On 6 May 2015, the Ludwig Maximilian University Munich [LMU] has been named a Historic Site by the European Physical Society [EPS]. After the Physikalisch Technische Bundesanstalt [PTB] in Berlin in 2013, LMU is the second German institution to receive this honour.
As mentioned on the commemorative plaque, which is mounted on a boulder of granite in the courtyard of the LMU, its Physics Faculty has been distinguished because here, “at the beginning of the twentieth century, pioneers of modern theoretical and experimental physics taught and performed scientific research”. “Ludwig Boltzmann, Wilhelm Wien, Max Planck, Arnold Sommerfeld, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli and Karl Schwarzschild laid foundations of statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, atomic physics, quantum mechanics and the theory of relativity. Through their invention and application of X-‐rays,Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen and Max von Laue revolutionized medical diagnostics and the analysis of atomic structures in physics, chemistry and biology.”
The award ceremony took place in the faculty’s historic lecture hall, where Arnold Sommerfeld held his lectures in front of students like Heisenberg and Pauli. Welcome addresses were delivered by Ralf Bender, dean of the faculty for physics, Bernd Huber, president of LMU and Siegfried Bethke, representing the Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft (DPG). Christophe Rossel, president of the EPS, praised the mentioned scientists for their fundamental contributions and emphasised the importance of appreciating historical achievements for future developments in science and society. In his enjoyable speech, Axel Schenzle, who presided as dean over the faculty for many years, outlined the history of physical research in Munich. He also included scientists who are not mentioned on the plaque explicitly but were of importance at various times. His anecdotes and side remarks not only made us smile, they also inspired further reflections upon science and those who perform it.
About EPS Historic sites
The EPS Historic Sites Award commemorates places in Europe that are important for the development and the history of physics. EPS historic sites are locations (laboratories, buildings, institutions, universities, towns, etc.) associated with an event, discovery, research or body of work, by one or more individuals, that made important, exceptional contributions to physics.
Visit the EPS website to view all the EPS Historic Sites: http://www.eps.org/?page=distinction_sites.