Press Release 065/2011

On the Fast Track? Mobility and Society

From the Electronic Vehicle to Stuttgart 21: The Colloquium Fundamentale Focuses on Issues Mov-ing Us
Mensch und Mobilität: im Mittelpunkt beim Colloquium Fundamentale (Foto:
Man and mobility are in the focus of the Colloquium Fundamentale. (Photo:

Mobility is an indicator of the development of society and an expression of the quality of life. In the 2011 summer semester, the Colloquium Fundamentale of ZAK | Center for Applied Cul-tural Science and Studium Generale will focus on the chances and limits of mobility under the heading of “Full speed ahead? Mobile society between technology euphoria and protest”. The series will start on Thursday, April 28, 2011, 18 hrs, with a presentation by the historian Professor Joachim Radkau on the history of mobile technology in Germany.

Railways, roads, water, or air: The possibilities of getting from A to B are numerous and taken for granted. Mobility has long become a characteristic feature of everyday life and one of the prerequisites of personal participation in society. Since the invention of the automobile 125 years ago at the latest, mobility has also become a sign of pro-gress and individual independence. At the same time, the desire for mobility is associated with high requirements on the infrastructure and has negative impacts on the environment.

In the 2011 summer semester, the Colloquium Fundamentale will establish relationships between technology and the history of mobility and question visions and current trends: Is the future of the car the electronic vehicle? Which role do public transport means play? How do new transport projects like Stuttgart 21 have to be assessed and do the “Wutbürger” (furious citizens) really reflect a certain hostility to technology?

The series of interdisciplinary presentation will start with Professor Joachim Radkau from the University of Bielefeld on Thursday, April 28, 2011, 18 hrs. In this presentation “Daedalus and Icarus in the history of technology – the art of the middle way”, the historian pro-vides an insight in the historical development of technology. He as-sumes that it is not a pure story of success, but rather a story of the careful balancing of technical options. Joachim Radkau will deal with this phenomenon and check whether there is an individual German way to handle innovations.

The Colloquium Fundamentale will take place on selected Thursdays, 18 hrs, at the NTI-Hörsaal, KIT Campus South, building 30.10, Engesserstraße 5. Admission will be free.

Other dates and presentations:

May 12, 2011: Technology as a symbol. Mobility technology and the new perception of the world around 1900
Dr. Kurt Möser, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

May 26, 2011: It won’t become greener! Our environment and the future of the electric automobile
Professor Martin Doppelbauer, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

June 30, 2011: On the sideline? Germany’s railroad traffic put to the test
Professor Eberhard Hohnecker, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

July 7, 2011: Recapturing of the road – protests of the population against new transport projects
Professor Barbara Lenz, German Aerospace Center Berlin, and Professor Klaus Hänsch, retired President of the European Parlia-ment

July 14, 2011: Podium discussion: Higher, faster, further? What we can learn from Stuttgart 21
Winfried Hermann, Member of Parliament, and other representatives of science and the public

Further information:


Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,600 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 23,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

ak, 19.04.2011


Monika Landgraf
Head of Corporate Communications, Chief Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41150
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
presseBvp1∂kit edu

Contact for this press release:

Anna Moosmüller
ZAK | Zentrum für Angewandte Kulturwissenschaft und Studium Generale
Phone: +49 721 608-48027
Fax: +49 0721 608-44811
E-Mail:anna moosmuellerJxi7∂kit edu

The press release is available as a PDF file.