Feathered Hats, Combative Women, and Creative AI

The three transparent boxes on display contain a burgundy velvet hat adorned with lavish brown feather-work, a straw hat brim with feathers, leaves and flowers draped over it to form a nest, and a third hat topped with pink feathers and a stuffed bird's head. These three items of headwear take centrestage at a "Tiny Gallery" presented by RIFS Art Fellow Susanne Schmitt at the Berlin Science Week. Together, they highlight the pivotal role that hats and hat-making played in the development of environmental and wildlife conservation. The gallery is part of the exhibition "Dare to Know: Creative Science, Precise Art" on show at Holzmarkt 25 through to 10 November.


The Lights of Kigali

A brightly coloured dome stands out among the lights of Kigali: The convention centre shines in the Rwandan national colours of blue, yellow and green. For the Rwandan ambassador to Germany, Igor Cesar, its image symbolises progress and the spirit behind it: "When you fly over Kigali at night, you can see how far our electrification efforts have come. Rwanda is characterised by its will to advance technologically, but we don't want to lose our origins, our identity in the process." The architecture of the convention centre represents the Rwandan path between preservation and new beginnings: a modern building whose shape is reminiscent of a traditional hut.

Q & A with Elena Nikitina

Climate Change in the Arctic: Partnerships and Better Data Needed

Climate change in the Arctic is unfolding twice as rapidly as in other parts of the world. This poses various challenges for the sustainable development of Northern communities and companies. The European research project Blue-Action evaluates the impact of climate change in the Arctic and develops new techniques to improve forecast accuracy. As part of a case study of the Yamal region in Russia, researchers are exploring the roles, perceptions and interests of various stakeholder groups in the sustainable development of the Arctic. Elena Nikitina, head of the Center for Global Economy at IMEMO, recently visited the IASS and provided insights into the formation of adaptive governance in the Arctic.

Finding the Piece That’s Been Missing in Climate Science Education

A guest scholar at the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, Drew Bush is completing a doctoral dissertation in the Department of Geography and School of Environment at McGill University in Montreal. His research examines how inquiry-based teaching using a climate model developed by the Goddard Institute impacts student learning of climate change science.

The Theory and Practice of Disaster Risk Reduction: Q&A with Nina Köksalan

The second international Potsdam Summer School drew to a close on 23 September. Over 10 days, 40 participants from various fields and 28 different countries discussed this year’s Summer School theme, “Facing Natural Hazards”, with renowned scientists from Potsdam-based research institutes and international experts. One of those participants was Nina Köksalan. Nina studied geography, art history, philosophy and sociology and has been working for three and a half years at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Rome.

“Many Causes of Natural Disasters are Political and Social”: Q&A with David Alexander

The growing world population, climate change, rapid urbanisation, and the international interdependence of economies are all increasing our vulnerability to natural hazards. Such major global challenges are the focus of the second international Potsdam Summer School on "Facing Natural Hazards", which is taking place from 14 to 23 September. One of the most well-known researchers in this field is David Alexander, a professor at the Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction at University College London.

Q&A with Guy Brasseur: Communicating Science

How can ordinary people be familiarised with science? Few other researchers have devoted as much attention to this question as the Belgian atmospheric scientist Guy Brasseur. From 2009 to 2014, he was head of the Climate Service Center (CSC) in Hamburg, whose task is to communicate the latest climate research findings to politicians, scientists, and business people. Before he joined the Climate Service Center, Guy Brasseur headed the Earth and Sun Systems Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.