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Thinking without Limits

Nothing is very far away in Jena. One can live nestled in a forested area and can be in the center of the city in a matter of minutes, and vice versa. There are no clear-cut borders, neither urban nor intellectual. There are shortcuts in Jena, even in the figurative sense: through personal connections amoung the scientists/academics themselves and also between academics and the authorities of both: city and economy/business. In this manner, proposals for research and teaching receive a speedy and uncomplicated jump-start – and creativity can run wild. Many Jenaer academics attest to the fact that there are no mental restictions here, and they utilize this freedom for innovative projects above and beyond departmental limitations.

Rooted inTradition, Focused on the Future

The constant production of new ideas, or the reevaluation of the known – that is a main strength of this 1558 founded University on the Saale, the only university in the state of Thuringia with allmost all subjects. With the backing of great names such as Goethe, Schiller, Döbereiner, Hegel, Fichte, Schelling, Haeckel, Abbe and Zeiss, this "High School" founded by the provincial ruler Johann Friedrich I now presents itself as a modern university whose academics from varied disciplines belong to the elite researchers on the cutting edge of their respective fields.

Example Ecology

Take, for example, Ecology: This field has its beginnings in Jena, literally. Afterall, it was here that, in 1866, the term ecology was first coined by Ernst Haeckel in order to define a new branch of biology dealing with the interactions between organisms and their environment. Currently, doctoral candidates, collaborators and graduate students of the university's Institute of Ecology are devoting special attention to the areas of biodiversity, evolutionary behavioral ecology, polar ecology, sucession reasearch and the application of multivariant statistics for ecosystem analysis. A center of ecological research for the whole of Germany has formed here, owing in part to the two Max-Plank Institutes for Chemical Ecology (founded in 1996) and Biochemistry (founded in 1997).

Further "decendants" of Ernst Haeckel are organized in institutions within as well as apart from the research campus Beutenberg and the Bioinstrumente Jena e.V. Working in conjunction with the institution on numerous projects in the field of biotechnology, they offer other scientists an important reason to come to Jena: continuing education workshops, for example the workshop organized by the "Jena Centre for Bioinformatics" for which scientists and industrial representatives from all over the world turn out annually in order to learn from the Jenaers. Likewise Jena's scientists travel the world over in the interest of exchanging ideas.

Example Libraries and Collections

Set into motion by Goethe through his support of the "Stockyard of Knowlegde", as he respectfully referred to the city of Jena, these facilities form the basis for scientific work. He was responsible for the organization of libraries, botanical gardens, natural science archives and laboratories. Institutions like the observatory and the mineral collection have their origins in Goethe's initiative. Today Jena has at its disposal one of the most modern european libraries. In the newly-renovated library main building (completed in 2001), students have acess to various computer stations and even have the option of working online with their own laptops - and all of this with user-friendly open hours from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., not to mention a cafeteria in the library for the supply of necessary energy refueling! Whosoever desires a sneak peak into the ThULB (Thuringian University and Regional Library) to find out whether or not the short trip is worth his while can visit from his home PC. The online catalog contains close to 4 million investigative units – this includes audio media, videos, DVDs, CD-ROMs, notes, maps and a loose-leaf collection. Sice 2001, Jena also has in its possesion "UrMEL" (University Multimedia Electronic Library), a digital library that is being continually expanded and an extensive electronic magazine library with which one can research and reference field-specific articles.

The university's twenty tradition-rich collections and museums (see page: http://www.uni-jena.de/Einrichtungen.html) as well as the city-owned and operated partner museums offer not only specialized knowlegde and audio-visual materials, but also put on such events as the annual "Night of Museums" which have made the museums a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike.

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