The Poly-Participant – How to be invited to Heidelberg again

The HLF is in its third year, and already there is one young researcher who managed to attend the forum twice. After successfully making the next step in his scientific career, Felix Günther took the chance to apply for the HLF a second time.

In 2013 the mathematician attended the HLF as a PhD candidate from the Institute for mathematics, TU Berlin. Now, in 2015, he participates as a Post-Doc from the European Post-Doctoral Institute for Mathematical Sciences (EPDI).

“I utterly enjoyed the first HLF”, Günther says. One of the outcomes: until today he is in contact with various other HLF13 attendees all over the globe. As soon as he became aware of his second chance to join the meeting, his decision to apply once again had been made.

In fact, there are several stages in the career of a young researcher at which they might apply to attend the HLF:

  • undergraduate
  • graduate (in der PhD-Phase)
  • Post-Doc
Felix Günther (second from left) visiting castle Schwetzingen during HLF13 as a PhD candidate Picture: Gennady Pekhimenko


This means Felix has reached the highest level this year and this is likely to be his last time at the HLF. That is, unless he finds another way to attend further meetings. The chances for him, I personally assume, are not too bad. Felix is a valuable communicator and represents mathematics in various ways to the public.

Dr. Felix Günther in the inner yard of Heidelberg university 2015 - now as a Post-Doc Picture: B.Lugger
Dr. Felix Günther in the inner yard of Heidelberg university 2015 – now as a Post-Doc Picture: B.Lugger

For example, he is engaged as a lecturer at the German “Jugend trainiert Mathematik” – a training camp for youngsters in mathematics. This year he wrote a layman’s article about his PhD thesis and applied for the Klaus Tschira Prize for understandable science. Last but not least, he is an experienced Science Slammer (Science Slams have been invented in Germany. Like in Poetry Slams, scientists get 10 minutes to present their research in an entertaining way to a general audience. These Slams are very popular in Germany).

Felix won several local Slams in Hannover (2014), Potsdam (2013) and Berlin (2013). Almost naturally he also stood on stage at the FameLab and the Falling Walls Lab.

Therefore a reunion with him via videos always is possible. Here’s a recording of Felix at the Science Slam in Karlsruhe June 2014 entitled “Discreet handling of crooked things”.

So perhaps he might make it back to the Heidelberg Laureate Forum for his third visit in his role as a science communicator. For him, there is only one other alternative left for a repeat visit: winning either the Fields Medal, the Abel, Turing or Nevanlinna Prize. Then of course, Felix could be attending the HLF every year.

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ist stellvertretende Wissenschaftliche Direktorin des Nationalen Instituts für Wissenschaftskommunikation (Nawik), Karlsruhe. Sie koordiniert dieses Konferenzblog. Beatrice ist Diplom-Chemikerin und seit über 20 Jahren als Wissenschaftsjournalistin für diverse deutsche Magazine und Tageszeitungen aktiv. Als Social Media Expertin hat sie unter anderem die Scienceblogs in Deutschland aufgebaut. In ihrem Blog ‚Quantensprung‘ und in ihren Tweets als @BLugger schreibt sie vornehmlich über Wissenschaftskommunikation.

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