Klaus Tschira Foundation
The Klaus Tschira Foundation (KTF) was established by the physicist Klaus Tschira in 1995 as a non-profit organization. Its primary objective is to support projects in natural and computer sciences as well as mathematics. The KTF places strong emphasis on the public understanding in these fields. Klaus Tschira’s commitment to this objective was honored in 1999 with the "Deutscher Stifterpreis" by the German National Academic Foundation (German: Studienstiftung). The KTF is located at the Villa Bosch in Heidelberg, Germany, the former residence of Nobel Prize laureate for chemistry Carl Bosch (1874–1940).
The foundation mainly sets off academic and non-profit, non-academic research projects in the fields described above. It also supports teaching and research at public and private universities as well as projects with children and young people. Its main goal is to arouse public appreciation for natural sciences, to practice research for the society and to present science in an understandable way for laymen. Furthermore, upon application, the foundation supports projects which answer the mission of the foundation. The main dedication of the organization is described by three fields:
- Fascinating Sciences
- Research For The Society
- Understandable Science.
Fascinating Natural Sciences
The foundation induces children and young people to be enthusiastic and curious about natural phenomena.
The explorer station is the Klaus Tschira competence centre for early natural scientific education. It wants to fill kindergarten children as well as their nursery nurses with enthusiasm for natural sciences. Children are supposed to playfully explore natural phenomena from their direct environment. The explorer station is a research facility of the college of education Heidelberg. It also investigates the effects of the further training on the teacher’s development of competence and the children’s learning processes.
The GIS-Station is the Klaus Tschira competence centre for digital geographical media. It offers learning opportunities in the fields of remote sensing, geographical information systems or GPS. Therewith the station wants to support teacher’s and student’s competence in the use of digital geographical media. It is assumed that digital geographical media will help students to better explore the earth and the facets of global change. The project is attended by the college of education Heidelberg.
Every year since 2006, the Klaus Tschira Foundation hosts scientific adventure days in Luisenpark, Mannheim. Children, students, teachers and parents can go on a natural scientific expedition with competitions for students, oral presentations peppered with experiments and hands-on exhibitions. The emphasis of the Explore Science is placed on a different scientific theme every year.
Research For Society
Another main goal of the foundation’s work is the usage of research results for the benefit of society. Therefore the foundation supports young academics, does its own research and sponsors projects of other institutions which were initiated by the Klaus Tschira Foundation.
Youth Software Award
The annual Youth Software Award honored students who inspired others with science by developing excellent, smart and inventive presentations or learning software that explain knowledge and experiments from natural science or mathematics. Students up to the age of 21 and residing in Germany, Austria or Switzerland were empowered to participate. The competition was ceased with the 10th awarding of the Youth Software Award in January 2011. The Klaus Tschira Foundation then brought the project ‘Youth presents’ into being to strengthen student’s abilities to present knowledge. The project is supported on the columns training, competition and communication. As a first step of the realization, modules for further education of teachers and students are being created in 2011. In the school year of 2011/2012, students of secondary school are being trained and gain the possibility to join the competition. In the next step, more federal lands are going to participate.
Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies
In January 2010, the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies opened its doors as the follower of the EML (European Media Laboratories) Research, which was found in 2003. The sister institute of the application-oriented EML has the agenda to do long-term oriented, fundamental scientific research which is supposed not to follow a fashion. The investigators do research in the following fields: life sciences, scientific databases and computational linguistics, theoretical astrophysics, statistic methods and computational sciences. In the future, up to ten research groups are supposed to represent HITS. The institute pursues an interdisciplinary and cooperative approach.
Klaus Tschira Laboratory
The Klaus Tschira Laboratory for physical age determination is an institution of the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museums Mannheim and a lateral institute of the University of Tübingen. Humanistic considerations about the dating of artwork are examined with the aid of natural scientific methods like the radiocarbon dating.
To support the common comprehension of natural sciences, the Klaus Tschira Foundation supports journalists and scientists at earning communicative skills in this matter.
“KlarText!” - The Klaus Tschira Award for Achievements in Public Understanding of Science
Since 2006, the Klaus Tschira Foundation is looking for young scientists who write a generally understandable article (8,000 to 10,000 words) in German about their research and the content of their PhD thesis. The prize is awarded in each of the categories biology, chemistry, information technology, mathematics, neurosciences and physics as well as in closely related fields. Participation is open to young scientists who were graduated previous year with excellent research results. Contributions are judged for scientific quality and public understanding by a panel of experts on science and communication, respectively. With this competition, the Klaus Tschira Foundation pursues the goal to advance public appreciation of nature sciences, mathematics and information technology. The ability to communicate is fundamental to make innovative research findings accessible to an interested but rather unspecialized public. Yearly, up to six winners receive the award endowed with prize money of € 5,000. Furthermore, the prize-winning contributions are released in the supplementary issue of the popular science magazine bild der wissenschaft (German). All competitors are offered a participation in a one-day workshop for science communication. The Klaus Tschira Prize was first awarded during 1996 to 1999, but was regionally restricted to graduates from the University of Karlsruhe. The competition was revived in 2005 and since 2006 announced nationwide.
Say it clearly! – Sag’s klar!
The Klaus Tschira Foundation arranges communication trainings for scientists since 2001. The workshops, which take place twice a year, are subdivided into the “Schreibwerkstatt” (writing workshop) and the “Medientraining” (media training). In accordance with the purpose of the foundation, they are addressed mainly to natural scientists, mathematicians and information technologists. The generally intelligible and interesting description of one’s own research findings are being trained in the writing workshop whereas the media training develops communication skills with journalists and delivers an insight into their work. The courses are instructed by communication experts who impart those contents with practical exercises to groups with maximum 6 participants.
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