Dynamism and Breakthroughs

Innovation needs talent. This puts the TUM in a good position. The best minds in the world meet each other here. Motivated students meet brilliant researchers from Germany and abroad. After graduation, our alumni carry the “spark of science” into the industrial world, as was the wish of my predecessor Karl Max von Bauernfeind, founding director of our university 150 years ago. Our alumni bring back their experiences from industry and society to their alma mater and ensure an exchange between scientific research and its practical application. Thus, the scientific invention meets the innovation of the markets.

For the third time in a row, Reuters ranked the TUM among the top 10 most innovative universities in Eu- rope. In researching artificial intelligence, our university ranks sixth worldwide, according to Times Higher Ed- ucation Supplement. To keep things that way, and to hold these top positions for the next 150 years, we have to accept the challenges of the most difficult technical questions of our time. Today, we are at the forefront of electromobility, but also avant-garde approaches to aviation and aerospace, whose initial breakthroughs and technologies were developed over 100 years ago right here by Aurel Vlaicu and Claude Dornier. Our phy- sicians at Rechts der Isar Hospital transplanted two entire donor arms to an accident victim, opening a new chapter in medical history.

Cutting-edge research in artificial intelligence

During our anniversary year, we founded the Munich School of Robotics and Machine Intelligence (MSRM). Machines will not replace us, but will make our lives easier as “machine intelligence” increases. The TUM will play a key role in shaping this development. The MSRM’s founding director is the internationally re- nowned engineer and computer scientist Professor Sami Haddadin, himself a TUM Alumnus (Degree 2005, Master 2009). He is now bringing his extensive exper- tise back to his alma mater.

The interdisciplinary combination of subjects and the easy exchange of research data and experience are one of the great strengths of the TUM. Technology must always refer back to humans – it is there for peo- ple, not for itself. We hence integrate the humanities and social sciences, including political science, into our agenda. As a university, we need to keep moving to attract tal- ented individuals from home and abroad and to equip the younger generation to tackle the challenges ahead. TUM is launching a new B.Sc. study program and six new Master’s degree courses this winter semester. These include the first two programs from the TUM School of Management at the new TUM Heilbronn Campus and another at the Straubing Campus for Bio- technology and Sustainability, which has been fully in- tegrated into TUM since October 2017.

Europe’s largest and most modern sports campus

Exercise and nutrition are the most important, comple- mentary preventative factors for staying healthy. Provid- ing a foundation for science and promulgating it are the tasks of any university with the core faculties. This places the TUM in a unique position within Germany. Here, experts from the fields of sports science, nutrition science and medicine can perform research together. Faced with an exponentially growing world population, we must de- velop science, technology and medicine. In a prosperous country with high life expectancy, we must make our con- tribution to ensuring that scientific and technical progress also serves the greater good of people in less fortunate conditions. The TUM sees development on the African continent as a great task for the future and is approaching this challenge with our various skills. We are already closely connected with Africa in numerous fields of research and teaching. Last year, we introduced the new prototype of the aCar, an electric car for Africa. This vehi- cle is affordable for people in Africa, is all-terrain and can carry large loads. The TUM’s commitment to Africa will be presented to the public in a symposium this jubilee year. The initiative comes from the interdisciplinary circle TUM Emeriti of Excellence and addresses a topic that has be- come of utmost importance in European and world poli- tics (p. 69 in this issue). Heavily supported by the Free State of Bavaria and the federal and state-level Excel- lence Initiative, we are able to work alongside the world’s best partners and competitors thanks to recent compre- hensive and far-reaching reforms. Nevertheless, the com- petition for the brightest minds starts every day. Here, generous donors and patrons help us. They have donated a total of 50 million euros to the recently established TUM University Foundation. Alumni couple Gabriele and Rob- ert Hertle (interview on p. 40) are amongst recent donors.

Well-equipped for the future

Other alumni contribute their extraordinary experience to our university and support the personal and profession- al development of the younger generation. We constantly benefit from this and are proud of it. You can get to know seven alumni with outstanding CVs in this issue. Starting on page 10, you can learn what motivates them to go their own way and why, like the TUM, they will never stop.

The next 150 years are waiting for us. Let’s continue to carry the “spark of science” into the world together!

Warmly yours

Wolfgang A. Herrmann

President (Degree Chemistry 1971)

Picture: TUM President Wolfgang A. Herrmann and Minister of Science Marion Kiechle laid the foundations for the new TUM Campus in the Olympic Park in May 2018. A lot is happening at the TUM during our jubilee year. “A university without a construction site is not a university,” said the President (Photo: Astrid Eckert/TUM).

This article was published in KontakTUM 2/2018

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Motive: fotolia.de/emuck; Graphics: dietrabanten, Munich;