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Angela Merkel's Dissertation: A Scientific Journey from East to West
Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany and one of the most influential leaders in the world, has a remarkable academic background. Before entering politics, she was a physicist who wrote a doctoral dissertation on quantum chemistry in 1986. But what is her dissertation about, and how did she manage to pursue her scientific career in the former East Germany
Merkel's dissertation, titled "Investigation of the mechanism of decay reactions with single bond breaking and calculation of their rate constants on the basis of quantum chemical and statistical methods", is a 166-page work that explores the kinetics of several chemical reactions. She used mathematical models and computer simulations to calculate the rate constants of these reactions, which are important for understanding their mechanisms and applications. She also compared her results with experimental data and discussed the sources of errors and uncertainties.
The dissertation is written in German, but an English summary can be found here. It is not available online for free, but it can be accessed through some libraries or purchased from Alma Books. It is also possible to request a copy from the Central Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the GDR, where Merkel conducted her research under the supervision of Professor Lutz ZÃlicke.
Merkel's dissertation reflects her scientific curiosity and rigor, as well as her ability to work independently and creatively. It also reveals some of the challenges and opportunities she faced as a scientist in East Germany, a communist state that had limited resources and restricted access to information and technology. Merkel had to use an outdated computer and a smuggled copy of a Western textbook to complete her calculations. She also had to deal with the political pressure and surveillance that affected all aspects of life in the GDR.
Despite these difficulties, Merkel was able to achieve academic excellence and recognition. She received a summa cum laude for her dissertation, which was considered an outstanding contribution to the field of quantum chemistry. She also published several papers in peer-reviewed journals and attended international conferences. She was offered a position as an assistant professor at the Central Institute of Physical Chemistry, but she declined it because it would have required her to join the Socialist Unity Party.
Merkel's dissertation is not only a testament to her scientific talent and ambition, but also a glimpse into her personal and political journey from East to West. It shows how she developed her analytical skills and critical thinking, which would later serve her well in her political career. It also shows how she navigated the complex and changing reality of East Germany, which would eventually collapse in 1989, paving the way for her entry into politics. ec8f644aee