- Illuminating Absurdity -
Thank you for TEDxUniHeidelberg
on July 1st 2017 at the University of Heidelberg

Our Theme 2017

- Illuminating Absurdity -

“If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” – Albert Einstein

Our world is difficult to understand. It is not black and white, and it cannot be saved by just one project or idea. No one can grasp the meaning of the good, the bad, or everything in between. Maybe our world is absurd. But what does absurd mean? Something far from common sense – but what is common sense? What is a norm, a rule, a moral, and what roles do they play in understanding the world? Through new and inspiring ideas, we want to offer our participants an atypical view of their world. We would like to offer encouraging talks and meaningful discussions to help question and reflect our everyday lives, beliefs, and opinions.

Our Venue 2017

TEDxUniHeidelberg is proud to present the venue for our event on the 1st of July 2017:
The premises of the Marsilius Kolleg, which is a core institution of the University of Heidelberg. We are very excited about this cooperation, as the Marsilius Kolleg is dedicated to connecting different disciplines (natural sciences, life sciences, liberal arts, social sciences, and law) with the purpose of developing innovative solutions for contemporary issues. This institute recognizes the value of interdisciplinary and intergenerational discussion, and encourages this by hosting topical events and offering interesting, extracurricular courses. To find out more, visit their homepage.

Who inspired us at our first event?

Christoph Bangert - The War Photographer

Christoph Bangert is an internationally renowned photo journalist. He is specialized on reporting about areas of conflict and political events all over the world. Among other things, he reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Darfur, the Lebanon and Gaza Strip. His photographs have appeared in the New York Times, Stern and the Neue Züricher Zeitung. Also, he is an author of several books, e.g. Iraq: The Space Between (powerhouse 2007), Africa Overland (National Geographic 2013), War Porn (Kehrer 2014) and hello camel (Kehrer 2016). Christoph Bangert currently lives in Cologne with his family.

Get more info @

What is war like?

Rebekka Reinhard - The Philosopher

Dr. Rebekka Reinhard has earned her PhD from Free University Berlin with a work on contemporary American and continental philosophy ("summa cum laude"). She has worked as a philosophical counselor for individual clients as well as for in-patients suffering from depression at the clinic of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and for oncological patients. Since 2007, she has been coaching and training managers and giving key note speeches for companies and global corporations. An editor at the German magazine HOHE LUFT, she’s also well-known for her essays and interviews with famous philosophers such as Judith Butler or Simon Blackburn. Rebekka Reinhard is the bestselling author of many books on philosophy, including „Die Sinn-Diät“, „Würde Platon Prada tragen?“ („Would Plato Wear Prada?“) and „Kleine Philosophie der Macht (nur für Frauen)“ („Small Philosophy of Power: for Women Only“)

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On the Absurd

Lorenz Adlung - The Science Enthusiast

Lorenz Adlung was born in 1989 in beautiful Erfurt, Thuringia. He studied Systems Biology at Heidelberg University and is currently pursuing his PhD at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) Heidelberg. Lorenz Adlung is a true science enthusiast. He is regularly performing Science Slams, and he is an active scientific mentor at the Heidelberger Life-Science Lab at the DKFZ. Thereby, Lorenz Adlung is an untiring advocate of scientific freedom, independence and collaborations across all borders.

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Let's talk science - it saves lives

Nele Pollatschek - The Writer

Nele Pollatschek is a writer, lecturer, and researcher. In her debut novel “Das Unglück anderer Leute” (Galiani, 2016), she examined the absurdity of family and freedom. Nele studied English literature and Philosophy at the Universities of Heidelberg and Cambridge and holds a master’s degree (MSt) in literature from the University of Oxford. Also at Oxford, Nele is currently writing her doctoral thesis on the problem of evil in Victorian literature. She has taught classes on literature, creative writing, and argument structure. Nele is set to receive the Friedrich-Hölderlin-Prize for young authors.

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Correct me if I'm wrong

Florian Zinnecker - The Journalist

Florian Zinnecker, 32, started his journalistic career as a trainee at the local paper of his hometown Bayreuth, Germany. After studying Cultural Studies and Political Sciences in Lüneburg he attended Henri Nannen School of Journalism in Hamburg. Then he went back to Bayreuth as an editor for culture and the performing arts at the local daily »Nordbayerischer Kurier«. Currently he's working in the online section of »Sueddeutsche Zeitung Magazine« in Munich and is contributing to »Opernwelt« and other magazines.

Get more info @
Twitter: zinnecker

The Fate of lost grocery lists

Eileen Wagner - The Open Data Advocate

Eileen works in civic tech advocacy and is part of the team behind Code for Germany and the Prototype Fund. Her focus is on communications and content, and facilitating international exchange. She has a background in philosophy and logic, and likes to explore ways to make a difference with science and tech. She enjoys telling people about all things open.

