Rector Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ernst Schmachtenberg, Chancellor Manfred Nettekoven, and Dr. Simon Harrison

The Winner's Dinner: Dr. Simon Harrison wins the RWTH Science Slam and Dines with Rector and Chancellor

Following his win at the RWTH Aachen Science Slam, Dr. Simon Harrison from Natural Media & Engineering dines with Rector Ernst Schmachtenberg and Chancellor Manfred Nettekoven. 

Dr. Simon Harrison from the Natural Media & Engineering group won the first ever RWTH Aachen University Science Slam. Competing against scientists from the Physics and Computer Science departments, Simon (an Alexander von Humboldt Post Doctoral Fellow at HumTec) attracted the attention of the crowds with a unique bodily performance entitled 'Von Mund zu Hand und von Hand zu Mund' (From Hand to Mouth, From Mouth to Hand').

Using gestures, postures, movements, and facial expressions alone, Simon took the audience on a historical journey over thousands of years through the evolution of language. Beginning with the forelimb articulations of non-human primates, he progressed to symbolic speech within the tool-making communities of early hominids, and eventually arrived in a heavy industrial setting. To a background of ear-piercing noise from rumbling machinary, he used his hands, face, and body to explain how in these environments language often flows into the gestural modality to facilitate communication among workers.

Presented in this original and dynamic way, his project "Manufacturing Communication" highlighted the capacity of gestures as a fundamental means of human expression that can be exploited to improve communication in industry. The project's goal is to develop gestural codes to make production along factory lines safer and more efficient.

For the local press coverage (in German) follow this link (Aachener Nachrichten, 11/13/2010).