Posts Tagged ‘Albert Einstein’

Berlin’s Prestigious Humboldt University

Monday, August 1st, 2016

 

Humboldt University on Unter den Linden boulevard is one of Berlin’s oldest universities. Twenty-nine Nobel Prize winners studied here. Founded in 1810, Humboldt University is one of the most prestigious universities in Europe and has produced many of Germany’s greatest scholars, including the physicists Albert Einstein and Max Planck and the Grimm brothers who are known as the fairy tale brothers.

History of Humboldt University

Initially, the university was simply known as Universitaet zu Berlin (University of Berlin). After 1828, it was called Friedrich-Wilhelm-Universitaet (Frederick William University) in honor of King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia. During the Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945, many Jewish professors were fired, numerous doctorates were withdrawn and political opponents of Nazis were expelled from the university. Following the division of Berlin in 1945, the university ended up in the Soviet sector of the city and came under the ideological control of the Socialist Unity Party of East Germany. A year later, in 1949, the university was renamed Humboldt-Universitaet in honor of its founder Wilhelm von Humboldt and his brother Alexander von Humboldt.

After the collapse of the East German regime in 1989 and the reunification of Germany, the university was radically reorganized. It now consists of three campuses: Campus Mitte, Campus Nord and Campus Adlershof. The university’s main building (Campus Mitte) houses the humanities, law, business and economics departments. It is located in the center of Berlin on the boulevard of Unter den Linden. Campus Nord is located close to the main train station and houses the life sciences and the university medical center, the Charité,. Natural sciences, computer sciences and mathematics are located at Campus Adlershof in the southeastern part of Berlin.

Wilhelm von Humboldt 1767-1835

Wilhelm von Humboldt was a Prussian philosopher, diplomat and linguist. He became one of the most influential men in German education. He set up a standardized system of instruction from basic through secondary education. The structure of German research-intensive universities, such as Humboldt, served as model for institutions like Johns Hopkins University. Wilhelm von Humboldt also standardized state examinations and inspections and founded the Humboldt University of Berlin in 1810.

Alexander von Humboldt 1769-1859

Wilhelm von Humboldt’s younger brother, Alexander, was a famous geographer, naturalist, and explorer. He formed important theories on magnetism, volcanicity, seismology and tectonics. Expeditions to collect comparative data for his scientific publications took Alexander von Humboldt all over the world, including Spain, Spanish America, Chile, Peru, Granada, Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba, the Andes, the United States and Russia.

1883 Statue of Alexander von Humboldt in front of Humboldt University's Campus Mitte. The Spanish inscription calls him "the second discoverer of Cuba". Photo © J. Elke Ertle, 2016, www.walled-in-berlin.com

1883 Statue of Alexander von Humboldt in front of Humboldt University’s Campus Mitte. The Spanish inscription calls him “the second discoverer of Cuba”. Photo © J. Elke Ertle, 2016, www.walled-in-berlin.com

 

For a sneak peek at the first 20+ pages of my memoir, “Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom,” click “Download a free excerpt” on the home page of http://www.walled-in-berlin.com

cluttered desk – cluttered mind?

Monday, March 16th, 2015

If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what then, is an empty desk a sign?

–Albert Einstein

 

For a sneak peek at the first 20+ pages of my memoir, Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom, click “Download a free excerpt” on the home page of http://www.walled-in-berlin.com. Walled-In is a story of growing up in Berlin during the Cold War.

 

Germany’s Fascination With the American Wild West

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

My early fascination with the American Wild West was probably due to books by Karl May. This prolific German writer had published many adventure novels in the late 1800s and early 1900s. In the mid-1900s, his books were still extremely popular. Even Albert Einstein, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Franz Kafka, filmmaker Fritz Lang, and Hermann Hesse loved Karl May stories. http://www.goethe.de/ins/gb/lp/prj/mtg/typ/win/en4769564.htm

This writer influenced my image of Native Americans so much that growing up in Germany, I dressed up as an American Indian at many of our annual Fasching (carnival) parties.

Karl Friedrich May (1842-1912)

Karl May published over 70 novels. The plots were set in the Orient, Middle East or the American Wild West. To date, more than 200 million copies of his books have been printed. Such a large number is “otherwise associated with dictators or the founders of religions — or J. K. Rowling with her Harry Potter series.” http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/marking-the-100th-anniversary-of-german-cult-author-karl-may-s-death-a-824566.html.

Karl Friedrich May (1842-1912) authored books about the American Wild West

Karl Friedrich May (1842-1912) authored books about the American Wild West

Winnetou and Old Shatterhand

Karl May is best known for creating the characters of the noble Apache chief, Winnetou, and his honorable German blood brother, Old Shatterhand. The plot takes the reader to the American Wild West, where the life of the Native Americans is threatened due to the construction of the transcontinental railroad. Old Shatterhand (a German immigrant whose birthday name is Karl) works as a surveyor for paleface bosses. His job is to plot the rail line through Arizona. His superiors never consulted the Apaches before grabbing their land. Winnetou captures Old Shatterhand and threatens to execute him unless he can beat an Apache warrior in hand-to-hand combat. Old Shatterhand takes on Winnetou’s father, wins the fight, but spares the man’s life. From then on, Winnetou and Old Shatterhand are fast friends and team up to fight white man’s exploitation.

Winnetou is portrayed as brave, loyal, humble and generous while Native Americans are depicted as innocent victims of white law-breakers. Old Shatterhand gives the impression of a German super-cowboy. This image ran so deep in Germany in the 1960s that we played “Robbers and Indians,” not “Cowboys and Indians.”

Did Karl May write from experience?

An interesting aside to Karl May’s adventure novels about the American Wild West is that he never actually visited the Southwest. Years after having written his popular books, he finally travelled to America. But on that brief trip he visited only typical tourist attractions and carried only standard guidebooks. Karl May must have possessed lots and lots of imagination because he created a world that fascinated scores of young and mature adults for many years, using nothing more than maps, travel accounts and guidebooks, anthropological and linguistic studies to do it.

 

 

For a sneak peek at the first 20+ pages of my memoir, Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom, click “Download a free excerpt” on the home page of http://www.walled-in-berlin.com. Walled-In is a story of growing up in Berlin during the Cold War.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

some people appear bright…

Monday, July 7th, 2014

We all know that light travels faster than sound. That’s why certain people appear bright until you hear them speak. — Albert Einstein

 

For a sneak peek at the first 20+ pages of my memoir, Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom, click “Download a free excerpt” on the home page of http://www.walled-in-berlin.com. Walled-In is a story of growing up in Berlin during the Cold War.