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What remains

There’s a Martin Luther Playmobile figure and a Martin Luther noodle. It’s hard to escape the reformer’s face during the 2017 jubilee year. But what does the Reformation have to do with the present day? A lot, say researchers from many disciplines at the University of Halle. Because the Reformation’s legacy extends far beyond that of theology.

Luther’s Leucorea: Research in Wittenberg

Where Martin Luther once taught in Wittenberg, researchers today are working together on an interdisciplinary basis to study the history and effects of the Reformation. Two research projects, funded by the State of Saxony-Anhalt, are examining these topics at the Leucorea Foundation at the University of Halle.

Ice age in Ethiopia: refuge in the mountains?

Did the people in Ethiopia take refuge in the mountains during the last great ice age 16,000 years ago? An international team of soil scientists, archaeologists and biologists are conducting research on this as part of a new project entitled “The Mountain Exile Hypothesis”. To do this, soil scientists from Halle will be traveling to the remote Sanetti Plateau to examine the soil there and use modern biogeochemical methods to look for traces of mankind that are thousands of years old.

“There is no road map”

Field research is not limited to the natural sciences. Fieldwork is often conducted in the humanities and social sciences, too. But how? Professor Georg Breidenstein and two of his colleagues describe how it is done in the textbook “Ethnografie – die Praxis der Feldforschung” (Ethnography – the Practice of Fieldwork). In an interview, the educationalist discusses why participatory observation is necessary and what makes social science fieldwork special.

Oil in Chad: a blessing and a curse

When a country has access to oil reserves, this goes hand in hand with unimaginable wealth, right? Chad is one of the poorest countries in the world. Since 2003 oil has been produced in this central African state. For twelve years, ethnologist Dr Andrea Behrends has been onsite examining how its society and culture have been changed by oil production.

Measuring nature

Crickets chirp at the edge of the forest, otherwise all is quiet in the Nature Park Saale Unstrut Triasland. Nine students from the University of Halle are working intently despite the midday heat. It is their last day in the field and there is still a lot left to do. In the master’s module Outdoor Ecology the up-and-coming biologists are learning what it means to conduct fieldwork in four investigation areas near Freyburg.

Making science freely available: Open access publishing

The open access movement began 15 years ago. Prof. Stephan Feller, a molecular biologist, and Dr. Stefan Artmann, a private lecturer in philosophy, discuss how it will change science in 2016 and the opportunities and challenges that will arise as a result of its development into an open exchange of specialist publications. It is a topic that occupies both men. Feller is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of the Open Access Journal “Cell Communication and Signalling”. Artmann, who heads up the presidential office at the Leopoldina, is a member of the working group “Open Access”, part of the priority initiative “Digital Information” of the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany.

Steintor-Campus: All moved in

Winter semester saw classes start up on the Steintor Campus for the first time. The campus is Halle University’s fourth largest after University Square, the Francke Foundations and Weinberg Campus with its nearby hospital. The idea of concentrating all of the humanities and social sciences departments in one location has been 15 years in the making.

Working without a desk and office?

Skype, Google Drive and Dropbox: virtual work has never been easier than it is today. Nevertheless, many teams have problems when they only collaborate online. Professor Anne-Katrin Neyer and her colleagues are studying how we can better organise virtual cooperation. In an interview, she explains what to keep in mind when you don’t work in the same office or country.