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      Clean Protection Nanotechnology helps to save the Vatican Academy of Sciences.


      SZ-Reporte Cathrin Elss-Seringhaus

      Whoever wants to work for the Curia as a permanent employee must swear by the Bible to keep his mouth shut. Alain Neumann (41), who only fulfils one kind of contract for work, is not subject to this vow of silence. He is allowed to chat - with the necessary pride. After all, the Bexbach-based "Nano4You"-GmbH, of which Neumann is the authorized signatory, can now officially advertise with the Vatican customer. "It's an honor to work there, they can choose people from all over the world." How did it happen? A customer brought Nano4You into play, who in turn supplied paint shops that had been working for the Vatican for some time. When they called me in November 2006, I thought, "Watch out, hidden camera," says Neumann. Two days later he was on a plane. His first trip to Rome. "During the taxi ride to the Vatican, for the first time in my life, I kept my mouth shut for an hour." Meanwhile Neumann has already been there four times, carries an identity card "Staff Refinement. Città del Vatticano". The initial great amazement at the imposance of historical buildings has turned into enthusiasm. Especially for the task that your Excellency Archbishop Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo entrusted to him there. Neu-mann is to ensure that the stones of the academy are cleaned without loss of substance and prepared in such a way that they are less quickly polluted by microorganisms. The Accademia delle Scienze building is about 25 minutes' walk from the Swiss Guard, in the middle of the Vatican Gardens. "Every 80 to 100 meters armed people wait, all of them very nice." Neumann leaves the designer jeans at home during his Vatican visits, as well as the jokes with which he usually relaxes the atmosphere at business meetings.

      "The first commandment is courtesy and respect. For example, you can't just stand next to a conversation partner to show him a plan, you have to ask permission." Neumann explains that his guiding principle is to move as if he were in a holy place. But behind the walls he is always accompanied by the feeling: "I am walking through a gigantic church with a garden inside". It is irritatingly quiet, almost deserted, and nothing worldly, only birdsong and organ music he had heard. An emotion that leads to the fact that profane things like food don't find an ancestral canteen or bistro place. One brings along provisions and water. But picnic in the meadow? "That would be so inappropriate you'd think you'd get shot for it." But Neumann couldn't have shown too much caution, after all, he had to be sovereign and competent. The potential contract has become a business relationship. Against initial skepticism, because the Vatican has centuries of experience in the preservation of historical monuments. Of course, the papal specialists were unable to stop spalling and mould from forming. "If the old procedures were sufficient, we would not have been called," concludes Neumann. If he "does the right thing", other buildings in the Vatican are waiting for him. Only then will it perhaps be a million coup; according to Neumann, the current remuneration is in the five-figure range. The main phase of the "application" has not even begun yet. In other words, the nano products from the Saar region are still waiting for their prominent, large-scale, clean-man application.

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