited the volume: “Tiere und Geschichte.”

Margarita Stolarova

Psychology

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Group Leader for Childhood Education at German Youth Institute, Munich

At the Zukunftskolleg from 12/2009 until 05/2015

Affiliated with the Department of Psychology

Project: Emotional development in early day care settings: The professional caregivers’ role in modulating children’s stress response

Increasing the availability of early non-parental care in Germany and thus enabling young professionals to combine parenthood with career development has become a major political goal in the past few years. The University of Konstanz also recognized the need for action and has built an on-campus child care center. The goal of her postdoctoral research has been to contribute to the conceptual creation of this child care center. In applying existing empirical and theoretical evidence to a concept for early child care and education and attempting to ensure high quality day care in this concrete facility, she has encountered a series of unanswered questions. She addressed some of them in the next phase of her scientific research, concentrating on the well-being and the emotional development of young children in early non-parental day care. She focused on the relationship between the sensitivity of the caregiver as a modulating factor of children’s stress response. In the long term, the goal of her scientific work was to improve the quality of care provided to young children and thus aid their healthy development, specifically by extending the acquired knowledge and interventions to low-quality care settings, such as orphanage institutions.

Stephan Streuber

Computer and Information Sciences

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Professor (W2) for “Usability Engineering und User Interface Design in the area of Visual Computing" at Coburg University of applied sciences and arts, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg since 06/2019 (former Research Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Computer and Information Science

Project: Studying Collective Behavior using Virtual Reality

Many social phenomena emerging in human (and non-human) collectives - from the interpersonal coordination of bodily movements and internal states (e.g. intentions, emotions, thought) to the evolution of social norms, culture or language - are not yet well understood and they are difficult to model. These phenomena often emerge within a complex social context of a network of simultaneously interacting agents. Therefore, a key to understanding collective behavior is to understand how individuals operate in the context of other agents. Most current experimental paradigms used in social psychology and social neurosciences do not provide an interactive social context. For instance, psychophysical or neuroimaging paradigms require participants to respond to non-interactive social stimuli presented on a computer screen. Researchers have raised concerns about the ecological validity of using non-interactive experimental paradigms to study social interactions. Here we propose the development of a new experimental paradigm to study collective behavior under interactive, immersive, close to natural and controlled experimental conditions using Virtual Reality (VR).

Daniel Summerer

Chemistry

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Professor at the University of Dortmund

At the Zukunftskolleg from 01/2011 until 08/2015

Affiliated with the Department of Chemistry

Project: Chemical epigenetics: Expanding the programmability of DNA recognition

An adult human consists of more than 200 different cell types. All these cells essentially contain the same genomes. Their different characteristics are determined by the regulation of gene expression. How the transcription of genes is controlled by epigenetic mechanisms, and how this process can be explored and influenced, was Daniel Summerer’s field of research. The Summerer Group developed chemical-biological tools which make it possible to study epigenetic mechanisms, but which also hold potential to be directly applicable in diagnostics and treatments. Through the molecular modification of so-called TALEs (transcription-activator-like effectors), Daniel Summerer succeeded in constructing receptors with an expanded programmability of DNA recognition.

Edina Szöcsik

Politics and Public Administration

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Senior Research Fellow at the University of Basel

At the Zukunftskolleg from 09/2013 until 05/2015

Affiliated with the Department of Politics and Public Administration

Project: European Integration and electoral politics in Central and Eastern Europe

Electoral competition in the democratizing multinational Habsburg Empire (July 21-22, 2014): Together with Philip J. Howe (Adrian College, MI) and Christina Zuber (University of Bremen), she organized a scientific retreat at the Zukunftskolleg to kick-off a new research project on the mobilization of ethnonational identity categories through electoral competition in the Habsburg Empire. The main goal of the project was to analyze how ethnonational identity interacts with other social identity categories and influences the patterns of electoral competition. The objective of their study was to explain the success and the positioning of parties that sought to represent ethnonational groups in the “Austrian” half of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy ("Cisleithania"), which today corresponds to parts of Eastern, Central, and Southeastern Europe. This case provided an excellent opportunity to examine the effects of ethnonational divisions on political behavior in a variety of institutional and demographic contexts, since it gradually implemented universal manhood suffrage between 1885 –1911, and was characterized by extreme ethno-national heterogeneity. In addition, ethnonational identity categories were only a few among other politicized social identity categories, such as class and religion, that influenced the outcomes of electoral competition.

