Pupils Meet Scientists: An Introduction to Research in the Life Sciences

Press Release No. 81/2013
29 April 2013
„Bertalanffy Lecture“ with neuroscientist Prof. Dr. Russell Foster from the University of Oxford

To make the frequently complex research issues and findings in the life sciences understandable to interested pupils, Heidelberg University’s Centre for Organismal Studies (COS) is presenting another event in the series of “Bertalanffy Lectures”, a forum supported by the Klaus Tschira Foundation for exchanges between pupils and scientists from various disciplines. At the invitation of the COS, renowned scientists from all over the world share their current knowledge from research at the intersection of biology, medicine and the life sciences, as well as answer questions from the participants. The next lecturer is neuroscientist Prof. Dr. Russell Foster from the University of Oxford (Great Britain), who will meet with approximately 250 pupils on 2 May 2013, with an additional event for researchers to be held 3 May 2013.

The first part of the programme (2 May) is entitled “ Do you take sleep and your body clock seriously?”. After words of welcome by Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University, the presentation will centre on the regulation of the human inner clock with a particular focus on the important function of sleep. Prof. Foster’s lecture is directed at pupils in the last years of grammar-school and students at so-called “Stützpunktschulen” that specialise in biology. Afterwards Prof. Foster and researchers from the Centre for Organismal Studies will join attendees for discussion in small groups.

The following day (3 May) is reserved for scientists of the Heidelberg research hub and includes not only the lecture, entitled “Light and Time – A New Look at the Eye”, but also provides the opportunity for intensive exchange among attendees. In this lecture, Prof. Foster will present recent results of his research on the regulation of the inner clock – among others through special light receptors in the eye. Russell Foster holds a professorship in circadian neuroscience at Brasenose College of the University of Oxford and is head of the Department of Ophthalmology.

The Centre for Organismal Studies unites zoology and plant science in a joint interdisciplinary institution, with a view to investigating the complex biological mechanisms of living systems from molecular analysis and the level of the cell to the entirety of an organism. The name of the lecture series, begun in October of last year, commemorates Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1901-1972), a significant theoretical biologist and systems theorist of the 20th century. Systems theory is a cross-disciplinary research model in which “systems” are drawn upon to describe and explain phenomena of different levels of complexity. For information on the Bertalanffy Lecture – the next event in the series is to be held on 26 and 27 September 2013 – go to

The Klaus Tschira Foundation supports the sciences, mathematics and computer science in research and teaching and provides funding for projects involving pupils. The aim of its activities is to promote public understanding and appreciation for these subjects. For information on the foundation, go to

Note to news desks:
The Bertalanffy Lectures will be held in the Ludwig von Bertalanffy lecture hall, Im Neuenheimer Feld 230, on 2 and 3 May 2013. The lectures begin at 2 pm on both days. Members of the media are cordially invited. Before the event, Prof. Dr. Joachim Wittbrodt, managing director of the Centre for Organismal Studies, will be available for inquiries or interviews. Appointments can be arranged via the press office (phone: +49 6221 54-2311).

Frederike Seibold
Centre for Organismal Studies
Phone (06221) 54-6497

Communications and Marketing
Press Office
Phone: +49 6221 54-2311

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