Geist Heidelberg - The Festival

The Festival

The “International Science Festival – Geist Heidelberg“ is the European answer to the world-famous “New York World Science Festival.“ Founded in 2011 at Heidelberg's German-American Institute (German abbreviation: DAI), it should serve as an orientation for people in a disorienting time. In this regard, the DAI invites renowned researchers, authors or delegates of acknowledged institutions to participate. 

The festival, which runs over a course of six to eight weeks, aims at the general public, but is also visited by experts who enjoy coming to Heidelberg, a stronghold of the sciences. In its 70th year of existence, the DAI is well aware that scientific enlightenment means education. And educated people take part in the fight for democracy and won't be persuaded by populism.


In 2017 the „International Science Festival - Geist Heidelberg“ will take place from October 6 until December 12.

Further information will follow.


When the “International Science Festival – Geist Heidelberg“ came to life in 2011, it was built on the idea to “overcome the popular split of the two halves of the brain and to reconcile them in creativity“ (DAI-Director Jakob Köllhofer). 

Through six top-class festivals, the DAI has set this thought in motion, and the project has been supported by thousands of interested people from within the country as well as from abroad. Its latest large project, which in 2016 lead to a widely recognized publication - “Science - the New Religion?“ - connected ten renowned authors from seven countries with Heidelberg's distinguished researchers over a period of 18 months. Together they examined the question whether the sciences can give people guidance in a time of immense acceleration, crucial changes and global tasks. 

Outstanding Personalities at “Geist Heidelberg” - A selection

Noam Chomsky

born in 1929

is known as the world's foremost leading intellectual. When he followed the DAI's invitation to speak at the city hall in 2016, within three minutes one thousand seats were sold out. The US-American linguist has shaped entire generations of researchers. His topic in Heidelberg dealt with the global ramifications of American politics.

Eric Kandel

born in 1929

is a distinguished researcher of the human brain. His studies have their main focus set on the unconscious. In 2000, the important neuro-scientist received the Nobel prize for medicine. Kandel came to the DAI in 2015 and gave a speech about “The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind and Brain – from Vienna 1900 to the Present.”

Lisa Randall 

born in 1962 

is a world-leading theoretical physicist and expert in particle physics, string theory and cosmology. In 2016 she introduced her book “Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs. The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe.” She was the first female member of the Physics Faculty of Princeton University and also the first theoretical physicist on the staff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as well as Harvard University. Between 1999 and 2004, Randall was the most cited High Energy Physicist in the world. In 2007 Time Magazine named her as one of the 100 most influential people.

Lawrence Maxwell Krauss 

born in 1954

is recognized across the world as an expert in cosmology. The US-American theoretical physicist visited the DAI In 2014. He is the author of several bestsellers, including “The Physics of Star Trek.”

David Grossman

born in 1954

is the best known Israeli writer and peace activist. In 2010 he received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, and in 2013 he came to the DAI.

Martina Gedeck

 born in 1961

is among the most important German character actresses. In 2014 she came to the DAI and read from Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Previous Events

Geist Heidelberg 2016

Geist Heidelberg 2015

Geist Heidelberg 2014