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Anniversary of the Max Planck Society

Congratulations on 70 years of international top research!

70 years of the Max Planck Society: On 26 February 1948,"Germany's most successful research organization" (self-description) was re-established in Göttingen. With 18 Nobel Prize winners in 70 years, around 15,000 publications per year and a total of 84 institutes and institutions, the society is indeed Germany's most influential institution for cutting-edge research.

A re-establishment it was indeed, as the Max Planck Gesellschaft was rooted in the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, which had been founded in Berlin in 1911. This predecessor was at the time a completely new institution in Germany, which - financed jointly by the economy and the state - devoted itself to fundamental research. Here, top scientists were able to concentrate entirely on their research interests, free of any teaching obligations. The MPG still follows this principle to this day.

Foundation of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in 1948

Foundation of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in 1948. In the middle, standing: Adolf Grimme and Otto Hahn.

Between 1918 and 1932 alone, seven scientists of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society were awarded the Nobel Prize. But during National Socialism, however, the society was too willing to cooperate with the Nazi regime. That is why the West Allies pushed for their dissolution after the Second World War.
Two of the most important German researchers played the leading role in the new beginning: Max Planck, who gave his name to the project, and Otto Hahn, who succeeded him as president. The two Nobel laureates, especially Hahn, who had “remained upright during the evil years" (according to Albert Einstein), were able to regain the former reputation of society through their work and their globally respected personality. After the foundation of the Federal Republic of Germany, the individual institutes in the different zones of occupation were reunited under the umbrella of the society.

Focused on international cooperation

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft´s Minerva symbol

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft´s Minerva symbol

Today, the MPG sees itself on an equal footing with the world's best and most respected research institutions and relies on international cooperation: more than 6,000 foreign guest and junior researchers work at the various Max Planck Institutes every year. One third of the Max Planck directors and half of the doctoral students have a foreign passport; in the case of post-doctoral students, the figure is as high as 80 percent. According to the company, there are more than 4,500 cooperation projects between its institutes and about 5,400 partners in more than 100 countries around the world.

One of the many fields of research at MPG is intellectual property, to which the Institute for Innovation and Competition devotes itself. The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of this institute, by the way, is DPMA President Cornelia Rudloff-Schäffer.

The enormous research achievements of the Max Planck Society are illustrated by a brief search in the DPMA's patent database, DEPATISnet: If you search for patent applications of the society here, you get 11,169 hits!

Pictures: Archiv der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

Last updated: 22/01/19 


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