The Science Year 2022 is a very special one: For the first time, it’s not about a specific topic. Instead, all citizens are invited to ask their personal questions and make suggestions for potential future fields of study and future research projects.
For this purpose and on the occasion of the birthday of physicist Albert Einstein on March 14 - the international “Ask a Question Day” - First Mayor Fabian Mayer and the Rector of the University of Stuttgart, Prof. Wolfram Ressel, inaugurated a box in the Stuttgart Town Hall in which such questions will be collected. Rector Ressel said: “Science and research are present in all areas of our lives. Whether it’s the growing importance of algorithms in everyday life or tackling climate change: We have to face major challenges that we can only overcome together. The University of Stuttgart is pleased to get involved by hosting numerous events. It will be very exciting to take up and reflect upon the citizens’ questions in the process.”
With the symbolic starting signal, Mayer and Ressel brought to mind that the Stuttgart metropolitan area is not just a business location, but also a hub for excellent research. Both agreed that engaging with research findings and bringing the citizens’ own perspectives to the table is key in this process. It’s precisely the collaborative dialog between citizens, politicians, and academics that is gaining importance. The question box is also an initiative and a reference to the 2nd Stuttgart Science Festival, which is organized by the city of Stuttgart. With the festival, the city and the scientific community take another step toward a dialog: From June 23 to July 2, the festival will provide the opportunity to experience science while “asking questions” along the lines of the Science Year 2022.
First Mayor Mayer considers the symbolic inauguration of the question box to be the first step toward deepening the dialog process during the Science Festival: “The city of Stuttgart wants to position itself as a city of science. Here, we are building the future – in cooperation with business and science. This year, the focus will be on the topic of science thanks to the large number of events. We will also take up the citizens’ questions and initiate a broad-based dialog.”
Direct your question to the scientific community
The questions to the scientific community are now being collected and analyzed. By April 15, they will be included in a nationwide pool of ideas for subsequent evaluation. The result will be a paper which will be handed over to scientists and politicians.
Mayer and Ressel ask every citizen of Stuttgart: “Get involved – with your questions, you can actively participate in research policy. Ask questions, in digital or in analog form!” Mayer expects an active participation. “I’m confident that the citizens of Stuttgart will have many interesting questions for science, with new suggestions.” Ressel is pleased that the University of Stuttgart was able to establish the project “Fragen an KollegIn KI” (“Questions to Colleague AI”) within the framework of the Science Year: “Starting a dialog with the citizens about the risks and opportunities of a technology like Artificial Intelligence is something I find particularly important. That’s part of our European, democratic identity.” The ideas and suggestions from the Stuttgart citizens will be discussed in a public debate series “Fragen an KollegIn KI”.
The question box will be located in the lobby on the ground floor of the Stuttgart Town Hall from March 14 – the action day of the Science Year – to April 15. More boxes can be found, for example, in the State Library of Württemberg, the Hospitalhof Stuttgart, the district town hall in Stuttgart-Vaihingen, the Treffpunkt Rotebühlplatz cultural institution, the Gebrüder Schmidt Center, and in the Merlin Cultural Center. Citizens can also submit their questions digitally at any time. There is a QR code on each of the question boxes: Fragen an KollegIn KI [de].
Elke Uhl, University of Stuttgart, International Center for Cultural and Technological Studies, Tel.: 0711 685-82379, E-Mail