The Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies provides science journalists the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of computer-based, data-driven science through a residence at the institute. Candidates from six continents applied for the position in 2018, and a jury selected Kerstin Hoppenhaus (Berlin, Germany). The award-winning science journalist intends to use her stay to develop new media formats suitable for making the complexity of “big data” accessible to laypeople.
German science journalist Kerstin Hoppenhaus will be the “Journalist in Residence” at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) until December 2018. The program provides science journalists from all over the world the opportunity to deepen their knowledge of computer-based, data-driven science with a residence at the institute. Candidates from six continents applied for the position in 2018. A jury consisting of science journalists and scientists from universities, Max Planck Institutes, and HITS selected Kerstin Hoppenhaus to be the “HITS Journalist in Residence 2018.”
Hoppenhaus studied Biology in Mainz, Tübingen, Jena (Germany), and Lyon (France) in addition to studying directing at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in Ludwigsburg. Since 2005, she has worked as a freelance director of documentaries, research projects, and online endeavors. She is also co-editor of an e-book on the role of online videos in science journalism and science communication.
“Media formats that are suited to grasping the complexity of data”
Kerstin Hoppenhaus arrived at the institute in July. She used the opportunity to meet the HITS researchers from different groups on several occasions, including at the open house event and at an internal interdisciplinary meeting. “I would like to use my stay to better understand the interplay between science and data,” Hoppenhaus stated. “On this basis, my goal is to develop new media formats that are suited to grasping the complexity of the new fields or data and make them accessible to laypeople.”
During her time at the institute, Hoppenhaus intends to discuss areas of conflict between science and society in an internal seminar with HITS researchers. Moreover, there will be a public talk on the media transfer of scientific topics to the public. Finally, Hoppenhaus will visit the numerous university and extramural research institutes in Heidelberg.
A program for experienced science journalists
Since 2012, the “Journalist in Residence” program has offered experienced journalists who focus on science journalism the opportunity to spend a three-to-six-month paid stay at HITS. During this time, the journalists can interact with research groups, implement their own projects, and participate in internal colloquia and seminars held by HITS researchers.
Thus far, seven journalists (from India, the U.S., Spain, and Germany) have enjoyed a fellowship at HITS (more information: https://www.h-its.org/en/press/journalist-in-residence-program/alumni/). The next residence opening for the program will become available in the summer of 2019.
HITS is a private, non-profit basic research institute founded by the Klaus Tschira Foundation in 2010. Currently, around 120 scientists from 20 countries work at HITS in eleven research groups (ranging from Molecular Biology to Astrophysics) in areas that produce and process large numbers of data. One of the institute’s aims is to make the public more aware of the importance of computer-based, data-driven science, especially in the natural sciences.
Dr. Peter Saueressig
Head of Communications
Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS)