Fields of Research
Otto Stern and Physics in Hamburg in the 1920sIn the 1920s, the Hamburgische Universität, as it was called in German, evolved into a world-renowned center for physics. And Otto Stern was, as his name suggests, its “star.” Stern built up the Institute of Physical Chemistry between 1923 and 1933. His pioneering work in the fields of atomic, molecular, and nuclear physics was highly admired and he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1943. Stern attracted researchers to Hamburg from all over the world, including Wolfgang Pauli, Isidor Rabi, Emilio Segrè, and Hans Jensen, who would all go on to become Nobel Prize winners as well. This golden era ended in 1933: facing expulsion from the University for being Jewish, Otto Stern emigrated to the United States.
Excellent!In July 2019, the University was chosen as one of eleven winners of the Excellence Strategy of the Federal and State Governments and awarded the title University of Excellence. This makes it one of Germany’s top research-intensive universities—a fact confirmed by the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat). As a flagship university, Universität Hamburg is committed to innovation and collaborative research in greater Hamburg. It generates and fosters sustainable know- ledge, education, and knowledge exchange nationally and internationally.
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Today, over 4,400 researchers work in several disciplines. Over the last 100 years, many of our researchers have done ground-breaking work in their subjects and won international renown. In every decade since its founding, the University has produced outstan-ding science and scholarship, with the exception of the years between 1933 and 1945, when the National Socialists persecuted such illustrious figures as Ernst Cassirer, William Stern, and Albrecht Mendelsohn Bartholdy and sent an entire generation of young academics to the trenches.
Ralf Dahrendorf studied philosophy and classical philology at the University of Hamburg until 1952. In 1958 he returned from England to teach two years as a professor of sociology at the Hamburg Academy of Social Sciences and the University. As a scientist Ralf Dahrendorf devoted himself to conflict theory, social change and the liberal society. In the 1960s, he determined as a liberal reform politician, the German debates on political participation and improved educational opportunities significantly.
Legendary in 1968 was his public exchange with the "student leader" Rudi Dutschke. Ralf Dahrendorf and student leader Rudi Dutschke met in November 1967 at a podium discussion in the Audimax.