in all spheres and dimensions of life, we are faced with the challenge of having to distinguish between reality and appearance, between fact, error and lie. One of science’s fundamental tasks is to get to the bottom of things, to sift through an abundance of apparent options in order to separate facts and verified knowledge from untruths and falsehoods. Nevertheless, science must never claim to possess truth – its very nature is to consistently question established beliefs. Even in times of “alternative facts”, science must never replace politics. This would pave the way for a scientocracy and, eventually, the dismantling of science and academic freedom. Despite the dichotomy between reality and appearance, the latter need not always carry negative connotations – in its most basic sense, it simply means “outward aspect”. 

The German equivalent “Schein” has an even greater range of definitions, from illusion and deception to visibility, splendour and brilliance. These are a few of the many different facets that our University’s researchers explore in this eleventh edition of our research journal, entitled APPEARANCE & REALITY.

I wish all readers of the new edition of RUPERTO CAROLA a stimulating and enlightening reading experience.

Prof. Dr Dr h.c. Bernhard Eitel
President of Heidelberg University

Issue 11 · December 2017