Get more info @

From Open Data to Open Knowledge

Christian Tidona - The Biotech Entrepreneur

Christian Tidona is a serial biotech entrepreneur, business angel, and managing director at the BioMed X Innovation Center in Heidelberg, Germany. He studied molecular biology and received his doctoral degree from the University of Heidelberg. Throughout his entire professional life his focus has always been to foster innovation at the interface between academia and industry. Christian is board member of the BioRN Network and co-founder of the Health Axis Europe alliance between the European health innovation clusters in Leuven, Maastricht, Copenhagen, and Heidelberg. He is chairman of the Weizmann Young European Network (WYEN) and member of the International Board of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Christian is married and father of two children.

Get more info @
Twitter: tidona

How to reach Impact Level 9

Marta Reina-Campos - The Astrophysicist

Marta Reina-Campos, born in Barcelona in 1993, is an International Max Planck Research Fellow (IMPRS-HD) pursuing her PhD in Dr. Diederik Kruijssen's group at the Astronomisches Rechen-Institut (ZAH-ARI) at the University of Heidelberg. She studied her BsC in Physics at the University of Barcelona and her MsC in Astrophysics between the universities of Barcelona and Leiden, where she spent a semester as an Erasmus+ student. In Heidelberg, her research focuses on the formation and evolution of stellar clusters in a cosmological context, with an emphasis on understanding the formation of globular clusters through numerical simulations.

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Astrophysics or the interplay of scales

Hannes Kenngott - The Surgeon

Dr. Hannes Götz Kenngott, MSc, is surgeon and leader of the research group New Technologies and Data Science at the department for General, Visceral, and Transplantation surgery of the University Hospital Heidelberg. He is also medical project lead of the new surgical building of the University Hospital. In addition, he is co-founder of Mint Medical, the company driving the paradigm shift in radiology, oncology and clinical trials to structured and cognitive data science, diagnostics, reporting and therapy.

Get more info @
Twitter: HKenngott

Cognitive agents driving the healthcare revolution

Vera Nünning – The Literary Scholar

Vera Nünning is professor of English philology at Heidelberg University, where she also served as vice-rector for international affairs. She is an internationally renowned literary and cultural historian and narrative theorist. She has been a guest professor at various European universities, including Lisbon, Helsinki and Bergamo. As a fellow in the Institutes of Advanced Studies in Heidelberg and Mainz she conducted research projects on the cognitive value of fiction and the question of the un/reliability and trustworthiness of narrators. Many of her books on literary studies and British literature have become standard works; she also (co-)edited more than 20 volumes on narrative theory, gender studies, and cultural history. Among her most recent books are Reading Fictions, Changing Minds (2014), and Unreliable Narration and Trustworthiness (ed.) 2015.

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Contemporary Absurdities and the Power of Literature

Felix Gauger - The Magician and Moderator

Felix Gauger presents a series of modern and entertaining magic programs. With a humorous and friendly demeanor that cannot help to entertain for any occasion. Your guests will be laughing throughout the show guaranteeing a fun-filled experience!

Get more info @

Great things have been done together!

Anna Huhn

Project Coordinator, Speaker Liaison

"Ted challenges the participants to think ahead, to communicate their ideas and to work in an interdisciplinary community in order to make a difference in this absurd world."

My favourite talk
Design at the intersection of technology and biology

David Wolf

Speaker Liaison

"Bringing together inspiring people could create something great."

My favourite talk
10 ways to have a better conversation

Friederike "Fidi" Gutmann


"To me, TED stands for sharing knowledge and experiences to learn from mistakes and successes, develop absurd ideas and to find the power to work smart for your ideals because you are never the only one dreaming."

My favourite talk
A call to men

Max Richter

Technical Support, Webdesign

"Especially today it is important to bring people together and create a space for constructive discussions"

My favourite talk
How to use a paper towel

Rebecca "Becky" Alvarado

Co-Organizer, Public Relations

"It's the absurd ideas and people that envision change and act on it - and TED gives them the platform to inspire others!"

My favourite talk
My road trip through the whitest towns in America

Sebastian "Swazy" Szawiz


"Meet inspiring people and work on joint creative projects."

My favourite talk
Never, ever give up

Simon Weber


"3 Points: Ideas, Community, Inspiration"

My favourite talk
What our language habits reveal

Tim Kuhn

Speaker Liaison

"Create a platform to get inspired by interesting people and learn for life. "

My favourite talk
After watching this, your brain will not be the same

Vicky Steubler

Information Management, Fundraising

"TED(x) delivers that creative spirit, motivation and community that makes us able to go outside and move something in this world."

