28 October – MATH+ @Humboldt Forum: “Improving the World with Mathematics?”


As part of the science series MitWissenschaft, the Cluster of Excellence MATH+ presented selected research topics in the sold-out lecture hall of the Humboldt Forum on 28 October 2021. Under the heading “Improving the world with mathematics? New solutions for the problems of an increasingly complex world”, the audience listened to short presentations from MATH+ scientists.


The world is becoming increasingly complex, digitization is advancing, and ever-greater volumes of data are being produced every day. How can we use this data to tackle significant challenges facing our society or contribute to progress, such as sustainable energy supply, individualized medicine, or the analysis of social processes? For years, Berlin has been a first-class address for application-oriented mathematics. Within the framework of the cross-institutional and interdisciplinary Cluster of Excellence MATH+, scientists are developing new approaches in application-oriented mathematics to find solutions for the benefit of society.


The MATH+ Chairs, Christof Schütte (FU Berlin, ZIB) and Martin Skutella (TU Berlin) explained the goals and challenges of such a large research center involving the three major Berlin universities (FU, HU, TU Berlin) and two mathematical research institutes (WIASZIB), and the MATH+ Managing Director, Nadja Wisniewski, talked about the scope of the graduate program. Then, seven MATH+ scientists presented selected aspects of the research spectrum and the mathematical process within specific interdisciplinary projects:

  • As an example of the collaboration with Life SciencesFrank Noé (FU Berlin) explained mathematical support in drug design and Edda Klipp (HU Berlin) talked about the use of agent-based mathematical modeling in simulating the spread of COVID19.
  • Gabriele Steidl (TU Berlin) presented how Artificial Intelligence is used in mathematical image processing, and Sebastian Pokutta (TU Berlin/ZIB) talked about how AI makes decisions.
  • How mathematics can change Mobility, e.g., in ICE rotation optimizations, was shown by Ralf Borndörfer (FU Berlin/ZIB), while Caroline Geiersbach (WIAS) discussed Energy Markets and their risks.
  • Sarah Wolf (FU Berlin) introduced the science communication format “Decision Theatre” using the example of sustainable mobility.


The German radio journalist and RBB TV presenter Volker Wieprecht led through the program and moderated the questions coming from the audience.

the science series of the Humboldt Forum, dedicated its first season to Berlin’s seven Clusters of Excellence that have contributed to the exhibition of the Humboldt Lab After Nature.


Read more about the event and get more information about the participating MATH+ members