BY AFSHAN NABI (MBG/IV)
Lutz Peschke, who holds a PhD in chemistry from Heidelberg University (1996) and a PhD in media studies from the University of Bonn (2018), is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Design, where he teaches new media and communication studies. For 20 years, he produced and directed science festivals and events in Germany, such as the IdeenExpo in Hanover and the annual Highlights of Physics festival, as well as serving as a consultant for the Federal Ministry of Research and Education and major German scientific organizations such as Max-Planck, Helmholtz and the German Physical Society in the area of science communication. His research interests are gender issues in new media theories and visual communication in the context of knowledge transfer, along with field studies in live broadcasting services. He is engaged in various Erasmus Plus projects, including “Let’s Science: Development and Implementation of Social – Science Training Program for Young Refugees” and“POWER: Empowerment of Youth on Renewable Energy for Sustainable Societies.”
Why did you become a professor?
After working in the field of science communication for over 20 years, I developed a strong wish to share my experiences of those years with students. That’s why I wanted to become a professor. I started as a lecturer in the Department of Media Studies at the University of Bonn. And now, I’m here in the Department of Communication and Design.
Why/how did you choose Bilkent? / What do you like the most about being at Bilkent?
Bilkent University is academically one of the best universities in Turkey. The university gives great importance to high-quality research and education. I feel very much supported by our department’s chair, our faculty’s dean and the rectorate in conducting interdisciplinary projects and promoting teamwork. I think this is the main reason why most COMD students are highly motivated and the atmosphere in the department is very positive.
What projects are you working on currently?
At the moment I’m involved in a project that deals with the empowerment of youth with regard to encouraging the use of renewable energy for sustainable societies. The project is funded by the European Commission’s Erasmus Plus program. Within the scope of this project, I’m creating an exhibition on renewable energies and climate change issues with my undergraduate students. This exhibition will also form part of the master’s theses of two of my students.
What is your best work?
This question is not easy to answer. I try to give my very best at all times. But I think I’m good in activities that I can realize as part of a team. That makes me happy.
What excites you about your work? / What’s the coolest thing about your work?
The coolest thing about my work is the collaboration with motivated students. I try to create projects that are relevant for society on the way to a sustainable life. Through my research topics – mediatized worlds and science communication – I want to contribute to solving the big challenges of our society in the Anthropocene age. I’m optimistic that we will find solutions, if we include motivated students in our research as early as possible. That is very exciting for me.
Could you share a turning point or defining moment in your career?
I have had many turning points in my life, and luckily always positive ones. But the most emotional change in my life was moving from Bonn to Ankara in 2013. Not only was I now able to live here with my Turkish wife (who is a law professor in Ankara); my dream of starting an academic life also came true.
What has been the most exciting moment of your career so far?
Becoming an assistant professor at Bilkent.
What is one piece of information from your field that you think everyone should know?
Students who are curious and motivated to collaborate with me are always welcome.
When and where do you do your best thinking?
Generally, I get my best ideas in the morning, in the shower or while having the first caffè latte of the day with my wife at the breakfast table.
What distracts you?
What are you most curious about?
I’m most curious about life itself: will we able to avoid dying like dinosaurs due to climate change?
What is the most common misconception about your work?
As long as I feel that problems can be solved and crises can be managed, there is no need for me to talk about misconceptions on the part of the public. My department’s chair and dean are open to criticism, which is the most important basis for solving problems.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love salsa dancing, playing the piano and biking. My strongest wish is for Ankara to establish bicycle lanes. I’ll never give up this dream.
Which books have influenced you the most, and why?
Children’s book: “Momo” by Michael Ende. It’s about a girl who changed the world with her strongest talent: listening.
Literary classic: “Faust I” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Very simply put, Dr. Faust wants to know everything about the world and struggles a lot.
Science: “Risk Society” by Ulrich Beck and “Öko-logisch” by Gernot Böhme. Both scholars deal with the topic of environmental problems and what will happen if politicians continue to propagate the notion that the human impact on climate change can be ignored.
If you weren’t a professor, what career would you choose?
I would become the Robin Hood of our planet Earth. I would steal money from the rich people, buy fields and plant a rain forest in Turkey. But seriously, I would continue my career as an environmental scientist.
What’s the secret to leading a happy life?
The secret is living every day as if it were the last, and being aware that we are only borrowing this planet from our children.
If you could go back to your student years, what advice would you give your younger self?
Live colorfully, and stay curious.