Disrupt & Change

took place on 16 July 2022

The Programm


When we go to a museum, we see beautiful paintings displayed in its halls, and we naturally assume that they are authentic. While admiring the paintings, the viewer may never realize how much effort the museum has put into verifying their authenticity. Carina shows how this process can be simplified through the use of modern technology. The audience is invited to a presentation about using Artificial Intelligence to authenticate works of art, and its relevance to the preservation of our cultural heritage.

Who is Carina Popovici?

Carina Popovici is a co-founder and CEO of Art Recognition, a Zurich based ArtTech startup which offers to the art world an AI Engine for art authentication and forgery detection. While being an art lover, she is also an experienced programmer, having developed in the past AI algorithms with applications in physics and finance. Carina received a PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Tübingen, and has continued her career as a Research Fellow in Physics. She then moved on to work as a quantitative risk specialist in the Swiss banking industry, before founding Art Recognition. Now, Art Recognition is the only company worldwide offering an AI authentication service commercially, and one of the few startups operating at the forefront of AI, entirely created and led by women.


Have you ever wondered what will happen to the ever-growing empty office space? COVID-19 has led to a “work from home revolution” with the profound and lasting effect of office space lying vacant. Simultaneously, we experience an urban housing shortage. Perhaps instead of building new we can repurpose existing spaces and solve two problems at the same time: housing shortage and climate change. In her talk, Antonia reveals the high potential of transforming offices into temporary housing facilities and as a byproduct reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Listen and learn how we could not only provide more people with homes but at the same time prevent accelerating global climate change by simply not building.

Who is Antonia Cruel?

Antonia Cruel graduated with a Master of Arts degree from the TU Munich, having studied architecture there and at ETH Zurich for the past few years. After her collaboration with the Urban Think Tank, where she designed infrastructural solutions in squatted urban settlements, her architectural focus shifted to the social responsibility of architecture. Since then, architecture without socially relevant added value has been inconceivable to Antonia, although beyond the implications for climate change, architecture must meet diverse site-specific requirements. Antonia founded the initiative „Inzwischen München“, which aims to inform about the potential of built space resources. Since then, she sees herself as a lobbyist for intelligent multiple use of buildings.


A hologram is like a window to another world. It produces a perfect replica of a previously recorded scene that we can observe from every angle – exactly like we would look at the original scene itself. What if we could use holograms to produce virtual replicas of scenes or objects that we cannot directly look at and which are normally hidden from our view? Can we use holograms to see the unseen? In his talk, Florian Willomitzer introduces a novel holographic camera that can “see” hidden objects around corners or through diffusive light scattering materials like tissue or fog. The technique has multiple potential applications, e.g., in medical imaging, autonomous driving, industrial inspection, or virtual reality.

Who is Florian Willomitzer?

Prof. Dr. Florian Willomitzer is an Associate Professor of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, where he directs the Computational 3D Imaging and Measurement Laboratory (3DIM Lab). The Lab’s goal is to invent, develop, and build the next generation of computational imaging and display devices that overcome traditional limitations to “make the unseen visible.”
Florian was born and raised in the Nuremberg area and graduated from the University Erlangen-Nuremberg, where he received his Ph.D. degree with ‘summa cum laude’. During his doctoral studies, Florian investigated fundamental physical and information-theoretical limits of optical 3D-sensing and implemented sensors that operate close to these limits.
He joined Northwestern University as Postdoc in 2017 and became Research Assistant Professor in 2019. In 2022, Florian joined the College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona as Associate Professor.



Science. One of the biggest forces propelling mankind to a prosperous future. For this, every minute of every day, thousands upon thousands of scientists are working tirelessly. Why is it then, that most of them are leaving their careers behind? Why is it that the scientists from the 1960s had spent lifetime working on the most pressing issues we face, while today’s scientists are leaving within a handful of years? Vugar invites everyone to understand one of the most overlooked aspects of the scientific community. Leadership, he argues, is no less important than the next great discovery.

