Sunday Extract – The 5th HLF Opens Its Doors and Cements Its Future


The laureates at the 5th HLF

The energy surrounding the Opening Ceremony of the 5th HLF could be felt around the University Plaza in Heidelberg, and the signature blue conference bag of the HLF could be spotted throughout the city. 2017 would have been the last HLF according to the original contract. However, the fate of future HLFs was officially secured with the signing of a contract extension between the Heidelberg Laureate Forum Foundation (HLFF) and the award-granting institutions: the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (DNVA), and the International Mathematical Union (IMU).

At 15:00 (CEST), Prof. Günter M. Ziegler of the Freie Universität in Berlin took the stage as the Master of Ceremony for the third year in a row and announced the laureates’ entrance, who were welcomed by a standing ovation. Following the laureates entrance, Beate Spiegel, Chairperson of the HLFF and Managing Director of the Klaus Tschira Foundation, and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h. c. Andreas Reuter, Scientific Chairperson of the HLFF, discussed the significance of the HLF celebrating its fifth event and welcomed the participants.


After a brief musical interlude from the saxophone quartet, “Balanced Action”, Theresia Bauer, MA, Minister of Science, Research and the Arts in the state of Baden-Württemberg, pointed out how this specific region of Germany is at the head of the field in advancements in computing. Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eitel, President of the Heidelberg University, and Prof. Dr. Eckart Würzner, Lord Mayor of the City of Heidelberg, joined Ziegler on the stage to discuss Heidelberg’s significance in the world of science and the relevance of the HLF. Countess Bettina Bernadotte af Wisborg, Council President and Foundation Board Member of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, addressed how inspirational the cross-generational dialogue is for development and the strong bond between the Lindau Meetings and the HLF. She was followed by Prof. Dr. h.c. Kurt Mehlhorn, Director of Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken, who held a brief lecture on making algorithms more reliable and checking the accuracy of information.

Günter M. Ziegler kept the show rolling by inviting the representatives of the award-granting organizations to join him on the stage. Ziegler posed a few questions to them about how the awards were named and what is at the core of scientific success. Prof. Dr. Vicki L. Hanson, President of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), talked about Alan Turing’s impact and that hard work and collaboration are the heart of progress. Prof. Dr. Shigefumi Mori, President of the International Mathematical Union (IMU) and 1990 Fields Medalist, echoed the fact that collaboration is necessary in research. Prof. Dr. Ole M. Sejersted, President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (DNVA), stressed the importance of treating young researchers and their work earnestly so that potential key advancements are not overlooked.

The Opening Ceremony of the 5th HLF drew to a close as “Balanced Action” took the stage as the guests where encouraged to “follow the music” across the plaza to the reception. To highlight the evening, the future of the HLF was cemented by the signing of the official contract extension. As the ink dried, the participants seized the opportunity to take advantage of the HLF’s purpose: scientific exchange and compelling dialogue.

Video coverage of Opening Ceremony at the 5th HLF can be streamed on the HLF Video Archive.

Photos of event are available to download on the 5thHLF flickr gallery.