The Collegium generale at the University of Bern promotes the interdisciplinary dialogue and networking within the university through events and seminars for faculty members and students from all fields of study. The lecture series of the spring semester 2022 is dedicated to the topic "Thinking the End" and poses the question of how we think the end in a variety of fields. Of particular concern are those areas that matter the most to us: How is the end of life configured? How does a historical epoch come to a close, how does a biological species end? How does literature imagine the end of human civilization? And, finally, what does our thinking about the end, in small and large ways, tells us about ourselves and our times?
On Wednesday, 23 February 2022, PD Dr. Christian Althaus, head of the Interfaculty Platform for Data and Computational Science (INPUT) at ISPM, will give the first lecture with his thoughts about the end of the pandemic. The coronavirus pandemic has kept Switzerland and the entire world on tenterhooks for two years now. But when does a pandemic end? There are different answers to this question from a political, social, health or epidemiological perspective. In his lecture, Dr. Althaus will take a look at past pandemics, from the Russian flu in the 19th century to the influenza pandemic in 2009. He will then show how simple mathematical models can be used to describe the long-term course of an infectious disease and explain how the coronavirus will continue to concern us in the future.