Science Talks – LMU in conversation with business, politics, and society

LMU public lecture series in winter semester 2022/23

What role does science play in contemporary society? What tasks does it face in light of global crises and complex economic and political contexts? What claim to validity can science still make in society and what is the significance of the university as a central scientific teaching and research institution?

In an increasingly networked world, there are numerous interactions between science, business, politics, and society. This is accompanied by both opportunities and challenges, which research and teaching must address. Understanding how science and an open society are mutually dependent requires dialogue that is as intensive as it is constructive.

The LMU lecture series is dedicated to this dialogue in winter semester 2022/23 in a total of eight events: In cooperation with the Munich University Society and MEDIASCHOOL Bayern, the university invites you to participate in a series of public events that can be attended both on-site at LMU's Great Aula and via a live stream online. From October 25, 2022 to February 7, 2023, distinguished scientists will enter into dialogue with numerous personalities from business, politics, and society in order to discuss the pressing issues of our time with their many facets and in the breadth of the sciences.

Dates: eight Tuesdays in winter semester 2022/23, 7:00–8:30 p.m.

Location: Great Aula in LMU’s main building (without registration) // Live stream: For virtual participation in the event on December 06, 2022, please register here.


Logo Science Talks


Not only since the COVID-19 pandemic, but particularly conspicuously in this case, science often appears to the public as a bearer of hope for solving the manifold economic, political, and social problems of our time. At times, however, it is also the target of criticism, and some question its results or even its legitimacy as a whole.

In a discussion with four eminent representatives from science, business, politics, and society, the lecture series will examine this area of tension from various perspectives. What opportunities are provided by stronger cooperation across the various spheres of activity? And where do the limits of the public communication of and about science and its performance lie?


  • Dr. Michael Blume is the Baden-Württemberg Commissioner against Anti-Semitism. The religious and political scientist has been involved in science communication for many years and, among other things, educates people on conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism with a podcast.
  • Dr. Wolfgang Heubisch is Vice President of the Bavarian State Parliament and was Bavarian State Minister for Sciences, Research, and the Arts from 2008 to 2013. As a member of the Free Democratic Party (FDP) in the Bavarian State Parliament, his work focuses on issues of science, culture, and public service.
  • Prof. Dr. Armin Nassehi holds the Chair for General Sociology and Theory of Society at LMU Munich. In his research, he deals with questions of cultural sociology, political sociology, and sociology of religion as well as knowledge sociology and the sociology of science.
  • Sina Trinkwalder is a social entrepreneur from Augsburg and a former student of LMU. She has been awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for her ecological and social commitment.


  • Dr. Christina Berndt is an author and science editor at Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Video (in German, optionally with English subtitles)

Since February 24, 2022, the escalation of the Russian war against Ukraine has been regarded by many as a global political turning point.” The war not only has political and economic implications but also poses far-reaching challenges for the scientific community. How can the scientific community deal with political conflicts and act in the context of authoritarian structures? Can science diplomacy contribute to an international order based on international law? Do scientists automatically have an ambassadorial role by virtue of their position? And how political must or may science be in the first place?


  • Prof. Dr. Martin Schulze Wessel holds the Chair for Contemporary History of East Central Europe at LMU Munich. His research focuses on the international relations between Eastern, Central, and Western Europe, in addition to the history of Eastern Central and Eastern Europe and Russia.
  • Prof. em. Dr. Peter Strohschneider is the former Chair of German Medieval Studies at LMU Munich. He was president of the German Research Foundation from 2013 to 2019 and chairman of the German Sciences and Humanities Council from 2006 to 2011.

Video (in German, optionally with English subtitles)

In times of multiple crises, many of which have economic repercussions, economics attracts considerably greater public attention. Ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, economists have been in demand as experts when it comes to coping with the economic consequences of crises and cushioning the impact of recession. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the phenomena of economic crisis have become part of everyday life in the form of massively rising energy and living costs; at the same time, combating climate change requires a far-reaching transformation. What contribution can science make in this area of tension? And what kind of innovation(s) does future-oriented entrepreneurship need to overcome the crises of our time?


  • Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Monika Schnitzer holds the Chair for Comparative Economics at LMU Munich and is a member of the German Council of Economic Experts.
  • Jona Christians is one of the founders and CEO of Sono Motors, a young car manufacturer developing the solar-powered electric car Sono Sion. At Sono Motors, Mr Christians is, among other things, responsible for the company's innovation strategy.

