The Collaborative Research Center (CRC) – in German, Sonderforschungsbereich (SFB) – 644, "Transformations of Antiquity", brings together personnel from ten humanities disciplines at the Humboldt University in Berlin, from two departments of the Free University in Berlin, and from the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin (MPIWG). In total the CRC comprises about fifty researchers from six different faculties; they are assigned within the sixteen mutually interactive projects of the CRC.
CRC 644 starts from the basic premise that European cultures, arts and sciences have formed in a continuation and transformation of the cultures of antiquity. Over the course of centuries, aspects of ancient culture have come, in altered forms, to serve as the bases of reference for the cultural construction of modern Europe.
Project A6 "Weight, Energy and Force: Conceptual Structural Changes in Ancient Knowledge as a Result of its Transmission" (hosted by the MPIWG) is dedicated to the detailed description and analysis of essential cognitive, social and material epistemic structures of antiquity and their alteration in the process of their transmission to the early modern era. The subject of this analysis in particular is the shifts in the relation between practical and theoretical knowledge of nature, the causes of these shifts, and their consequences.