Thursday, October 21, 2010

Weltwissen, a German compositum directing attention to a science exhibition in Berlin

The German word Weltwissen is composed of the two nouns Welt and Wissen meaning world and knowledge, respectively. The meaning of the composed noun depends on the context in which it is used. A literal translation is knowledge of the world. But the term Weltwissen is not frequently used in every-day communication. Instead, it appears in philosophical and theoretical texts elaborating on complex processes such as human perception, cognition, and realization. With less ambiguity, the word Weltwissen became the title of an exhibition in Berlin's Martin Gropius Bau [1-3]. This show celebrates 300 years of science in Berlin by displaying real historic objects and curiosities from different historical eras—mediating Geschichtswissen, knowledge of history, in addition to the scientific themes.

Keywords: science history, research institutions, progress, abuse of science, ethics

The high points of the Berlin Year of Science:
[2] Alsison Abbott:
The light and shade of German science. Nature 7 October 2010, 467 (7316), page 660.

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