Jolene Tan

Psychology

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Senior User Researcher at N26

Fellow from 06/2018 until 01/2019

Affiliated with the Department of Psychology

Project: New perspectives on social trust and its role in cooperation

Social trust is considered fundamental to a well-functio-ning society and is studied extensively across the social sciences. However, it is still unknown how social trust interacts with other factors to produce specific decisions about cooperative actions. In her research, she focused on the psychological aspects of social trust by viewing it as an assessment of the base rate of benevolent versus male-volent agents in the social environment and investigating how it influences decisions about forgiveness and revenge.. In July 2018, she presented her research at the 30th Annual Meeting of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society in Amsterdam, giving a talk on "Baker's Town: A novel game to test theories and models of cooperation".

Attila Tanyi

Philosophy

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Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy, University of Tromsø, Norway

At the Zukunftskolleg from 2010 until 2013

Affiliated with the Department of Philosophy

Project: Morality and overdemandingness? The case for authority

The project assessed the truth of the Overdemandingness Objection (OD) according to which the view that the right thing to do is what produces the best results from an impersonal point of view - the view called consequentialism - is unacceptably demanding. The project is divided into two parts. The first part attempted to show that one neglected way to counter OD is by arguing that moral demands do not generate overriding reasons in a conflict with non-moral reasons. The second part of the research added to this another neglected way to tackle OD. By building on the strong relation between institutions and moral demands, it examined the possibility of constraining the demands of consequentialism through the institutional framework. In its style of reasoning, this is a moral enterprise, but in its significance it is also political: in an imperfect world, the demands of consequentialism, thus the significance of OD as a response to these demands, have overwhelming practical implications. Although the project employed results from several fields, hence in this sense it was interdisciplinary, its method was purely analytical and required no empirical or scientific means to proceed. To achieve its objectives, the project built upon the findings of his doctoral and postdoctoral research. In addition, elements of the project have been discussed in international conferences, seminars and workshops.

Margaret Thomas

Mathematics and Statistics

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Assistant Professor at the Department of Mathematics at the Purdue University, USA

Affiliated with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics

At the Zukunftskolleg from 01/2011 until 03/2018

Project: Parameterization and algebraic points in o-minimal structures

This research project proposed to make significant progress towards an open conjecture of transcendental number theory, together with several related problems, developing the techniques necessary for this analysis and exploring the applicability of those techniques in other areas. The methods proposed were drawn from real geometry, model theory and the study of certain systems of differential equations. The conjecture was one proposed by Wilkie which gave a significant improvement in the known bound on the density of algebraic points lying on the transcendental parts of sets definable in the real exponential field. These sets are those subsets of the real numbers which can be described using only the ordered field language together with the exponential function. Algebraic points are those whose coordinates each satisfy a polynomial equation. The algebraic part of a set may contain many algebraic points and she restricted her attention to its complement, the transcendental part. She had a notion of the height of an algebraic point and could therefore estimate how many algebraic points of a given height there are lying on the transcendental part of particular set, providing a measure of the density of algebraic points by assessing how this quantity of points varied as the height increases.

Andreas Stephan Thum

Biology

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Professor for Genetics at University of Leipzig

At the Zukunftskolleg from 09/2011 until 07/2017

Affiliated with the Department of Biology

Project: Mapping the brain

As part of her doctoral thesis, Katharina Eichler, a doctoral student under his supervision, has for the first time ever described the mushroom body connectome within the brain of fly larvae (Drosophila melanogaster). This constituted a significant development in understanding the brain: The brain‘s mushroom body is also its memory centre, in which sensory information is collected and memory is stored. It is therefore essential for understanding the brain. Not only were they able to completely reconstruct this crucial component of the brain, but they also documented the existence of new circuit connection patterns between individual cells. The examination of this circuit was instrumental in guiding future research on how the brain learns new things and then stores them as memories. The research represented a significant contribution towards the overall aim of the international collaboration project led by Dr. Albert Cardona from the Janelia Research Campus: to create a complete wiring diagram of the entire brain of Drosophila larvae. Researchers in more than 20 labs around the world are collaborating to recon-struct all of the 10,000 nerve cells.

Alexander Titz

Chemistry

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Professor for Organic and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research, Saarbrücken

At the Zukunftskolleg from 10/2010 until 07/2013

Affiliated with the Department of Chemistry

Project: Probing carbohydrate protein interactions with small molecules

Borbála Zsuzsanna Török

History and Sociology

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Lise Meitner Position at the Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies

University of Vienna, Austria

Affiliated with the Department of History and Sociology

At the Zukunftskolleg from 06/2009 until 06/2017

Project: Academic reform and knowledge transfer in Hungary at the end of the eighteenth century (1768-1830)

The project focused on the consequences of state managed university reform in the second half of the ‘long eighteenth century’ (1768-1830) on the transformation, development and modernization of university education and local scholarly activities of Hungarian scientists and scholars. Looking at the University of Buda, later Pest (former Jesuit university in Nagyszombat/ Sl.Tyrnava, f. 1635) in a larger urban environment, the project analysed knowledge transfer and validation in a comparative perspective. To what extent was the new type of knowledge a vehicle for social mobility and even of economic improvement? The question was a vital one not only for our histories of the modernization of traditional societies, but also for current policy on today’s integration of the East-Central European region into a globalizing ‘knowledge-based society.’

