Since Georg Christoph Lichtenberg became the first professor of Physics in Göttingen in 1770 and since the appointment of Carl Friedrich Gauß as director of the University Observatory in 1807, physics and astronomy in Göttingen have had a remarkable development that is respected worldwide. The period of prosperity of Göttingen physics in the first three decades of the 20th century was marked by the foundation of quantum mechanics by Max Born and Werner Heisenberg, the development of seismic methods by Emil Wiechert and the work of Karl Schwarzschild on the theory of relativity. At the end of the 20th century, the Faculty of Physics comprised 10 institutes: the 1st and 2nd Institutes being devoted to experimental physics going back to Robert Pohl and Nobel laureate James Franck, the Institute for Theoretical Physics with Nobel laureate Max Born as its first director, the Institute of Astrophysics originating from the University Observatory, the Institute of Geophysics and the younger Institutes of Semiconductor Physics, Materials Physics, X-ray Physics, Dynamics of Complex Systems and Biophysics.
There are further shared professorships at renowned external research facilities in Göttingen, supporting the excellent multidisciplinary research of the faculty: Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, and Institute for Aerodynamics and Flow Technology (German Aerospace Center).
In collaborative research projects, the faculty cooperates closely with the Faculties of Chemistry, of Mathematics, of Medicine, and with the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, and the Laser-Laboratorium Göttingen. Therefore the faculty is involved in numerous interdisciplinary and cross-departmental collaborative research
projects, like DFG-Collaborative Research Centres:
• No. 755 Nanoscale Photonic Imaging
• No. 803 Functionality Controlled by Organisation in and between Membranes
• No. 937 "Collective Behavior of soft and biological matter",
• No. 1073 "Atomic Scale Control of Energy Conversion"
and BMBF-Research Foci:
• Research Focus No. 103 (ATLAS): closely connected to CERN
• Promotional Focus Astrophysics with Earthbound Telescopes; involved in the international very large telescope projects of ESO.
Supports of young academics
The Faculty of Physics supports young academics to enter an academic career. Details can be found on our website Support of young academics.