FocusLMU: A window to academia

The LMU’s public lecture series in the 2023/24 academic year

The world has been in a permanent state of crisis for some years now: the COVID-19 pandemic brought the global economy to a halt and contributed to the polarization of society. A new war in Europe is further calling the global security order into question. And then there are also the devastating effects of climate-related natural disasters that are causing misery and destruction at increasingly frequent intervals. New technologies such as artificial intelligence pose new challenges for society and business. However, they also offer tremendous opportunities to a wide array of areas and applications, whether it be in business, medicine, or science.

Society, politics, and the economy need clever ideas to find answers to the multitude of questions. This is where the work of scientists who research and teach at universities like LMU comes into play. What thought-provoking impulses can the world of research and teaching provide to current, socially relevant issues? What solutions do they offer us, and what dangers draw attention to?

In the 2023/24 academic year during two hybrid events each semester, renowned LMU scholars will be examining topics shaping society from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, provide insights into their research findings, and discuss the pressing issues of the day on a multidisciplinary basis. LMU’s lecture series is powered by the Munich University Society and MEDIASCHOOL Bavaria.

When and where? The event series will take place on four Tuesdays in the academic year 2023/24, each from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. (without registration) in the Great Auditorium in the main building of the LMU. Information on registration for virtual participation via livestream in the fourth event on 02.07.2024 will be announced approximately four weeks before the event.


FokusLMU - window on science

On 12 December 2015, at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) in Paris, 195 countries and the European Union adopted a treaty to ideally limit the average global temperature rise to 1.5°C. On 1 January 2016, the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which are to be achieved by the end of 2030, entered into force. Since then, however, the question “Will the international community manage to take the necessary path toward sustainability?” has been raised.

LMU hereby invites you to a public event that will tackle this topic from many dimensions: In the first event of the new FocusLMU series, three LMU scholars will be shedding light on the necessity and opportunities for greater sustainability from different perspectives. The landscape historian Prof. Dr. Sonja Dümpelmann from the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society will be providing examples where attempts to change the direction of societies in past crises were made and where sustainable solutions to major challenges were thereby sought. In order to prove the need to change course, the epidemiologist Prof. Dr. Katja Radon will be elucidating the results of her research which exemplify and demonstrate how the conduct of one generation can impact their grandchildren’s entire genetic code. Lastly, Prof. Dr. Ann-Katrin Kaufhold, a legal expert in constitutional and administrative law, will be presenting the opportunities for maintaining the target of 1.5°C as based on climate lawsuits and instruments of the regulation for sustainable finance.

The event will be hosted by LMU’s Vice President for Teaching and Studies Prof. Dr. Oliver Jahraus.

Video (in German, optionally with English subtitles)

Until a few years ago, “artificial intelligence”, or AI for short, was a somewhat nebulous term describing the complex of new digital capabilities and machine learning. It has now become a part of everyday life and is increasingly shaping professional, private and socio-cultural environments via tangible applications. As part of the FocusLMU lecture series, Prof. Dr. Björn Ommer, Chair of AI for Computer Vision and Digital Humanities, will talk about how these applications will change our lives, and what opportunities, possibilities and dangers they hold. In his talk, he will discuss the fields of application of artificial intelligence and how AI will shape the future of society.

Communication scientist Dr. Maximilian Eder, an academic researcher in the Volkswagen Foundation-funded project “Responsible AI for Local Journalism”, will shed light on the effects that the use of artificial intelligence is already having, especially in the field of journalism, and the resulting consequences for democratic discourse.

Finally, Prof. Dr. Jelena Spanjol, Director of the Institute for Innovation Management at LMU, will provide an insight into the importance of artificial intelligence for future markets. The event will be hosted by LMU’s Vice President for Teaching and Studies Prof. Dr. Oliver Jahraus.

Video (in German, optionally with English subtitles)

Language has always evolved in response to social processes. For instance, a third gender option beyond the binary gender norm of ‘female’ and ‘male’ was enshrined in German civil registration law in 2018 following a ruling by Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court. At the same time, linguistic changes such as the use of ‘gender stars’—not least in journalistic media—have stirred intense political and social discussions. Researchers can bring a measure of objectivity to such debates and clarify that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for respectful coexistence between all social groups. Instead, it is important to take a closer look and incorporate the findings of various disciplines.

Prof. Dr. Anatol Stefanowitsch, Professor for the Structure of Contemporary English at Freie Universität Berlin, assesses the current state of our language regarding gender equality and illustrates the language system’s ability to find solutions.

Prof. Dr. Paula-Irene Villa Braslavsky, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at LMU, broadens the focus to more fundamental questions, such as the significance of gender in shaping perceptions and social dynamics.

Finally, Prof. Dr. Carsten Reinemann, Professor of Communication Studies with a focus on political communication at LMU, scrutinizes attitudes toward the issue and the role played by politics and the media.

The event will be moderated by Prof. Dr. Sarah Schimke, Professor of German Linguistics at LMU.

Video (in German, optionally with English subtitles)

Further details will be announced four weeks prior to the event.

In cooperation with:

What are you looking for?