Tilman Triphan

Biology

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Researcher at the Department of Genetics at Leipzig University

At the Zukunftskolleg from 02/2016 until 01/2018

Affiliated with the Department of Biology

Project: Mechanisms of motor control and decision making in Drosophila

Different mutant fly lines fail the climbing task in a variety of telling ways. In his earlier inactivation screen through 2415 lines with different neuronal expression patterns he has identified 729 lines that show quantitative or qualitative differences in climbing behavior. Of these, 487 lines showed a generally reduced climbing probability or a higher chance for critical failures. On the other hand, a total of 242 lines showed an increased rate of climbing attempts or even higher success rates at the very broad gaps. On the basis of his preparatory screen he wished to unravel the mechanisms underlying decision making.

Thomas Voigtmann

Physics

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Professor at the University of Düsseldorf and Head of Theory and Simulation of Soft Matter Research Group, Cologne, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 04/2009 until 09/2014

Affiliated with the Department of Physics

Project: Transport processes in melts under external fields

The project aimed to provide insight into the flow and arrest behavior of dense non-equilibrium fluids under external forces and external flow fields. Starting from microscopic mechanisms, he addressed how the macroscopic behavior changes under such conditions. In particular, the non-Newtonian fluid behavior and the dynamical arrest close to a glass transition were studied: how does the dense fluid flow, and which external forces can the solidified system resist before yielding? Understanding the microscopic transport processes in dense viscous and viscoelastic fluids and how kinetic phenomena on the micro-scale transcede to macroscopic material properties, is crucial for the study of complex fluids, with applications ranging from casting alloys and solidifying metallic melts to the development of new meso-structured materials. The dynamics of the fluid often is significantly slowed down as compared to ordinary simple liquids, owing to highly nonlinear, collective relaxation phenomena. These are responsible for orders-of-magnitude changes in transport coefficients such as viscosity or diffusion.

Sonja von Aulock

Biology

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Editor in Chief at ALTEX (edited by the Swiss Society ALTEX Edition)

At the Zukunftskolleg from 11/2007 until 01/2011 (former ZWN Fellow)

Affiliated with the Department of Biology

Project: Inflammatory reactions in the lung

Microbial contamination of the air we breathe is considered a cause of a number of occupational diseases. Bacteria and mold spores are small enough to be inhaled into the alveoli. However, if the exposure is too high or the immune cells' defenses are compromised, acute or chronic lung diseases may result. In the present project, different cells of the lung (alveolar macrophages, epithelial cells, and endothelial cells) were exposed to a number of stressors, i.e. different species of bacteria and molds, and their microbial toxins. This involved investigating which cells respond with defense reactions and how these differ in response to the different stimuli. This work was funded within the Marie Curie Research Training Network "Pulmo-Net".

Nadir Weber

History and Sociology

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Head of a SNF-Ambizione project at the Historical Institute, University of Bern

Fellow from 02/2016 until 03/2018

Affiliated with the Department of History

Project: A tamed society? Interspecies interactions at the royal court of France, 1594-1715

His project aimed to reconstruct patterns and representations of interactions between humans and animals at early modern princely courts. Using a commu-nication-centred approach, he was analysing the everyday encounters of kings and nobles with companion species such as horses and dogs, but also exotic animals and game animals, as an integral part of court life. In December 2016, he co-organised an international conference entitled Animals at Court in Munich, which brought together specialists from different disciplines to discuss on the subject; a book resulting from the papers of the conference was published. In July 2017, he co-organised a workshop on new methodological developments in the history of human-animal relations, the Forum Tiere und Geschichte, which was held at the University of Konstanz and which was supported by the Zukunftskolleg. In his personal research, he has begun to concentrate more specifically on the lives and social roles of falcons and hawks at early modern courts – birds that were caught in the wild, tamed, and trained to serve as the rulers’ hunting assistants.

Nils Weidmann

Politics and Public Administration

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Professor at the University of Konstanz

At the Zukunftskolleg from 02/2013 until 01/2015

Affiliated with the Department of Politics and Public Administration

Project: Twitter rebellions? Communication technology, mass protest and democratization

Both a political scientist and computer scientist, Weidmann was working with doctoral and undergraduate students on his project “Twitter Rebellion? Communication Technology, Mass Protest and Democratization”, which aimed to understand the relationship between Internet access and revolution in non-democratic countries. This involved a two-step process. First, Weidmann’s team was creating a database that contained all the protest events of the last few years, including date and location. At the same time, they were measuring local Internet activity in different countries around the world. As Weidmann explained, the method itself presented great challenges: “In democratic countries there are good statistics available on Internet access, but in the countries we are looking at this kind of data is either not collected or not released.” The solution? Weidmann was collaborating with computer scientists at the ETH Zurich who have developed a method for remotely measuring Internet access in other countries.

