Max Planck Institute For Biophysical Chemistry - History


The history of the Institute goes back to the year 1949. At that time, the Max Planck Society established the Max Planck Institute for Physical Chemistry in Göttingen as follow-up of the former Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry in Berlin. Karl Friedrich Bonhoeffer, who already worked at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, became the founding director of the new institute. He was one of the first researchers who applied physical-chemical methods in biological research and thus combined different disciplines of natural sciences in research.

The Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry was created in 1971 by merging the Max Planck Institutes for Physical Chemistry and for Spectroscopy in Göttingen. This was largely initiated by Nobel Prize laureate Manfred Eigen, who was at that time director of the Max Planck Institute for Physical Chemistry. His vision of an interdisciplinary approach to biological research was decisive and the creative impulse for the development of the institute. In honour of Karl Friedrich Bonhoeffer, the new institute was named after him.

Although the institute is dedicated to basic research – by virtue of the charter of the Max Planck Society – its policy has been to encourage the transfer of numerous technological innovations to the marketplace. As a consequence, many licensing agreements and start-up firms have arisen from research conducted at the institute, e. g. Lambda Physik (today part of Coherent), DeveloGen (today part of Evotec) and Evotec.

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