Ca' Foscari Public Lectures, Jürgen Renn on September 25th

“History of Science in the Anthropocene” will be the title of Jürgen Renn’s Ca’ Foscari Public Lecture, Director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.

On September 25th, 2019, at 10.30 a.m. in the Aula Baratto, Renn, a world renowned scholar of the history of knowledge, will talk about the evolution of science in the Anthropocene, the geological era that began with the industrial revolution in the 18th century, an epoch characterized by the significant human impact on the planet.


Welcome address
Michele Bugliesi
Rector Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

Shaul Bassi
Director International Center for the Humanities
and Social Change
Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

La lecture will be held in English. Please confirm your participation to the event by writing an email to

Renn studied Physics at the Free University of Berlin and at the Sapienza University of Rome. In 1987 he received his Ph.D in Mathematical physics from the Technical University of Berlin. Between 1986 and 1992 he worked as co-editor of the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein at Boston University.
Between 1991 and 1996 he co-directed with Peter Damerow the “Arbeitsstelle Albert Einstein” at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.
In 1993/94 he was visiting professor at Tel Aviv University and at the ETH Zurich. Since its founding in 1994 Renn is director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.

Renn is honorary professor for History of Science at both the Humboldt University of Berlin and
the Free University of Berlin. Since 1998 he is Adjunct Professor for Philosophy and Physics at Boston University. He is a member of the Academy of Sciences Leopoldina as well as of further national and international scientific and editorial boards. In 2011 he won the Premio Anassilaos International. In 2014, he won the ESHS Neuenschwander Prize and the Premio Internazionale Marco & Alberto Ippolito and was awarded the Max Planck Communitas Award and the Francis Bacon Award.

Jürgen Renn, together with his group, researches structural changes in systems of knowledge. The aim is to develop a theoretical understanding of knowledge evolution, taking into account its epistemic, social, and material dimensions.
As groundwork for such a theoretical approach to the history of knowledge, he has been studying some of the great transformations of systems of physical knowledge, such as the origin of theoretical science in antiquity, the emergence of classical mechanics in the early modern period, and the revolutions of modern physics in the early 20th century.

In addition to this longitudinal perspective on the evolution of knowledge, he and his collaborators have
developed a transversal approach, studying dissemination and transformation processes of knowledge across cultural boundaries.

He has been engaged from the very start in the Digital Humanities and the Open Access Movement. He is a co-initiator of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities launched by the MPG in 2003 and has created, together with his colleagues, the Edition Open Access platform for open access publication.