On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the "Paläontologische Gesellschaft", we cordially invite you to participate in the 2012 Annual Meeting organised by the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin.

The Centenary Meeting’s theme is Palaeontology in Society – 100 Years of the Paläontologische Gesellschaft, underscoring the relevance of palaeontology not only to science, but also to society and the public at large. The deep time perspective of the fossil record provides a unique baseline for current environmental concerns such as global climate change, loss of biodiversity, and the recovery from mass extinctions. Palaeontology also raises public awareness in addressing questions about the origin and the evolution of organisms, ourselves included. "Palaeontology in Society" also refers to the multidisciplinary and integrative nature of palaeontological research includ­ing organismic and molecular biology, geology, and geochemistry. Finally, "Palaeontology in Society" highlights the role of palaeontology in communicating authentic research, based on real fossils, to the general public.

This jubilee conference takes place under the auspices of the German Federal Minister of Education and Research, Prof. Dr. Annette Schavan. The meeting is dedicated to celebrating the past and, more importantly, to exchanging and developing new ideas and projects "in society" with your colleagues.

Address of welcome by Annette Schavan, Federal Minister of Education and Research

Annette Schavan, Federal Minister of Education and Research

I congratulate the members of the Paläontologische Gesellschaft on its centennial anniversary! A century of the Paläontologische Gesellschaft is also a century of science history. During this time, not only has the science and its ‘lessons from the past‘ changed dramatically, but also its interconnections to society, economics and politics.

Palaeontology unquestionably is needed more than ever to answer urgent questions about our future: the insights from palaeontological research help us meet the great challenges of climate change and threats to biologic diversity.

To master these challenges, the best scientists worldwide must work together. The Paläontologische Gesellschaft has recognised the primacy of international cooperation since its founding, framing itself not just as a national society but as a research society for the entire German-speaking world. The Paläontologische Gesellschaft, via its journal, international meetings and its networks, has for a century contributed greatly to the internationalization of German palaeontology, and to the preservation of its high international standing.

Care for scientific collections is a fundamental requirement of top-tier research, establishes a historical legacy of prior work, and lays a foundation for future scientific endeavours. Accordingly, the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) supports collections-based research in German museums. Together with individual German states, the BMBF has outlined a future development strategy for research museums, with a focus on ‘Sprache der Objekte’ (‘Messages from Objects’), and further opportunities for support.

The scientific competence of the Paläontologische Gesellschaft contributes to Germany’s ability to meet its environmental responsibilities. The Paläontologische Gesellschaft also provides this competence to international scientific networks. This work is essential for understanding the relationships between society and nature, and for the sustainable managment of our limited natural resources.

I wish the Paläontologische Gesellschaft and its members all the best and success for the future.

Federal Minister for Education and Research

Last update: 07.07.2014