The German Physical Society (DPG) hosts a scientific symposium and a public evening lecture in Berlin and online (hybrid event) on the topic of

“Science and Diplomacy: The physical community in the post-war period until today”

on Monday, 24 April 2023

The event gathers superb historians of science, peace researchers and representatives from the German Federal Foreign Office such as Prof. Dr. Götz Neuneck, Prof. Dr. Arne Schirrmacher, Prof. Dr. Maria Rentetzi and Dr. Roberto Lalli.



Symposium and Public Evening Lecture

Modern science, and physics in particular, is increasingly based on international cooperation. Historically, this trend is reflected in organisations such as the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, which celebrates its centenary this year, the International Council of Scientific Unions, founded in 1931, or the Pugwash Conferences, which began in 1957. Research centres such as CERN, ISS, ITER and SESAME have been created with collaboration in their DNA.

It is only in the 21st century that the concept of science diplomacy has become a common term for this inherent international nature of modern science. But what do we mean when we talk about science diplomacy? Where does it come from? How can research in history and science studies help us to understand its nature? What misunderstandings can arise about the concept? And how should we, as physicists, engage in science diplomacy today, knowing its power, pitfalls and problems?
Against the backdrop of numerous global challenges and conflicts, including confrontation and war in Europe, the symposium and the evening lecture at the Magnus Haus aim to be a first step towards a broader debate on the role and possibilities of scientists and scientific associations such as the DPG in science diplomacy.

Unfortunately, most of the event will be in German with the exception of the first panel.


Panel I. On the postwar history of Science Diplomacy (15:30-16:30)

From diplomacy to physics and back again: The changing roles of IUPAP in the second half of the 20th century
Ass.-Prof. Dr. Roberto Lalli (Politecnico di Torino/MPI Berlin)

Pugwash and the ‘German question’ in the 1960s Cold War: The limits and challenges of operating in the diplomatic realm
Dr. Alison Kraft (MPI für Wissenschaftsgeschichte Berlin)


The event will be hybrid. The evening lecture can be visited separately.

Find out more here:


Scientific Symposium and Public Evening Lecture by the German Physical Society (DPG)