WRF Coffee Talk (6) – A Neuroscientist’s Family History

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In this WRF-series, Studentreporters are catching conference attendees during coffee break to ask them about what they do and who they are. This time: Jörg Matschullat, neuroscientist TU Bergakademie Freiberg.

Jörg Matschullat talking about social sciences and sustainability at the World Resources Forum.

Ieva Maniusyte

Jörg Matschullat talking about social sciences and sustainability at the World Resources Forum.

Jörg Matschullat is a neuroscientist from Germany. At least he says so at the beginning – but once he finds out I am from Lithuania, he brightens up: “My grandfather was from Lithuania!” And the conversation suddenly gets a different angle.

“I have never been there, but I have seen so many pictures – and this seems to be like a country I have to visit one day.” Apparently, the family of his grandfather lived very close to the current border between Lithuania and Kaliningrad, and started to think about moving out just before the war started. Unfortunately, he was recruited to the Soviet Union’s army. His wife with their children later settled down in West Germany, where the husband found them after the war.  “Unfortunately, my grandfather is not here anymore – he would be 120 years old.”

“Now my surname is Matschullat, the German version of Mačiulaitis – which I am proud of, as it has a story behind. There are only 14 people in the whole country that have this surname – and just a few of them are not from my family.”

But this is the World Resources Forum, so what does a neuroscientist seek to find in here? “I work for a Thinktank, “Climate Network Saxony”, as well as Technische Universität Bergakademie Freiberg.” After you hear that, it is obvious that a professor of biochemistry and geoscience is particularly welcome at a conference like that. “I just read a book: ‘Why We Disagree on Climate Change’ by Mike Hulme”, Matschullat says. “I think this can explain a lot of collisions happening during the Forum’s workshops.” And then we talk about everything – from media to science. Only a warm “see you” could have ended a story like this.

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