•  Dr. Carsten Hucho, Paul-Drude-Institut für Festkörperelektronik

    Dr. Carsten Hucho, Paul-Drude-Institut für Festkörperelektronik

What Dr. Carsten Hucho especially appreciates in Berlin is the creativity and dynamism. The Brain City Ambassador heads the Technology and Transfer Department at the Paul-Drude-Institut für Festkörperelektronikand is also the Scientific and administrative coordinator. He is also one of the two directors of the knowledge transfer working group of the 96 institutes of the Leibniz Association.

“I came to Berlin in tow from my parents in 1979,” says Dr. Carsten Hucho. The current Head of the Technology and Transfer Department at the the Paul-Drude-Institut für Festkörperelektronik (PDI) initially stayed in the city, studied physics in Berlin and Freiburg and finally did his doctorate in 1993 at the Freie Universität Berlin. After that, however, the young scientist then moved to the USA. “I spent my post-doctoral years at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, where I investigated experimentally and theoretically whether a ‘material’ exists that freezes when it warms up and melts when it cools down (yes, there is one!) and did subsequent research at the University of Augsburg.”

In 1999 Carsten Hucho returned to the reunited German capital. It was tempting: an offer of a contract in the research department of a large company in southern Germany – and the offer to work at the Paul Drude Institut in Berlin. Carsten Hucho decided on the PDI. And he did so because of Berlin. “I had experienced the fall of the Berlin Wall in the city, the unbelievable wealth of ideas, especially in the years after the reunification, and felt the pull that Berlin exerted on all creatively thinking and working people,” he remembers. “Four large universities, including a strong university of the arts, plus a college of music, the lively start-up scene and favourable living conditions offered a wide range of people who wanted to try something and endless opportunities to experiment. The completely natural exchange across disciplines, the lack of snobbery in research, the certainty of being able to do new, unusual and crazy things – all of this was incredibly attractive to me at that time. And it still keeps me here.”

As a result of its historical development, Berlin offers a complex and stimulating environment on many levels. This open climate nourishes scientific creativity and magnetically attracts researchers of all types.

As the person responsible for knowledge transfer at the PDI, for Carsten Hucho this is not just a job, but rather imparting knowledge to society is a matter close to his heart. This is based on a simple key finding: “It became clear to me early on that if knowledge only remains in the community of researchers, it cannot develop its effect. However, if it is translated correctly, it can empower society to do something new. This is an enormous opportunity, an exciting task – and at the same time the motto of the Leibniz Association, which also includes 'my' institute: 'Research for the good of society'.” In addition, according to Carsten Hucho, the scientific principle forms the basis of democratic discourse. “The ability to argue constructively, to differentiate between knowledge, opinion and belief, to enjoy the next question more than the last answer – that is important, it moves us all forward,” he says and adds energetically: “That is what I am committed to.”

Examples of the “mediation work” by Carsten Hucho and his team range from the science facade of the PDI, a video installation on the outside wall of the institute in Berlin-Mitte, to the format “Mind the Lab”. Science in the underground” to scholarships for artists, panel discussions or contributions in popular science magazines. “In science communication, in general, I am interested in the different language that is used to describe the world, depending on the discipline. Whether it be mathematics or narrative modeling of scientific knowledge, be it visual arts or music. The key to the world’s great questions lies in this diversity of languages.”

Carsten Hucho recommends one thing above all to young scientists coming to Berlin: being open to the possibilities that Brain City Berlin offers them: “Here you will find everything you need to change the world: unusual people from all cultures and circles of the world and unlimited receptivity for new ideas that can hardly be unusual enough. Today Berlin offers what scientists used to look for in America!” (vdo)

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