Newsletter 6/2011

Why is Aachen better than New York?

What it is that motivates leading foreign researchers to come to Germany is the focus of the new edition of Humboldt Kosmos.

Humboldt Kosmos 98/2011

Why is Aachen better than New York? If you try to address the question from a tourist’s point of view, you may start to ponder. But for American quantum physicist David DiVincenzo the answer is obvious. There is no better place anywhere for realising his vision of building a super calculator: a quantum computer.

What researchers dream about, what drives them from deep within and what role the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation plays in all this is examined in the new edition of Humboldt Kosmos which introduces some of the 800 plus academics who come to Germany from all over the world every year with the support of the Foundation.
Sometimes they stay, but usually they move on – and become ambassadors for Germany abroad.

Researchers have long since become veritable nomads in our globalised world of work. The best of them are highly coveted and, almost like footballers, transfer where the best conditions and prospects for major titles beckon. Instead of going to Manchester United or Real Madrid, they head for famous universities all over the world like Harvard and Oxford, or those that have specialised in a certain field in their efforts to play in the top league – like Aachen.

When deciding on a location, internationally mobile researchers not only have to consider the quality of working groups, laboratories and libraries, but also the career ambitions of their partners. And often the well-being of the entire family who will be part of the party when it is time to strike camp again.

The Humboldt Foundation wants them to feel welcome in Germany and find ideal conditions for exciting, successful research – just like the Humboldtians in the latest Humboldt Kosmos. The German version of this edition with a print-run of 560,000 is designed to introduce the Foundation to a broader audience and has been produced as a supplement to the German weekly DIE ZEIT and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.