Autumn Academy 2017

The Herbstakademie Osnabrück has existed since 2002 as a collaboration between four high schools in the Osnabrück region, the University of Osnabrück, and now also the Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences, with the aim of promoting particularly gifted and motivated students in the upper grades. The young people from the four high schools, as well as from (currently) four other guest high schools, are introduced to topics in their chosen course that cannot be offered in this way at school. In addition to the promotion as such, a particular attraction for the participating young people is the great variety of topics offered from a wide range of scientific fields, which often do not follow the mainstream or the usual school subjects. In addition, selected students will have the opportunity to prepare and accompany the courses in a research-oriented atmosphere together with the lecturers and teachers and thus to get to know a special format in the field of research-based learning. In addition, they can gain experience in different evaluation procedures (e.g. accompanying observation, questioning). The Friedel & Gisela Bohnenkamp Foundation supports the Fall Academy from 2017 to 2019.

A call for bold thinking

Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker discussed with high school students at the 2017 Fall Academy in Osnabrück


Osnabrück, September 12, 2017


Calling for more courage to use one's own mind, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c.. Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker called on his audience in Osnabrück Castle. The co-president of the Club of Rome was a guest at the opening event of this year's Autumn Academy. In the auditorium of the University of Osnabrück, he had discussed the future of our planet with 130 senior high school students from the Osnabrück region. Beforehand, he had presented the latest report to the Club of Rome under the title "On the way to a new enlightenment 2.0 fit for grandchildren". The book "It's Our Turn" will be published in October this year, the occasion being the 50th anniversary of the Club of Rome in 2018.

Some of the young guests gladly made use of the invitation of the natural scientist and politician. One student, for example, asked about possibilities for concrete implementation of the ideas from the report to the Club of Rome. A young Muslim woman objected to von Weizsäcker's statements about the Koran. The renowned scientist answered the questions in detail for the most part - but also pointed out when he was sometimes unable to give an answer, thereby also showing that science and knowledge are things that have to grow. "I am pleased that the students showed how much thought they put into the future of the Earth. I am especially pleased that they are also expressing these thoughts publicly," said Michael Prior after the event as spokesman for the Education Network. The network provides organizational support for the Autumn Academy.

The annual Autumn Academy promotes particularly gifted and motivated students. This is the goal of a collaboration between eight high schools in the region and the University and University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück. With applied projects, they gain their first insights into the workings of universities and universities of applied sciences. In addition, they learn how to deal with a topic scientifically under expert guidance. "At the Autumn Academy, they can develop new ideas and experience their environment," said Prof. Dr. Joachim Härtling, Vice President for Studies and Teaching at the university, in his welcoming address at the start of the event. Over three days during the fall break, young participants in 13 small groups will tackle questions from food science, history, systems science, social work, biology, art and other sciences. The courses have titles such as "Experimental Ethics" or "Water - Easy to Pollute, Hard to Clean." Financially, the Fall Academy is supported by the Friedel & Gisela Bohnenkamp Foundation.

The students prepared seriously for their encounter with Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker and developed questions. For example, they watched the movie "Still an Inconvenient Truth" by Al Gore in the cinema and included their impressions in their list of questions. Von Weizsäcker was not the only one who presented his thoughts on protecting the environment. Climate researcher Prof. Dr. Hartmut Graßl and auxiliary bishop Johannes Wübbe, Osnabrück, also spoke. The Autumn Academy is organized by Reinhardt Fulge, former teacher and employee of the Osnabrück universities. The opening was moderated by Klaudius Gansczyk of the Association of German Scientists.

Greeting Michael Prior at the presentation day Fall Academy 2017

Film portrait Autumn Academy 2017