Sep 17, 2019
Thoughts on Unity in a Divided State: Hans-Jürgen Treder's Early Ideas on the Unification of Physics
Marxism-Leninism was always communicated as a scientific worldview that represented and guaranteed progress. To successfully establish it as the new state ideology in East Germany after the Second World War, its philosophical foundations had to be reconciled with recent scientific findings. A task for cadres who were equally qualified in the sanctioned philosophy and other areas of science, like physics. The development of a new socialist intelligentsia as the elite and future bearer of the system to be set up therefore received great attention and was largely reflected in the transformation of higher education in the SBZ/GDR. This translated into specific recruitment policies of students and young scientists which also characterized Hans- Jürgen Treder's commencing academic career. Treder was a theoretical physicist, scientific organizer and Marxist who’s early personal and institutional Sponsorship correlated with his efforts to interpret modern physics in terms of dialectic materialism. Due to unintended changes and working with Achilles Papapetrou from 1952 onwards, his scientific focus shifted towards approaches of unified field theories and other topics surrounding general relativity, like gravitational radiation. His first publication in physics addressed the problem of the identification of matter in Schrödinger’s extension of Einstein’s asymmetric field theory and in his Dissertation in 1956 Treder examined a general affine connection with a symmetric metric tensor, contrary to Einstein’s approaches of Hermitian symmetry. These early investigations led to various other approaches in later years, mainly concerned with general principles of relativistic theories. The Talk considers these political and socio-epistemic transformations on a biographical level.
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