19 October 1999

6 November 1999: Open Day at the University of Heidelberg

Old Town only (not Neuenheimer Feld!) – Visitors need not fear they'll be "out of their depth": many items centre on everyday problems and there are lots of opportunities to join in activities

On Saturday, 6 November 1999, it's "action stations" again for the University departments in the Old Town (not the medical and scientific institutions on Neuenheimer Feld campus!). They'll be opening their doors to the public and providing information on their research projects and the teaching they offer their students. The University institutions (and tourist attractions!) in the Old Town include the University Library, the Archives, the Language Lab, the Great Hall of the Old University, the Museum and the Students' Prison. Then of course there are the various University institutes teaching humanities, social sciences and law. Theologians, lawyers, historians, psychologists, gerontologists, sociologists, art historians, economists and representatives of the whole gamut of classical, Oriental and modern languages will be waiting to show and tell visitors what they get up to all day.

The range is enormous, extending from Babylonia and Ancient Egypt, classical antiquity and archaeology all the way to present-day China and Japan. Visitors need not worry that the Open Day events will be "over their heads". Many items deal with everyday problems like mobbing, making the right choice of marriage partner or keeping fit in old age. Others invite their guests to take an active part in the proceedings. For example, youthful visitors can get expert guidance in making their own Pharaoh's mask.

There's lots to do and see, from inscribing papyri to whizzing around the Internet, plus all the film and video shows, the Students' Prison, the Great Hall of the Old University and various museums. More creaturely comforts are catered for too, whether at the Students' Café or in the company of young people from abroad serving delicacies from their home countries. Open Day comes to a close with a televised talk show organised by the Press Office to mark the 30th anniversary of the University magazine Unispiegel.

A brochure containing the whole programme will be available in the foyer of the Old University (Grabengasse 1), the Press Office (same address) and the participating University institutions as of 25 October. Internet users can look for it on http://www.uni-heidelberg.de/uni/aktu (in German only) and it will also be posted in the daily press.

Many of the items will of course only be of interest to visitors with a good command of German. The following selection should however also appeal to prospective guests whose German isn't all that it might be. Unless otherwise stated all locations are open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m:

The University Museum, the Great Hall of the Old University and the Students' Prison (all Universit"tsplatz/Grabengasse) will be open all day with guided tours (in German) free of charge every hour on the hour.

At the Institute of Law History (Institut für geschichtliche Rechtswissenschaft, Friedrich-Ebert-Platz 2) there is an exhibition of rare historical volumes and book illustrations from the holdings of the law history library. These books are not otherwise accessible to the general public.

At the Department of Assyriology (Hauptstrasse 126) visitors can learn how to write a cuneiform version of their own name on a clay tablet.

The Department of Egyptology (Marstallhof 4) has guided tours of its collection of Egyptian relics at 12 noon and 3 p.m. Here too visitors can have their name written in hieroglyphics, while from 3 p.m. children can receive expert guidance in making themselves a Pharaoh's mask.

The Department of Classical Studies (Marstallhof 2-4) offer a number of lectures including one on Chagall's vision of "Daphnis and Chloé" (12.30-1 p.m.) and another on "Pindar's Total Eclipse" (3-3.30 p.m.) flanked by demonstrations of classical studies in the Internet (throughout the day) and guided tours of the Department library plus the archive of musical settings of ancient texts (11 a.m. and 4 p.m.).

At the Department of Ancient History (Marstallhof 4) the lectures throughout the day include a demonstration of the epigraph database (project room, 2.30-3 p.m.).

The Institute of Papyrology (Grabengasse 3-5) will be demonstrating the art of writing on papyrus. Visitors can choose between a recipe for headaches, an invitation text containing their own name and a love spell. For a small sum (between 50 pfennigs and 1 mark) they can take their personalised papyrus home with them, complete with a transcription of the Greek text and a (German) translation. The Institute also offers guided tours of its collection of papyri, ostraca, etc. inscribed in various different languages and ranging in time from Pharaonic Egypt through the Ptolemaic, Roman and Byzantine periods up to the age of Arab rule in Egypt.

The Institute of Prehistory and Protohistory (Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte) offers guided tours of the famous Uruk-Warka collection of Oriental finds from a period of over 6,000 years (11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Hauptstrasse 126, 2nd floor) and the Institute's own collection (4 p.m. Lauerstrasse 1, ground floor).

The Department of English (Kettengasse 12) will be showing videos of the films Shakespeare in Love (11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Room 110) and Star Trek (2 p.m. to 4 p.m. same place). There will also be a stair recital of English songs (2.15 p.m.) and a poetry reading by the Drama Society entitled "Love, Lust, Desire and Disappointment" (3.15 p.m., Room 108).

The Institute of Medieval and Post-Medieval Latin Studies (Seminarstrasse 3) will be exhibiting "Treasures from Old Libraries" ranging from early medieval manuscripts to printed works of the Baroque period. Visitors will be welcomed with a beaker of mead (free of charge).

At the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (Pl"ck 57a, Konferenzsaal II) there will be a conference-scale demonstration of simultaneous interpreting (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Memet Kilic's talk on the work of the Council of Non-German Citizens in Heidelberg will be translated simultaneously into English, French, Spanish, Russian, Italian and Portuguese.

Groups of foreign students at the Institute of German as a Foreign Language (Pl"ck 55) will be inviting guests to have coffee with them and reporting on their experiences studying and living in Heidelberg (Room 012, ground floor, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.).

The Central Language Laboratory (Ploeck 79-81) invites guests (throughout the day, from 11 a.m. onwards) to test their French and take part in quizzes on Italian operas and modern melodies, French civilisation, Russia, Czech culture and the English language. There are prizes for the most knowledgeable visitors. There is also a Chinese Corner and an information stand plus café, not to mention a non-stop film programme in English.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the Institute of Ethnology (Sandgasse 7 Room 1910) will be showing films in English: "To Find the Baruya Story" (11-12) on ethnological fieldwork in Papua New Guinea; "First Contact" (1-2 p.m.) on initial encounters with the population of the highlands of Papua New Guineas in the 1930s; and "The Sharkcallers of Kontu" (2-3 p.m.) on shark hunters in New Ireland.

The rear building of the Institute of Psychology (Hauptstrasse 47-51) promises to be a hive of activity thanks to the large number of "interactive stands" featuring with a huge range of topics and services including psychological counselling for children and families, computer-based continuing education, multimedia and vocational learning, fairness in argumentation, manspeak-womanspeak, referee errors in sports, personality tests, smoking, mobbing at work, occupational health and hygiene and much else. Though these will of course be conducted in German many of the scientists present are fluent in English and will do their best to help English-speaking guests get the most out of their visit.


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