I am particularly interested in the dialogue between the two branches of academia, the humanities and the natural sciences, which has also shaped my career path.
I studied electrical engineering and Protestant theology in each of the two branches of academia. This was followed by a research project at the Lower Saxony Chamber of Engineers and a dissertation in theology on the question of how engineers can combine their professional activities with ethical insights. As a research assistant and later as managing director of the Science Forum at the Social Democrat Party's executive board in Berlin, research policy issues came to the fore.
I have been working at the Academy since 2002, initially as one of the directors of studies, and since 2005 I have been director of the Academy. My subject area at the Academy is science and ethics. The dialogue between the natural sciences and the humanities, theology and ethics is an essential aspect of this area. In addition, I deal with questions of medical and technological development.
What interests me most about the dialogue between the natural sciences and theology is the question of how we approach reality. The natural sciences have been incredibly successful in recent centuries, but their view does not provide the full picture of reality. Here a theology based on biblical traditions is challenged to make its own contribution. It is crucial to find a convincing language for a description of reality determined by a Christian point of view, which also proves itself in everyday life and leads to new insights. It would be fatal if the description of reality were left to the natural and technical sciences alone, and theology being limited to questions of interpretation of texts. With such a withdrawal, the critical question about the relevance of faith for our lives would be ever more difficult to answer.
Many of the conference projects that I carry out at the Academy are therefore devoted in one way or another to the topic of describing reality.
Dr. Frank Vogelsang
Bonn, May 2016