Here you will soon find a recording of the event from 22.11.2022.

Extreme temperatures, droughts and floods have been a threat to large parts of the world and now also to Europe - not just since the summer heat wave of 2022. Awareness of the threat of accelerating climate change is growing in politics and society: Science plays a key role in this crisis. What approaches can help us not only to understand current and future risks but also to manage them? Where do scientists see opportunities and challenges in public dialogue?


  • Prof. Dr. Matthias Garschagen holds the chair in Human Geography at LMU Munich with a focus on Human Environment Relations. Most recently, he served as a Lead Author in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as well as the Synthesis Report of the Sixth Assessment Cycle.
  • Prof. Dr. Elmar Kriegler is Professor for Integrated Assessment of Climate Change at the University of Potsdam and Head of the Research Department “Transformation Pathways” at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). He is the lead author of several reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Tuesday, December 6, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. at the Great Aula in LMU’s main building. To join the live stream, please register here.

Especially in times of perceived crisis, many people seek security and meaning. In different ways, both the sciences and faith can provide guidance. But are the answers from the two domains necessarily in contradiction, as religious fundamentalism and esotericism suggest? Or do scientific and ideological perspectives unburden each other and, in an increasingly divided society, are able to enable a novel form of communication and perhaps even have a calming effect? After all, both have in common that the tension between ambiguity and clarity characterizes them in the assessment of many questions.


  • Prof. em. Dr. Winfried Haunerland held the Chair of Liturgical Sciences at the Faculty of Catholic Theology at LMU Munich and was Director of the Ducal Georgianum, the world’s second oldest Catholic seminary.
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Bauer is Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies as well as Executive Director of the Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Münster.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. at the Great Aula in LMU’s main building. The link to register to participate in the live stream will be posted approx. 14 days prior to the event.

After three years of the pandemic, accompanied and fueled by corresponding authoritarian political developments, a “division of society” driven by populism, “fake news,” and conspiracy narratives is sometimes seen as the greatest danger to democracy. Scientists can provide analysis and explanation in this situation, but at the same time they increasingly seem to have to defend themselves. How can they position themselves in the face of increasing attacks on their credibility, and what opportunities does a scientific discussion of such challenges offer?


  • Prof. Dr. Carsten Reinemann is Professor of Political Communication and Director of the Department of Media and Communication at LMU Munich.
  • Prof. Dr. Ursula Münch is Professor of Political Science at Universität der Bundeswehr München (University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich) and Director of the Academy for Political Education in Tutzing.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. at the Great Aula in LMU’s main building. The link to register to participate in the live stream will be posted approx. 14 days prior to the event.

As part of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, global research on infectious diseases and vaccines has received an immense increase in societal attention. What have we learned from this pandemic thus far, and how can science and medicine contribute to the advancement of public health in the future? Research on risks and containment of new pandemics in times of climate change, shrinking wildlife habitats, and globalization is of great importance. Where are we on this journey?


  • Prof. Dr. Oliver T. Keppler is Chairman of the Max von Pettenkofer Institute at LMU Munich and holds the Chair of Virology as well as Principal Investigator at the Gene Center of LMU Munich.
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Lothar H. Wieler is President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the main biomedical research institution of the Federal Government. In this capacity, he advises the Federal Government, for instance, on the containment of infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and, most recently, monkeypox.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. at the Great Aula in LMU’s main building. The link to register to participate in the live stream will be posted approx. 14 days prior to the event.

At a time when fewer and fewer contemporary witnesses are able to tell their own stories, there is a risk that the assumption of responsibility for Germany’s historical crimes will fade into the background. Anchoring one’s own history in a more or less institutionalized culture of remembrance is thus one of the great challenges of the present day. For example, the question arises as to how responsible remembrance can be practiced – also against the backdrop of an increasingly diverse society. To what extent is learning from history even possible, and what role can science play in this?


  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Wirsching holds the Chair for Contemporary History at LMU Munich and is Director of the Institute of Contemporary History (IfZ), which published, among other things, a critical and thoroughly annotated edition of Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” to great international acclaim.
  • Dr. Mirjam Zadoff is Director of the Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism in Munich, where she is responsible for exhibitions, events, and educational programs for people of all ages. This place of learning embodies a steadfast commitment to tolerance and democracy, as well as the responsibility that each and every individual bears for this.

Tuesday, February 07, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. at the Great Aula in LMU’s main building. The link to register to participate in the live stream will be posted approx. 14 days prior to the event.

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