News | Education 06.10.2014

Student competition alumni meet up in Potsdam

Participants at the alumni camp 2014 standing in front of the Church of St. Peter and Paul in the center of Potsdam.
© Siemens Stiftung

Some of this year's attendees were participating for the first time, for others it has already become a much-loved regular event. For the last five years now, Siemens Stiftung has been inviting former participants in its student competition in math, science and technology to attend an alumni camp. As in previous years, all the available places at this year's event were quickly snapped up. A total of 28 former participants spent a whole weekend discussing the question of ethics in science, and took the opportunity to exchange personal views and experiences from school and student life.

Two invited scientists, Nina-Kristin Lederer and Dr. Thomas Bruhn, were responsible for the workshop part of the event. They outlined the basic tenets of scientific responsibility and used the example of climate engineering to show both the opportunities and risks presented by new technologies, and how an expert discourse on a topic can be initiated.  

The workshop ended with groups of participants formulating strategies about how controversial research topics need be discussed, and with which parties, in order to comply with the obligations of social responsibility. This was no easy task, as the Stuttgart computer science student Paul Nehlich admitted: "I was really surprised at how many different aspects need to be taken into account. But it was fun to be able to work together with students from several completely different disciplines in order to come up with a strategy."

The outdoor team training and the joint evening meals presented ideal opportunities for the participants to network and exchange views. Together with the keynote topic, this is what makes the event so valuable for participants like Tobias Pickert: "There are always new alumni attending the camp, so you never know everybody there. But it's so easy to get talking to people. There's a real sense of community about the camp, and we can learn so much from each other."