Innovative, interdisciplinary, international: These three words summarize what makes the University of Tübingen special. Excellent research and teaching are Tübingen’s answer to the challenges of the future in a globalized world. We maintain exchanges with partners around the globe - both at institutions of higher education and at non-university research institutions. Networks and cooperation across faculty and subject boundaries are the pillars of our successful strategy. This is reflected in our good position in international rankings. In addition, we are one of the eleven German universities distinguished with the title of “excellent.”
The University of Tübingen, with its more than 500 years of history, is one of Germany’s oldest. Many great intellectuals have studied and worked in Tübingen - including Kepler, Hegel, Hölderlin, and Schelling. The genius loci - the spirit of the place - is now stronger than ever.
History of Physics in Tübingen
Mathematics and physics started with astronomy in Tübingen. Already in 1507, i.e. 30 years after the founding of the university, Duke Ulrich summoned pastor Johannes Stöffler (1452-1531) to the artists' faculty as a professor for "Mathesis". At this time mathematics and astronomy were closely linked in Tübingen. Stoeffler was primarily known through the issuance of its Astronomical Ephemeris, in which he had tabulated the course of planets to 20 years in advance.
He also constructed the Astronomical Clock at the Tübingen town hall. He was followed by representatives of astronomy such as Michael Mästlin (1546-1601), the teacher of Johannes Kepler, and Wilhelm Schickard (1592-1635), who developed a first computing machine for his astronomical calculations. Schickard had a professorship in Tübingen for Hebrew and Astronomy. Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), under whose name the faculty organises an academic event every year, was only as a student in Tübingen. Disputes over theological doctrines prevented Kepler to be appointed to a professorship in Tübingen.
In 1863 the first Faculty of Science at a university in Germany was founded in Tübingen. This comprised in addition to the chairs of mathematics and physics those for geology, chemistry, botany and zoology. In the 19th Century it is worth mentioning, above all, Karl Ferdinand Braun (1850-1918), who worked in the field of electromagnetic oscillations for 10 years, starting in 1885. He developed the cathode-ray oscilloscope - the Braun tube - the starting point for the development of television and computer monitors. His contributions to the development of antenna technology enabled powerful radio and TV stations.
In the first half of the 20th Century physics in Tübingen was characterized especially by the nuclear physics. The names of Friedrich Paschen (1865-1947), Ernst Back (1936-1948) and Walter Gerlach are associated with basic experiments on atomic physics and quantum mechanics. Hans Geiger (1882-1945) worked on the fields of radioactivity and nuclear physics. With his name primarily the Geiger counter for detecting ionizing particles is associated.
In the summer of 1970, the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences was dissolved into various departments. Amongst others, the Faculty of Mathematics and the Physics Department - since 1979 Faculty of Physics - arose. In summer semester 1973, a large part of the institutes of these faculties could move into the new buildings at the Morgenstelle area.
As part of the structural reform of the university in the winter semester 2002/03, the Faculty of Mathematics and the Faculty of Physics were merged to a joint Faculty of Mathematics and Physics. In a further structural reform in the winter semester 2010/11, the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences was founded and Physics is now a section of this faculty.