UNITE & DIVIDE: Social Distancing, Alzheimer’s and Anti-Gypsyism

New edition of research magazine RUPERTO CAROLA with articles by 24 Heidelberg academics

"It is easier to split an atom than to stamp out prejudice." This quote from Albert Einstein suggests the thematic focus UNITE & DIVIDE to which the latest issue of the research magazine RUPERTO CAROLA is dedicated. In times of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is widespread concern about a permanent division of our society, with direct implications for science - ranging from an overstated belief in its authority, amongst some, to a complete denial of scientific findings, in another part of society. How do we deal with the situation when people only recognise facts that confirm their own standpoint? What happens with a community when some of its members no longer feel bound by rules? What are the consequences for our mutual relations and our mental health, when social contacts are suddenly associated with danger? 24 scientists and scholars from Heidelberg University respond to these and other burning issues in this thematic journal as they present their research - from the humanities and social sciences to the natural sciences and medicine.

Under the heading UNITE & DIVIDE the articles include research studies to enable significant progress in dealing with serious diseases, as also questions studied by researchers in the STRUCTURES Cluster of Excellence: how can a deathly molecular complex in the human body, which forms when two important signalling proteins unite, be broken up? What effect can "molecular chaperones" have in treating illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s? What unites the microand the macrocosm? The expert conversation reflects on the uniting and dividing power of language and the conflict between constructivism and reductionism in physics. Other articles give insight into anti-Gypsyism research, company law, medical ethics and research on the Middle East or point out how, after the historical upheaval of 1989/1990, Germany and Europe were reunited and then divisions reappeared along new conflict lines.

The research magazine RUPERTO CAROLA appears twice a year in German with English abstracts, and is addressed to all members of the university, to university partners in sciences and humanities, politics, business and society, and particularly to alumni, friends and an interested public at home and abroad. The magazine is available in the Communications and Marketing department of Heidelberg University (Old University, Grabengasse 1, phone +49 6221 54-2311).