Who is Vugar Azizov?

Vugar was born in Azerbaijan. He moved to United States for his university studies where he completed his bachelor’s degree in microbiology, and master’s degree in cell/molecular biology. In 2013, Vugar founded a company for developing a device for working with cells in research laboratories. Later he expanded to laboratory supplies and transportation.
In 2018, Vugar started his doctoral studies with Prof. Dr. Mario Zaiss at the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen where he studied the effect of alcohol consumption on the immune system. Since completing his doctorate in 2021, he has been continuing as a postdoctoral researcher and has secured his first research grant advancing and growing his project.
In 2019, Vugar was elected to the advisory board of German Society for Immunology-Young Immunologists working group and selected to serve as co-spokesperson. Vugar, together with the fellow advisory board members, helped to bring light to issues of equality, diversity, and inclusion in academia.
Driven by his subjective experiences Vugar is aiming to raise awareness about leadership in science and academia. He believes that if we, as scientists, would act and develop ourselves to become better leaders today, we will most certainly reap the benefits in the future.


We spend so much time talking and listening to each other. Often, we do not like what we hear and we rather feel like running away or avoiding people – why should we face and value those conversation, that are uncomfortable for us and how? Referring to simple examples, Carina Bayerlein explains the science behind the way we conduct discussions. She also gives you a hands-on recipe, which can help everyone to enjoy discussions about any topic a bit more – even the discussions we have with ourselves.

Who is Carina Bayerlein?

Carina Bayerlein has engaged herself in a wide range of psychological theories after finishing her master’s degree with a focus on organizational psychology. Professionally, she is leading a research & product development team as well as transformation & AI projects. Having grown up in a family without academic experience, her passion is to make positive psychology understandable for everyone even without academic background.
Disagreement and society-splitting debates are often perceived as stressful and unpleasant. Nevertheless, Carina turns to customers, co-workers and friends she disagrees with instead of avoiding potentially uncomfortable situations.
That’s why her TEDxTalk is going to be about how we can talk to each other in a healthier and happier way. She is convinced that it only takes 3 steps to #DisruptAndChange the way we debate as well as to change our society afterwards.


What would you do, if your arms were too weak to eat ice cream on your own? Never have ice cream? Of course not! You’d find a solution to make it work. And so does Josef Fleischmann. In his talk, he shares thought-provoking stories about his daily life as a wheelchair user and reflects about the encounters with society in regards to his disability. His résumé about society and inclusion will come as a surprise to you.

Who is Josef Fleischmann?

Without a little background information, the biography of Josef Fleischmann might read quite regular: Graduated school in 2013, finished his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering in a dual degree program at Nokia and then worked part-time as a software developer while getting his master’s degree in energy technology. Now his main focus is building intelligent software solutions for industrial production plants.
What comes as a little surprise is the fact, that he uses a wheelchair because of a condition called “spinal muscular atrophy” which barely enables him to reach his mouth with his hands, let alone drink or eat by himself. Despite this, or maybe even because of this, he leads a very joyful, self-fulfilled and mostly “regular” life.
He has a way of dealing with obstacles that underline his positive outlook on life. Like when he met his first friend in a new city by asking a complete stranger to warm his hands when they got too cold while being outside and thus, not being able to drive his wheelchair home by himself.
Josef inspires the audience with interesting, funny and thoughtful stories about his daily life and encourages to simply love life.

A big thank you to all our volounteers!

Nina Tauscher
Jens Schlatmann
Tobias Vogel
Nicole Lavrov
Alexandra Borkowski
Annika Fischer
Rebecca Greiner
Fabian Renner
Felix Burgahn
Luisa-Maria Stiller
Anton Kudryavtsev
Carolina Castello Branco Widuch
Franziska Niebler
Kairun Daikoku
Lucas Wittmann
Lukas Mechs
Stephen Niemann
Frederic Mayer
Marie-Lena Seidl
Daniel Geiger
Jessica Pistoia