Ideas 2020 – A Tour of Tomorrow’s World

Eagerly awaited and now formally opened under the eyes of more than 400 guests: on 13 March, the Helmholtz Association's exhibition "Ideas 2020 – A Tour of Tomorrow’s World" was officially opened at the Paul-Löbe-Haus in Berlin.

A high-rise building shaped like a sugar snap pea, an ice block made of acrylic glass that seems to melt before the visitors' eyes, bubbling algae panels, turned into a designer object by the use of shiny stainless steel plates, four life plans of elderly people as a mix-max game, a sugar shaker as a punch bag, a huge smartphone encased in brickwork, a futuristic digital safe – these are the seven stelae that are at the heart of the "Ideas 2020 – A Tour of Tomorrow’s World" exhibition. Created by designers and artists, they visualise – sometimes with a twinkle in the eye and the invitation for interaction – the major challenges of the future.

For their innovative concept, the exhibition organisers received official approval: Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag, praised the successful balance between the presentation of scientific insights and playful components. Federal Minister for Education and Research Johanna Wanka emphasised: "We can solve the challenges of our time only, if as many people as possible deal with and look into science." Accordingly, the President of the Helmholtz Association, Jürgen Mlynek, added that it is the intrinsic concern of any research organisation to contribute to the scientific literacy of the population. The Helmholtz Association fulfils this claim with initiatives such as the "Haus der kleinen Forscher" (“Little Scientists' House”), the pupil laboratories and, last but not least, with this exhibition.

The robot ARMAR, which in future will allow for prolonged self-determined living in old age, an Efficiency House Plus, which produces more energy than it consumes, vaccination by nasal spray, secure IT solutions turning a smartphone into a house key or a debit card: these are tangible examples proving that in the research laboratories the future is happening already now. More than 150 of these exemplary research projects are presented on the monitors to the left and right of the stelae. The short stories with pictures tell about research results as well as about the process of "creating knowledge".

Interaction with the visitors is of great importance: at a central dialogue desk they can submit their questions regarding the future and read the answers to questions asked by other visitors. Both this can be done also on the website The protagonist from the future, Finn Peeters, likewise invites visitors to interact: What does a world look like that does not have to worry about energy supply? How about starting a second or even a third career in our old age? How do we feel, if our genetics allow for the prediction of potential diseases? Finn's experiences take place in a fictive city in the future. The exhibition organisers hope that over the running period of the exhibition the visitors will continue the narration of Finn's experiences and, in doing so, reveal their own wishes and dreams as well as their fears.

"Ideas 2020" is an invitation to think, discuss and co-create. Why? The path to a future worth living in can be successful only if it is a joint effort!

Exhibition website:

<media 25315 _blank external-link "APPLIKATION, Einleger Ideen2020 EN, Einleger_Ideen2020_EN.pdf, 648 KB">Download article as PDF & Poster with tour dates</media>

09.04.2013 , Susann Beetz

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