My favourite talk
The happy secret to better work

Annika Mehr


"By chance, I stumbled over some quite inspiring TED(x) talks and now would like to give other people the same experience, as well as having some fun while organizing it."

My favourite talk
Flex your cortex - 7 secrets to turbocharge your brain

Charlotte "Charly" Bold


"Questioning the absurdities in the world and thereby changing my perspective."

My favourite talk
More adventures in replying to spam

Julia Madeleine Heinze


"In today's rapidly changing world, things that seem absurd today may be reality tomorrow. With this Tedx event I am intrigued to be able to shed light onto some truly fascinating (absurd) ideas and share them with the Tedx community."

My favourite talk
The art of misdirection

Meike Schrader


"TED is in my opinion the perfect place to meet interesting people and sharing new ideas. As Camus said: "The realization that life is absurd cannot be an end, but only a beginning." So let's start spreading the unique TED atmosphere!"

My favourite talk
What's left to explore?

Ali Ghanem

Public Relations

"It is the novelty of perspective that intrigues me in TED talks. While facts are easily obtainable, it takes an expert to holistically approach problems and come up with creative solutions. This very invaluable trait of experts is what TED manage to bring in a smooth style."

My favourite talk
The magic washing machine

Jubin "Jubs" Shah

Public Relations

"TEDx represents idea of uniqueness, innovation and motivation of having an impact on future thoughts of people which also kind of shapes up evolution."

My favourite talk
Your body language shapes who you are

Susanne "Susi" Klein

Public Relations

"I like the idea of bringing together people with totally different backgrounds and from various disciplines to share ideas that make you think about your everyday habits and to leave your comfort zone more often."

My favourite talk
This is what happens when you reply to spam email

Tetyana "Tanya" Lemeshko

Public Relations

"Every person has a story to tell, maybe even lots of them. These are the treasures of our deepest ocean - our consciousness, which enfoldes everything we've been through, experienced, ever felt, the desires of our hearts and the state we're in now. The only way to dive in and find them though is to become a good listener to yourself and the others. And don't forget the "yourself" part, I'm sure you have a story to tell."

My favourite talk
The danger of a single story

Alexandra "Alex" Nieder

Design & Event

"As Frida Kahlo said : "What would I do without the absurd and the ephemeral?" I think dealing with the absurd is essential to keep on moving and reinvent ourselves and our surroundings. Giving this a platform TED inspired me to be a part of it!"

My favourite talk
How To Skip the Small Talk and Connect With Anyone

Lennart Hieke

Design & Event

"Stepping out of your comfort zone and meeting new people with fresh ideas and opinions. Growing as a person through collaboration and exchange of different views and beliefs."

My favourite talk
Why we do what we do

Our Premium - Partners 2017


The Marsilius Kolleg of Heidelberg University bridges the gap between sciences and humanities through meetings and joint projects, which in turn promotes understanding and cooperation between the sciences and the humanities. Founded in 2007, the Marsilius Kolleg is a central component of Heidelberg’s successful proposal granted by the Excellence Initiative, launched by the federal and state governments of Germany.

Phenex Pharmaceuticals AG

Phenex – Translating Science into Medicines
We, at Phenex, are dedicated towards developing novel, breakthrough medicines for the treatment of cancer, liver and gastrointestinal diseases. It is not just about the idea: We pick up ideas from the scientific community and let them compete with own internal approaches. Our goal is: to come up with the best possible drug to treat a so far incurable disease. Beyond the idea it is really about execution – bringing the idea from academic publication towards the patient. This requires time, patience, money and most of all: endurance! In our collaborations with Gilead and Janssen, which yielded two clinical-stage drugs, we have demonstrated that our concept works. We believe in the power of innovation and make it happen – Translating science from bench to bedside! We support Tedx for a free exchange of ideas amongst free spirits.

Studierenden Rat (StuRa)

The „Studierendenrat“ is a student council representing all students of the University of Heidelberg. It works on a federal, equal and directly democratic basis. Both representatives of the individual programs (as for example of American Studies, Geography, Biology) and representatives of university groups form a council that decides over matters concerning all students such as the application of funds or the positioning of the student body in regard of structural changes planned by the university. As a result, not only the vice chancellor will be able to make decisions about future plans, but the students will also have a say in what is happening. This is why it is important for you to go to the elections and to vote for your representatives at the StuRa.

Our Partners 2017

Accommodation for Speakers:
Holiday Inn Express

Financial Support:

Financial Support:

Kulturbrauerei Heidelberg

IT & Hosting:
Tobias Pogadl

Stage Piano:
Musikhaus Hochstein

Our Friends & Collaborators 2017

Our Heroes 2017

Mary Schweitzer

Birgit Wolf

Yvonne Steinrock (BioMedX)

This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED. Copyright © TEDxUniHeidelberg 2017. All Rights Reserved.