Farewell to Fire?
PD Dr. Jens Soentgen, Universität Augsburg
Julius von Bismark, Berlin
The wildfires on the Mediterranean coasts, in Australia and elsewhere around the world have brought the fire into the media. At the same time, the most important guiding principle of European policy is "zero emissions", an emission-free society that is to be realised in a socially just way by 2050.
In essence, this goal means a farewell to fire. A pact that has existed for about a million years, that was the condition for all human culture, science, and history is to be dissolved. That pact, his past and his future will be analysed from a philosophical perspective.
The evening will combine reflections from philosophy, chemistry, cultural history, and art. By this, we contribute to discuss one of the major tasks and challenges of the energy transformation and in particular catalysis-research: the necessary, yet highly complex replacement of fire in many branches of industry, technology, and culture by low-energy chemical processes, driven by catalysis.
PD Dr. Jens Soentgen is both a trained chemist and philosopher. He is director at the Wissenschaftszentrum Umwelt (WZU) at the University of Augsburg, curator, and author of many books such as on Nitrogen (together with Gerhard Ertl), CO2, dust, and fire. He is also editor of the book series "Stoffgeschichten" ("material histories"). (https://www.uni-augsburg.de/de/forschung/einrichtungen/institute/wzu/team/soentgen/)
Recent books: "Pakt mit dem Feuer. Philosophie eines weltverändernden Bundes." Berlin: Matthes&Seitz 2021; "Staub. Alles über fast nichts", München: dtv 2022.
Julius von Bismarck is a Berlin based artist. He has worked in many projects and in close contact with practitioners on the interface of art and the sciences. In 2012 he was the first artist in residence at CERN. In 2020 his work "Fire with Fire" about which he will talk at our event, was exhibited at Kunsthalle Bonn. (https://juliusvonbismarck.com/bank/index.php/projects/fire-with-fire/)