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Invisible hands, Brexit, the language of soccer, Church in crisis

The latest edition of the Freiburg University newspaper uni’leben is out now

Freiburg, May 07, 2019

Invisible hands, Brexit, the language of soccer, Church in crisis

Photo: Max Orlich

Touching the right nerve

Freiburg researchers working with their colleagues in Italy and Switzerland have developed a system of sensory feedback that uses electrostimulation to give hand-amputees the feeling of a hand. Videos made with test persons allow us to see how they can pick up objects with a prosthesis, moving them from one side to another; or how a woman puts on lipstick with a prosthetic hand just as if it were part of her body. The material, according to Professor Dr. Thomas Stieglitz – head of the Biomedical Microtechnology lab at the Institute of Microsystems Engineering – must be composed so that the body’s responses to a foreign body are kept to a minimum. The long-term goal is to develop an implant which can remain in the body permanently. 
Article (German)


Keep calm and study on

Brexit is coming. But when? Or maybe not, after all? Four University of Freiburg members describe the effects this seemingly endless in-or-out debate have had on their work and on the university. Christian Jäger, who heads the university’s EU Office, remains calm with regards to the initial effects of Brexit. Mediaevalist Henrike Lähnemann, who teaches as a professorin in Oxford, England, and in Freiburg, says the vote to leave had little to do with Europe. Sean Haworth, who works at the Service Center Studium, has now become a German as well as a British citizen in the wake of the Brexit vote. And Jordan Ferria, who is doing a doctorate within an EU program and for that reason lives in Cambridge, England, has taken care to exchange his savings into euros.
Article (German)


The fascination of jargon

Not everyone who reads a sentence like “Kroos hammered home the leather [...] for a cold-blooded 3:0,” can make much sense of it. How do these new versions of language arise? Questions like this are the focus of research for Dr. Göz Kaufmann, Privatdozent and linguist, and his students. In the Master’s seminar “The language of soccer,” they used academic texts to dig out faded imagery and wordplay, analyzed them, and compared them with current usage on a four-day excursion to Schalke in Gelsenkirchen. Kaufmann says the fascinating thing for him is observing how expressions and metaphors from the world of soccer are used in everyday conversation. Even in politics, soccer provides juicy soundbites time and again - for instance, when it was said the Social Democrats’ losses were reminiscent of Hamburg club HSV, Kaufmann says. 
Article (German)


Crisis of celibacy

Recently, Magnus Striet, Professor of Fundamental Theology at the University of Freiburg, called for the end of compulsory celibacy for priests. He said fewer and fewer men were prepared to take up the priesthood under these conditions, for which there are “no convincing reasons,” Striet said. He therefore finds it “regrettable, when the Catholic Church continues to weaken itself in the cause of compulsory celibacy.” These comments brought him much attention and criticism. That’s part of the job, he says. His understanding of his role as a theologian obliges him to express his view publicly, he says. “I can take the pressure,” he adds. It is about more than making a one-off provocative demand. Striet sees the church in an existential crisis.
Article (German)


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Judith Burggrabe
Uni’leben editor
University of Freiburg
Phone: 0761/203-96769