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Exhibition on Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz

Press Release No. 136/2011
9 May 2011
Exhibits in Heiliggeistkirche include working replicas of mechanical calculators

The life and work of polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716) are the subject of an exhibition presented in Heidelberg’s Heiliggeistkirche by Heidelberg University’s Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science from 19 May to 2 June 2011. The show consists of some 40 text and picture panels. Visitors can also marvel at a dozen working models, including replicas of the calculating machines that Leibniz invented. The exhibition, initially conceived by mathematicians at Hanover University, opens with a vernissage at Heiliggeistkirche on 18 May.

Leibniz spent much of his life working in Hanover and is one of the great polymaths of the Enlightenment period. In the second half of the 17th century his impact on almost all areas of contemporary knowledge – from theology and mathematics to engineering – was immense and lasting. “Among other things, the design and the brilliant construction of decimal and binary calculators make Leibniz one of the direct ancestors of present-day scientific computing,” enthuses Dr. Martin Rheinländer of the Institute of Applied Mathematics. “Scientific computing is an interface discipline combining mathematics and computer science with various application-oriented subjects devoted to the computer-based calculation and simulation of complicated natural and technological processes.”

At the official opening in the church on 18 May, Jürgen Gottschalk of Hamburg University will give a short lecture in “baroque” German entitled “The Famulus and His Lord”. In the main speech, exhibition curator Prof. Dr. Erwin Stein of Hanover University will discuss “Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, the Polymath”. The vernissage begins at 5:15 p.m.

The exhibition “Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz: Philosopher, Theologian, Mathematician, Physicist, Technologist” at Heiliggeistkirche is part of the programme marking the 625th anniversary of Heidelberg University. It was organised by the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, with support from the Mathematics Center Heidelberg (MATCH) and the Heiliggeist City-Church coordination team. The exhibition is open every day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except during church services/events). Guided tours, especially for school classes, can be requested by calling 06221/548972.

Note for news desks
There will be a preliminary viewing of the exhibition for journalists on 18 May. If interested, please get in touch with Dr. Martin Rheinländer.

Dr. Martin Rheinländer
Institute of Applied Mathematics
phone: +49 6221 548972

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phone: +49 6221 542311

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