German Book: (Title translated into English) “The other Culture – what you should know from the Natural Sciences”

“The other Culture ­what you should know from the Natural Sciences”

Professor Fischer is an exceptional person: Physicist by training; Ph. D. in biology, Ca1ifornia Institute of Technology, Supervisor Max Delbrück; habilitation in history of science ­ and writer by passion. We are impressed indeed by his literary work as a whole but the present prize is mainly for his recent book of 2001: “Die andere Bildung ­ was man von den Naturwissenschaften wissen sollte” (“The other Culture ­ what you should know from the Natural Sciences”).

This volume became a bestseller mainly for the reason that Fischer does not describe the major facts and events of science; rather he tells stories about the process of scientific discovery and the persons and topics involved. Even though his style is narrative and his field is wide, his tales are precise, up to the point and correct in essence.

With his thorough knowledge and his noble diction Fischer has influenced the ongoing debate about the two academic cultures ­ scientific and literary ­ in a decidedly positive way: He avoids deepening the gap between the two cultures; rather, he builds bridges and aims at a synthesis. His essays about the great men in science ­ Aristotle, Leonardo, Kepler, Galileo, Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, Delbrück… must be read and understood as a homage to the creative mind as such. His remarks on Rilke indicate a deep sympathy for great poetry . Indeed, Fischer does not make a difference between discovery and creation: “Scientists and poets represent in the same way the wondrous heights of our culture”.

We presume that Eduard Rhein imagined people like Peter Fischer when he established his prize. In any case, we believe that Fischer is a highly respectable candidate deserving the prize.

Prof. Dr. Dr.h.c.mult. Hans Mohr,
Universität Freiburg