Nathan Weisz

Psychology

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Professor at the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience

University of Salzburg, Austria

Fellow from 08/2008 until 01/2012

Affiliated with the Department of Psychology

Project: Large-scale oscillatory brain activity: From normal to phantom perceptions

Synchronous neuronal activity has been related to higher-order processes such as perception and selective attention mainly in studies of visual information processing. Recently he has conducted a series of works extending this concept to auditory processing, focusing on auditory percepts, including tinnitus. He could show that this distressing sensation is a) related to an altered spontaneous activity pattern at rest, b) can be modulated by manipulating this pattern and c) brain regions involved in emotional and attentional processing are more strongly synchronized the more distressing the phantom sound. A model was proposed by the PI, which could be applied to tinnitus but covers a broader conceptual frame as it described how synchronized brain activity might underlie/ code sensory perception in general and which factors were able to modulate this activity. The project shaded light on how sensory processing is based on macroscopic neuronal activity.

Leila Whitley

Literature

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Lecturer in Critical Gender Studies University of California, USA

Fellow from 03/2016 until 2018

Affiliated with the Department of Literature

Project: Feminist researchers across borders

In the 2017|18 academic year, she launched the research net-work Feminist Researchers Across Borders. Working with colleagues based in the US, Canada and Greece, she organised two international workshops to bring scholars working in this research area together. The first of these workshops was hosted at the Zukunftskolleg in summer 2017, and included the public plenary 'Welcome Refugees: Feminist Speculations from Canada to Germany.' The second event was hosted in Athens, Greece in autumn 2017. To fund these two events, they were supported by the Zukunftskolleg, which then enabled her to apply for and secure a larger grant through the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Her collaborators and she gathered the research presented and developed across these two events into a special edited issue of Refuge: Canada's Journal of Forced Migration. The issue thematically examined intersectional feminist interventions in the 'refugee crisis' and was published in June 2018. The research network continued to provide infrastructure and support to her larger research project at the Zukunfts-kolleg, which worked to develop a feminist and critical race theory-driven account of bordering and migration.

Filip Wojciechowski

Chemistry

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Research Scientist GL Chem Tech, Oakville, ON, Canada

At the Zukunftskolleg from 02/2013 until 04/2014

Affiliated with the Department of Chemistry

Project: Spin-labelled guanine nucleosides for the study of telomeric quadruplex structures

G-quadruplex structures are thought to play an important role in protecting the chromosomal ends and in cell maintenance. An understanding of the folding of human telomeric G-quadruplexes at the end of the chromosomes in vivo and their formed structures under physiological conditions could result in a rational-based drug design. EPR spectroscopy is ideally suited to elucidate this structure under physiological conditions. To achieve this new nitroxide spin labels with increased intracellular stability and new spin labelled guanine nucleosides are needed. The proposed research relied on chemical synthesis of the required building blocks and oligonucleotides, followed by biophysical studies using PAGE, circular dichroism (CD), and EPR spectroscopy in buffered solutions and in a cell.

Dominik Wöll

Chemistry

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Junior Professor for Spectroscopy of Condensed Matter at the RWTH Aachen University, Germany

At the Zukunftskolleg from 09/2008 until 09/2014

Affiliated with the Department of Chemistry

Project: Dynamics of polymer networks, their formation and degradation on the molecular level

The main focus of this project was to study, on the molecular level, the motion of dye molecules during the formation of crosslinked polymers and in the resulting networks. For this purpose he applied single molecule spectroscopy techniques such as fluorescence correlation spectroscopy and wide-field microscopy. Single dye molecules were used as probes for detecting the freedom of molecules to move within the developing polymer network and for visualizing the microstructure of the produced material. Translational and rotational diffusion were investigated as they can be used to probe different network densities. Special attention was drawn to heterogeneities on the molecular scale developing during network formation. Translation and rotation are abundant in loose networks or at early stages of polymerization. However, as the network becomes denser, translation were subsequently slown down and the molecules did only have enough space to rotate. Eventually, as the network became still denser, rotation also froze and the motion of the molecules stopped completely. He observed the opposite process during the degradation of polymers, a process which was also elucidated by his techniques. Furthermore, hydrogels that have considerable practical significance e.g. in contact lenses and plastic implants, were investigated. The dynamics related to their swelling behaviour, which is rather poorly understood at present, was of particular interest. Structural characterization of the systems is essential and was primary done by IR and Raman spectroscopy.