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17 January 2000

Studying Physics and Astronomy in Heidelberg: New CD-ROM Designed to Arouse Interest in this Fascinating Subject

New: studying physics in Heidelberg presented in a multimedia form – CD to be sent to 1,500 grammar schools in Germany over the next few weeks for distribution to interested students – Information Day 6 May 2000

Ever thought of studying physics? Over the next few weeks Heidelberg University's Faculty of Physics and Astronomy will be asking students at Germany's grammar schools this question. As an aid in making the important decision on where and what to study, the Heidelberg Faculty has produced a CD-ROM choc-a-bloc with information on what studying physics and astronomy in Heidelberg actually involves. In the next few weeks 1,500 grammar schools all over Germany will be receiving 8 copies each of the CD for distribution to interested students. Texts, images, films and the spoken word combine to provide a multi-media presentation of every conceivable aspect of a course of study at one of Germany's most eminent seats of higher learning.

Of central import is of course the description of the physics and astronomy courses themselves. Alongside more formal things like study profiles and exam regulations potential students can plug into a lecture, do an aptitude test or read a diploma thesis. The most exciting part is without doubt the section on research. The Faculty has a broad spectrum to offer, from particle physics and applications in medicine, ecological sciences and electronics all the way up to fundamental issues central to cosmology and astrophysics. All the Faculty's research groups explain their concerns on the CD, thus potentially arousing interest among its audience for specific areas of this fascinating branch of science.

The many faces of student life: CD provides a virtual tour

But there are other aspects of student life besides studying, particularly in Heidelberg. The CD provides potential applicants with information on halls of residence, university restaurants, local transport, sport, culture and many other things. Even such a crucial question as "Where can I take my mother when she comes to see me?" has real prospects of being answered to the inquirer's satisfaction. The presentation rounds off with a virtual tour of the new physics building (in the planning stage), facts and figures on the history of physics in Heidelberg, information on special courses in technical informatics and many other topics.

The CD can be used on almost any conventional computer with an Internet browser. There is no need for an Internet connection. But students with access to the Net can additionally click up information directly from Heidelberg or exchange e-mails with Faculty members.

Interested students who have not received a CD from their schools can order a copy from the Faculty, enclosing a DM 2,20 stamp for postage with their order (do not send stamped addressed envelopes). There are also plans to distribute the CD at this year's CEBIT trade fair in Hanover. In addition the Faculty is holding an Information Day on 6 May 2000 called "The Proof of the Pudding". Information on this event can be found at

Why go to all this trouble?

An advertising campaign of these dimensions is unexampled in the history of German universities. Why is it necessary? Paradoxically, at a time when career prospects in science and technology have never been so good, the student figures in the relevant subjects are falling off or at best stagnating. Physics graduates are sought-after and highly-qualified all-rounders with a wide range of knowledge and skills. Internationalisation in their research field means of course that physicists need to be conversant with the new media and with foreign languages. How many people know that the invention of the WorldWideWeb is essentially the achievement of particle physics? So physicists are much in demand on the labour market. But what's equally or even more important: physics is exciting and can be a lot of fun! Getting this message across in schools is the main aim of the Heidelberg CD-ROM.

This campaign is supported by the German Physics Society (DPG) in the framework of its Physics Year 2000 activities and by the Springer publishing company. With 1,300 students, 45 professors and an annual output of some 200 diploma theses and 100 doctoral dissertations, Heidelberg's Faculty of Physics and Astronomy is one of the largest in Germany.

The CD-ROM can be ordered from the following address: Fakultät für Physik und Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg (CD-ROM), Albert-Ueberle-Str. 11, D-69120 Heidelberg phone: 06221/549298, fax: 06221/549347

Please address requests for further information to:
Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Meier
Kirchhoff-Institut für Physik
Universität Heidelberg
Schröderstrasse 90
phone: 06221/544335, fax: 06221/544917

or to:
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 542317

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