Contact Address:
Prof. Dr. Klaus Mecke
Institut für Theoretische Physik
Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Staudtstraße 7
91058 Erlangen
Phone: +49-9131-85 28441
Fax: +49-9131-85 28444

Contact Address:
Dr. Aura Heydenreich
Germanistik und Komparatistik
Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Bismarckstraße 1b
91054 Erlangen
Phone: +49-9131-85 22978

Working Group IV

Open Questions around 2000 – Particles and Cosmos


  • Heydenreich (German Philology)
  • Kley (American Literary Studies)
  • Meusburger (Physics/Mathematics)
  • Wilms (Astronomy)

Research goals

Because of its contemporary relevance, this working group is necessarily arranged along less clearly defined lines – “Dark energy“, “God particles“, “Supersymmetry“, “Strings“ and “Loops“ are metaphors for possible answers to the unsolved problems of modern physics. We are perplexed with regards to the universe’s accelerating expansion, we do not know from where matter has its mass, and we fail to understand why symmetries between elementary particles are “broken”. With “particles and cosmos“, physicists outline a field in which they depend on narrative speculations, because experimental observations are not available and mathematical constructions are not without contradiction. Whereas we celebrate the „quanta“ and „curved space“ discovered 100 years ago as a revolution in the understanding of particles, we don’t understand what the “quanta of curved space” actually signify. “Quantum geometry“ poses conceptual problems for physicists who come up with fictional images in order to explore the possibilities of what is conceivable. At these open points of intersection the modes of mathematical and verbal literary expression meet and will be the issues of our working group.