Fridinger Professor Tobias Rees receives the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award – Fridinger-born Tobias Rees, professor at the New School for Social Research Albert & Vera List Academic Center in New York, has been awarded the FriedrichWilhelm Bessel Research Prize 2020 by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Bonn in recognition of his outstanding achievements in research and teaching to date. The prize is endowed with EUR 45 000. Tobias Rees is a world-renowned scientist whose research on people, nature and technology is considered from a philosophical, scientific and technical point of view. The 47-year-old Fridinger has been married for 20 years and is the father of two sons. He first attended the secondary school in his native town of Fridingen, then graduated from the secondary school in Mühlheim, then attended the business school in Tuttlingen. Rees studied philososophy and ethnology in Tübingen and Heidelberg, followed by neurobiology in Paris. In 2006 he wrote his doctoral thesis at the University of California, Berkeley in the USA.
This was followed by two years as senior assistant at the University of Zurich in 2007 and 2008. In January 2009, Rees became a professor in the Department of Social Studies of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. In 2010, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) appointed him the Most Promising Canadian Young Scientist. In 2013, Fridinger was honored when he was appointed a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR). This is Canada’s elite institution. Tobias Rees was one of the youngest ever to do this. The extension of the contract for a further five years was recently approved, as Rees announced in a telephone conversation with our newspaper. He received the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Bessel-Research Award 2020 for his internationally recognized scientific achievements in his field. The most important selection criterion is the proof of high individual qualification, according to the award certificate. Professor Tobias Rees is invited as a prizewinner to carry out a self-selected research project in Germany in cooperation with colleagues for a period of up to one year. The stay in Germany can be divided in time. Rees’s work focuses on the philosophy, poetry and politics of the contemporary. He is fascinated by situations that cannot be traced back to the already known thinking and already known, as well as to events that set the obvious in motion and thereby provoke the unexpected, for which no one has yet found words. Among other things, it will also deal with future concepts and models of artificial intelligence.
Tobias Rees, together with colleagues from philosophy, art and engineering, has tried to create conceptual and institutional possibilities to address precisely these questions. Tobias Rees is founding director of the Berggruen Institute Transformations of the Human in Los Angeles. He is also Professor of Humanities at the New School for Social Research and Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Tobias Rees also works as a consultant for North American tech companies such as Google and Facebook as well as European universities. Rees is the author of dozens of articles, most recently in the Neue Züricher Zeitung, where he commented on the topic “Technology and natural sciences shake the human image”. His publications have been translated into several languages. His texts about him or his can be found in the feuilletons in daily newspapers such as the Washington Post, Huffington Post, the New York Times or the Los Angeles Times. Rees has given lectures in more than 20 different countries, most recently in Latvia at the Riga Biennial. Rees has also made a name for himself as a book author. In 2008, for example, he published the highly acclaimed work Designs for an Anthropology of the Contemportary or 2016 Plastic Reason: An Anthropology of Brain Science in EmbryoGenetic Terms (currently translated into German for Suhrkamp) and most recently in 2018 After Ethnos. At the end of the phone call Tobias Rees made a thought-provoking remark: “Actually, I don’t like the spotlight so much. But there are so many young children or young people who dream of the big world. And they can do it all. All. How did a grandma say to her grandson? Look, the world is open to all of us, if you want to!” For him, it also applies: conquering the world a bit does not mean forgetting the homeland or even leaving it. “In a way, I am Fridinger and remain, forever, Fridinger.”