Call for Applications: “On Simulation in Science” Summer School

September 26-30, 2016, Lüneburg, Germany

Summer School of the MECS Institute for Advanced Study on Media Cultures of Computer Simulation, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany


Beside theory and experimentation, computer simulation has become a dominant scientific method in contemporary research. Computational fields have been established in many disciplines and new scientific infrastructures for computational science are well established. Most prominent within these developments stands climate modelling, which has introduced advanced simulations of entire earth systems, allowing comparisons of different scenarios and complex model evaluation strategies in order to tackle questions of uncertainty and to transform simulation into a reliable scientific instrument for in-silico experimentation of preventative actions, as well as projections of future developments should no actions be taken.

However, climate simulation is one of many fields using computational power. Since the 1990s those working in the philosophy of science have been engaged in a fruitful discussion on modelling and simulation. A large number of case studies on simulation projects have been carried out, providing detailed insights into the various practices of modelling and simulation. However, what is missing is a historical view on the emergence of computer simulation as well as a comprehensive understanding of how simulations contribute to the progress of knowledge in science, how simulation is framed politically, in the academic field, and how prognoses based on simulations impact upon society, policy, and the economy. Therefore, beside project presentations by the participants, the summer school will provide workshops and lectures in order to address and discuss the following topics:

Workshop “The History of Simulation and Computing” by media historian Claus Pias (Lüneburg) and computer historian David A. Grier (Washington).

Workshop “Progress of Knowledge by Simulation” by philosophers of science Axel Gelfert (Singapore) and Gabriele Gramelsberger (Lüneburg).

Workshop “The Prospects of Simulation” by philosophers Petra Gehring (Darmstadt) and Andreas Kaminski (Stuttgart).

Workshop “Science Policy of Simulation” by computer scientists Martin Warnke (Lüneburg) and Michael Resch (Stuttgart).

Lecture “Simulating Climate” by climate scientist Johann Feichter (Hamburg).

Lecture “Images of Simulation” by art historian Inge Hinterwaldner (Cambridge).

Call for papers

Who should apply?

This summer school invites doctoral students from the fields of Philosophy of Science, History of Science, Science and Technology Studies, as well as Software Studies, and of course the Natural Sciences. We welcome case based studies on scientific, economic and social simulations, but also studies in the history of computational methods in science.

Location and date

The “On Simulation in Science” summer school will take place at the Institute for Advanced Study on Media Cultures of Computer Simulation (MECS), Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany (30 minutes away from Hamburg), between September 26th and 30th, 2016.

What is expected from participants when accepted?

Participants will present their projects (30 min. presentation). They will participate in the offered workshops, discussions and keynote lectures. They will prepare questions for the workshops based on an in advance circulated reader. Two of the participants will be offered a 6 months junior fellowship at the MECS.

How to apply:

Please submit your CV along with a 500-word abstract of your dissertation, and a 500-word explanation on why you would like to attend the summer school. The deadline for applications is February 29th, 2016. Please email applications (compile into one PDF) to

All applicants will be informed about the selection of participants by March 15th, 2016.

The working language of the summer school will be English; therefore, a sufficient understanding of English is expected. There is no participation fee. The organizers will cover accommodation costs. We have a limited amount of needs-based travel funding available. Please indicate in your application letter if you wish to apply for travel funding.


  • Petra Gehring, Professor of Philosophy, Technische Universität Darmstadt
  • Axel Gelfert, Associate Professor of Philosophy of Science, National University Singapore
  • David A. Grier, Associate Professor of International Science and Technology Policy and International Affairs, The George Washington University / IEEE Editor for History of Computing
  • Andreas Kaminski, Head of Philosophy of Science & Technology, High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS)
  • Johann Feichter, Senior Researcher, Max Planck Institute for Meteorology Hamburg / ETH Zurich
  • Inge Hinterwaldner, SNF Research Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge Ma.
  • Michael Resch, Professor of High Performance Computing, University of Stuttgart / Director of the national High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS)
  • Claus Pias, Professor of Media Theory and History, Leuphana University Lüneburg / Director of the MECS
  • Martin Warnke, Professor of Digital Media, Leuphana University Lüneburg / Director of the MECS
  • Gabriele Gramelsberger, Senior Researcher in the Philosophy of Computational Sciences, MECS, Leuphana University Lüneburg / Technische Universität Darmstadt


MECS is an Institute for Advanced Study on the ‘Media Cultures of Computer Simulation’ funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) at Leuphana University, Lüneburg. The Institute’s research focuses upon the ways in which computer simulation has been directed toward distinct problems and forms of knowledge, and to what extent these simulative practices have resulted in an historical break with past forms of scientific practice. In addition, MECS researchers are interested in how different disciplines use simulation in specific ways. MECS’s central objective is the establishment of an international fellow network. Previous fellows include Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Nancy Nersessian, Inge Hinterwaldner, Johannes Lenhard, Lev Manovich, Mathias Fuchs, Thomas Turnbull, Daniela Zetti, Eric Winsberg, Arianna Borrelli and many others.

For further information on the MECS, please visit:

Contact for applications

Jantje Sieling, Managing Director , MECS Institute for Advanced Study on Media Cultures of Computer Simulation

Leuphana University Lüneburg Scharnhorstr. 1

D-21335 Lüneburg, Germany

Telephone: 0049 (0)4131 2197819


Deadline: February 29, 2016

Posted: February 09, 2016