The Faculty of Biology and Psychology
Milestones of Biology at the University of Göttingen are the world’s first Plant Physiology Institute (1878/79) and Germany’s first Institute for Microbiology (1901). For the first hundred years after the University was founded, biology and the natural sciences were part of the Medical Faculty, indeed the Old Botanical Gardens were laid out in 1740 by the famous anatomist Albrecht von Haller. Amongst the distinguished biologists of Göttingen’s nineteenth Century were Johann-Friedrich von Blumenbach, who greatly influenced Alexander von Humboldt and who can be regarded as the founder of modern anthropology, the well-known invertebrate zoologist Ernst Ehlers, and the renowned plant taxonomist and geobotanist Heinrich August Rudolf Grisebach. Biology in Göttingen, as with physics, enjoyed international fame in the 1920s and 1930s through the work of the botanist von Fritz von Wettstein and the zoologists Alfred Richard Wilhelm Kühn and Ernst Caspari. Together they provided the genetical basis for today’s developmental biology.
In 1996, a biology faculty was created, possibly also reflecting the fact that biologists constitute the largest contingent of natural science students at Göttingen.
The Faculty today
Today the Faculty of Biology and Psychology focuses on three major research fields: molecular biosciences, biodiversity and ecology, and neuro-biology and behaviour. The faculty is organised in three institutes of Biology and one institute for Psychology. The Albrecht-von-Haller Institute of Plant Sciences consists of nine departments. The Johann-Friedrich-Blumenbach-Institute for Zoology and Anthropology consists of eight departments including a joint department with the German Primate Center, and in addition two junior professor groups and one additional bridge professorship with the German Primate Center. The Institute of Microbiology and Genetics consists of eight departments and one additional junior professor group. The Georg-Elias-Müller Institute of Psychology consists of eight departments and in addition one junior professor group and one bridge professorship with the German Primate Center.