Cannon and sparrows: Günter Ziegler gives DFG Leibniz Lecture in Moscow

(21.06.13) To mark the end of Germany Year in Russia, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the German House for Research and Innovation (DWIH) in Moscow held the second Leibniz Lecture in Russia. The lecture was made possible by the personal commitment of mathematician Günter Ziegler from the Free University of Berlin, who had already performed the same duty last year in New York and delivered a truly outstanding lecture.

Professor Günter Ziegler (Freie Universität Berlin) in Moskau

Professor Günter Ziegler (Free University of Berlin) in Moscow


The evening event on 20 June, which was hosted jointly by the DFG, the DWIH and the Free University of Berlin, was attended by 70 researchers, including both established academics and early career researchers, from Moscow universities and institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The guests were welcomed to the library of the Hotel Baltschug, which is used for high-profile German-Russian academic events and which was full to capacity, by the head of the research department of the German Embassy in Moscow, Karsten Heinz.

The DFG's representative in Russia, Jörn Achterberg, explained in his introduction that the DFG organises the Leibniz lecture series, delivered by the winners of Germany's most important research prize, at worldwide locations where it has its own foreign representations. The lectures present the latest topics of top-level research in Germany and opportunities for bilateral cooperation. The idea of the lecture series is for Leibniz prizewinners to act as ambassadors for German research. A study of the publication output of prize recipients by Lucy Amez (Brussels) illustrates the high potential for international cooperation.

Günter Ziegler, who has held a MATHEON professorship at the Free University of Berlin since 2011, is an internationally distinguished researcher in discrete geometry. The topic of his lecture was "Cannons at Sparrows: Cutting Polygons via Configuration Spaces", which was enthusiastically received by the selected audience. Prof. Ziegler demonstrated once again that he is not only an outstanding researcher (having received the Leibniz Prize in 2001 and an ERC Advanced Grant in 2010), but also has the ability to present scientific findings in an accessible way to an audience (he also won the Communicator Award in 2008). As the President of the German Mathematical Society (DMV), he initiated and helped organise the highly successful Year of Mathematics in 2008. In his Moscow lecture, he once again told an exciting story that began in Calcutta, covered sparrows and cannons, number devils and Pascal's triangle, made a digression into eBay and ended with a poem by Magnus Enzensberger. Prof. Ziegler's colleagues in Moscow, whom he met at a mathematics conference at the renowned Steklov Institute, an institute of the Academy of Sciences, are currently translating his latest book into Russian.

Jörn Achterberg (DFG-Moskau), Gregor Berghorn (DWIH/DAAD Moskau) Günter Ziegler (FU Berlin), Karsten Heinz (Deutsche Botschaft Moskau), Tobias Stüdemann (Vereter der FU Berlin in Moskau)

Jörn Achterberg (DFG Moscow), Gregor Berghorn (DWIH/DAAD Moscow), Günter Ziegler (FU Berlin), Karsten Heinz (German Embassy in Moscow), Tobias Stüdemann (representative of FU Berlin in Moscow)


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