Interview with Prof. Dr. Reinhard Dörner

Diospi Suyana spoke with the nuclear physicist Prof. Dr. Reinhard Dörner

DS: Professor Dörner, you commute between Frankfurt, Berkeley /California and other universities. What does the life of a nuclear physicist have to do with with Diospi Suyana?

RD.: To be a scientist in one of the richest countries on earth at this time is an incredible privilege. When you have been blessed with such undeserved happiness, the scandal of injustice, inequality and poverty in our world hurts all the more. Diospi Suyana is a small but admirable attempt to improve the scandalous condition of our world in some small way.

DS: There are as many charitable projects in the world as there are stars in the sky. What criteria are the basis for your support?

RD.: The success of a project depends on the people behind it. I have known Klaus-Dieter and Martina John since we were at school. They meet every condition to make a long-term success of this incredible Diospi Suyana plan. They have the necessary training, a lot of experience, perseverance for many, many years and the will and readiness to commit themselves personally, which I find admirable. You just have to get behind the two of them!

DS: There is a lack of money everywhere. There are a lot of both state and church projects that could be carried out in Germany, if the necessary finance were available. Wouldn´t it be better to support a charitable project in Germany?

RD.: Let me answer with another question. Isn´t it time in Germany to levy taxes at such a level that the State could make necessary social provision for all. In a rich country such as Germany, social justice is the State´s main responsibility. I dread the thought of “American conditions” where the State is withdrawing from the responsibility for social provision and shifting it onto private charities.

DS: If commitment to the so-called third world is so important, what opportunities do you see in your own profession to exert a positive influence on the fate of the developing countries?

RD.: Only very indirect ones. I am a scientist and university professor with all my heart. Training has always been important and international. Historically, education and scientific progress have been among the most important motivating forces in the improvement of people´s standard of living and will continue to be so.

DS: In the Quecha language Diospi Suyana means “We trust in God!” Does God have a part in your own life?

RD.: I am a Christian, even if it is difficult for me to say that I am, in view of existing Christianity in its fundamentalist form in, say, the USA or Rome. Nevertheless, a clear YES. I have a childlike trust in God and in prayer, even if I can´t explain it rationally.

DS: Physics is based on exact observations and calculations. Faith is altogether different. Isn´t it difficult for a scientist to deal with the supernatural and inexplicable?

RD.: I think that the supernatural that we are confronted with in “telling the future” or “astrology” is pretense. But I hesitate to lump every religious faith with such nonsense. So I don´t really like your choice of words and the contrast in your question. In the doubt between faith and rationality, there is no good reason to decide against common sense; but there is a reason to hope that this is an apparent alternative.

DS: You have a wife and daughter. Could you imagine a holiday in Peru?

RD.: That would be very exciting!

DS: Thank you for the interview!

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