Distinguished Lecture with Professor Timothy Moss and Award for Outstanding Student Project

Together with SFB MAKI emergenCITY invites you to the Distinguished Lecture with Professor Timothy Moss from Humboldt University of Berlin on November 7th. Professor Moss will give a lecture on “Past-Proofing Infrastructural Futures”. As part of the event, emergenCITY will award a prize to two students for outstanding achievements in an emergenCITY-related course of the bachelor’s degree program in Mechanical Engineering.

  • Date: 11/07/2022; 4:15 – 5:30 p.m.
  • Lecture: “Past-Proofing Infrastructural Futures” & Award ceremony: best student project “Grundlagen der Digitalisierung”
  • Speaker: Prof. Timothy Moss, Humboldt-Universität of Berlin
  • Zoom Event
Distinguished Lecture with Professor Timothy Moss

Professor Moss is a Senior Researcher at the Integrative Research Institute on Transformations of Human-Environment Systems (IRI THESys) at Humboldt University of Berlin and Honorary Professor at the Leibniz University Hannover. His research combines historical studies of infrastructure with contemporary debates of sociotechnical and urban transitions. He uses the analysis of past infrastructural developments as a source for historical contextualization and critical reflection of current developments in networked critical infrastructures. He is particularly interested in energy and water infrastructures and the multiple geographies, power relations, and socio-materialities associated with them.

In his lecture, Professor Moss will address the issue of future-proofing critical infrastructures using knowledge of the past. As in arguments about the existential challenges of our time, the focus is too often only on the future: Debates about climate, environmental, and societal crises focus on anxiety over what is to come and, at the same time, optimism around human-driven solutions. To many observers, indeed, the past is part of the problem, rather than the solution. In his talk, Professor Moss invites us to question our dismissive approach to the past. Using the case of infrastructure as an example, he will show how history can be mobilized as a resource of experience to overcome current challenges. For this, Moss says, has the great potential to challenge prevalent assumptions, provide instructive analogies, reveal alternative pathways or unpack earlier critical junctures.

Honoring the best student project on the topic of water supply in the event of a crisis

Following Professor Moss’ lecture, the award ceremony for the best student project in the course “Fundamentals of Digitalisation” from the Bachelor’s program Mechanical Engineering – Sustainable Engineering will take place. The prize will be awarded to two students for their outstanding performance in a project work created with a dataset from emergenCITY.

Since last semester, research and teaching go hand in hand between the Bachelor Mechanical Engineering – Sustainable Engineering and emergenCITY. The exam requirement for the new course for first-year students consisted of a programming project to analyze a dataset on demand satisfaction achieved by the water distribution system in the face of large movements of the urban population caused by critical events. This dataset came from the emergenCITY publication in the journal Water “Water Distribution in a Socio-Technical System: Resilience Assessment for Critical Events Causing Demand Relocation” by Kevin Logan, Michaela Leštáková, Nadja Thiessen, Jens Ivo Engels, and Peter Pelz. The task was to write a code to read in the data, check their validity, process them, and visualize the results. A special focus of the project was on methods of research data management such as versioning of software and standardized code documentation. In the course, students learn fundamental digital and data literacy as well as FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) data management in engineering sciences. In addition, they were able to directly experience what mechanical engineering has to do with infrastructure through the practical research example. The best student project of this great example for the unity of research and teaching will now be awarded.