Jochen Büttner, Dr.

Postdoctoral Researcher
Department Structural Changes of the Technosphere

Main Focus

I am a researcher in the Department of Structural Changes of the Technosphere. 

Trained as a physicist, I have worked at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science for about 20 years, where I also earned my Ph.D. with a dissertation on Galileo Galilei. A particular focus of my work was on the role of practical knowledge in the emergence of mechanics, which in the 17th century became a paradigm in the development of science. My training as a historian helps me to deal with historical processes and data, such as in the project "Dynamics of the Technosphere," where 19th-century energy usage datasets need to be constructed from and made commensurable by identifying and analyzing pertinent historical sources.

Together with a team of archaeologists, as a group leader in the Excellence Cluster Topoi, I have investigated innovation processes in ancient technology. This background in archaeology allows me to bridge my work with the primarily archaeology-based investigation of land use and urbanization at the institute.

As a Research Associate at BIFOLD (Berlin Institute for the Foundations of Data and Learning), I have been involved in developing and exploring machine learning methods in and for the historical sciences and archaeology. I bring this expertise to the MPI GEA, where I am coordinating the development of an AI Research Assistant for Geoanthropology.

My main project is the "Dynamics of the Technosphere," which aims to understand the complex systems of the technosphere and their interactions by identifying key subsystems and variables, employing empirical data, computational modeling, and theoretical analysis to uncover the principles driving these systems, and developing models to identify leverage points for influencing technospheric behavior.

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