German Physical Society

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German Physical Society V.
German Physical Society Logo.svg
purpose scientific society
President: Lutz Schröter
Establishment date: January 14, 1845
Number of members: more than 55,000
Seat : Bad Honnef
Office in the Physics Center Bad Honnef , aerial view, 2018

The German Physical Society  e. V. (DPG) is the oldest national and with more than 55,000 members (as of May 2020) also the largest physical society in the world. Their tradition dates back to 1845. It is a non-profit , registered association based in Bad Honnef . Its statutes stipulate that the DPG exclusively and directly serves physics .

The DPG is a member of the European Physical Society and represents Germany in the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics .

The current President of the DPG has been Lutz Schröter for two years since April 1, 2020 , who took over the office from Dieter Meschede . He is now vice-president of the company.


The society emerged from the group of participants in the physical colloquium set up by Heinrich Gustav Magnus and was founded on January 14, 1845 in Berlin as the Physical Society of Berlin (PGzB). The founding members included Emil Du Bois-Reymond and Ernst Wilhelm von Brücke . On January 1, 1899, the German Physical Society emerged from it. After the Second World War, the DPG was dissolved by the Allies and only existed in the Association of German Physical Societies. It was re-established in 1963. The PGzB continues to exist as an independent association and regional association of the DPG. According to the preamble to its statutes, the DPG also ties in with the tradition of the German Society for Technical Physics, founded in 1919 . V. at.

Following German reunification, the GDR Physical Society was integrated into the DPG in 1990 . The DPG is based in Bad Honnef . This is also where the office is located, which has been headed by Managing Director Bernhard Nunner since 2004. Since 1976, the DPG has been the sponsor of the Bad Honnef Physics Center , where conferences take place in rapid succession. The DPG has a branch in Berlin-Mitte , in the Magnus House . The historical archive of the DPG is also located there.


The company works independently and also interferes in the public debate on relevant issues. For example, at a forum at the 51st meeting of the Society on April 2, 1987, scientists took the view that the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) planned by the USA was not feasible. It sees itself as a representation of physicists living in Germany to the public and is intended to promote the exchange of experiences among members and with foreign colleagues.

The DPG itself does not conduct any physical research, but with congresses it promotes the exchange of information on the latest physical findings. Around 10,000 experts from Germany and abroad meet for the traditional spring conferences of the DPG, which take place every year in various cities in Germany. These conferences regularly include the largest physics congress in Europe. In addition, a forum for women in physics was set up: the annual “ German Female Physicists Conference ”.

Logo of the jDPG

The promotion of young talent is another central concern of the DPG and so its conferences are a platform, especially for the younger generation. There, students can talk to well-known scientists. Within the DPG, the working group “ young DPG ” (jDPG), a nationwide network for schoolchildren, physics students and doctoral students, is dedicated to the interests of the next generation. The offer of the jDPG includes scientific aspects as well as professional preparation and work in the field of university policy.

In addition to promoting young talent, the DPG also offers numerous activities for physicists from the fields of industry and business. These are organized and carried out by the Industry and Business Working Group. In addition to the conference series Research - Development - Innovation, regional round tables and industrial discussions are offered in many places to exchange experiences.

Awards and honors

The DPG recognizes physical excellence with awards of international renown. The two most important are the “ Max Planck Medal for Theoretical Physics” and the “ Stern-Gerlach Medal for Experimental Physics”. Some awards - such as the “ Gustav Hertz Prize for Young Physicists” - serve to promote young talent, others - such as the Otto Hahn Prize - are awarded by the DPG in cooperation with organizations from Germany and abroad. In particular, these are the Max Born Prize with the British Institute of Physics , the Marian Smoluchowski-Emil-Warburg Physics Prize with the Polish Physical Society and the Gentner-Kastler Prize with the French Physical Society . With the medal for scientific journalism , the DPG honors personalities who have made a special contribution to presenting scientific facts in public. A badge of honor is awarded to members who have made an outstanding contribution to the interests of the DPG. In addition, the DPG awards high school graduates nationwide for outstanding physics performance. It supports student competitions such as the International Young Physicists' Tournament (IYPT), promotes innovative school projects and organizes advanced training for teachers.

Publications and public relations

The members' magazine - the Physik Journal - reports on news from physics and the DPG. Articles older than three years are available as open access. In addition, the DPG, together with the British Institute of Physics , publishes an electronic specialist magazine: the New Journal of Physics . All articles in this open access journal can be read and downloaded free of charge. The articles published here have passed a strict test procedure ( scientific peer review ). The conference program of the DPG appears under the name “Negotiations”, which lists the summaries (abstracts) of around 8,000 specialist presentations year after year.

The DPG participates in the dialogue between science and the public with popular science publications and public events. These activities also include the highlights of physics . This annual physics festival, which the DPG organizes together with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, has around 30,000 visitors every year; this makes it the largest of its kind in Germany. The “World of Physics” web portal is operated by the DPG together with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research , and it is also aimed at non-specialists.

In the past, the DPG also published the Zeitschrift für Physik , which is now part of the European Physical Journal , and there were other journals in the predecessor organizations of today's DPG.

Chairperson and President of the DPG

Portraits of the chairmen and presidents of the German Physical Society from 1845 to 1945; in the exhibition room of the Magnus House in Berlin
Period Surname
1845-1847 Gustav Karsten
1847-1878 Emil Du Bois-Reymond
1878-1895 Hermann von Helmholtz
1895-1897 Wilhelm von Bezold
1897-1899 Emil Warburg
1899-1905 Emil Warburg
1905-1906 Max Planck
1906 Paul Drude
1906-1907 Max Planck
1907-1908 Heinrich Rubens
1908-1909 Max Planck
1909-1910 Heinrich Rubens
1910-1912 Ferdinand Kurlbaum
1912-1914 Heinrich Rubens
1914-1915 Fritz Haber
1915-1916 Max Planck
1916-1918 Albert Einstein
1918-1920 Arnold Sommerfeld
1920-1922 Wilhelm Vienna
1922-1924 Franz Himstedt
1924-1925 Max Vienna
1925-1927 Friedrich Paschen
1927-1929 Heinrich Konen
1929-1931 Egon von Schweidler
1931-1933 Max von Laue
1933-1935 Karl Mey
1935-1937 Jonathan Zenneck
1937-1939 Peter Debye
1939-1940 Jonathan Zenneck
1940-1945 Carl Ramsauer
1950-1951 Jonathan Zenneck
1952-1953 Karl A. Wolf
1954 Richard Becker
1955 Karl A. Wolf
1956-1957 Walther Gerlach
1958-1959 Ferdinand Trendelenburg
1960-1961 Wilhelm Walcher
1962-1963 Konrad Ruthardt
1964-1965 Fritz Bopp
1966-1967 Wolfgang Finkelnburg
1968-1969 Martin Kersten
1970-1971 Karl Ganzhorn
1972-1973 Werner Buckel
1974-1975 Otto Koch
1976-1977 Hans-Joachim Queisser
1978-1979 Heinrich Welker
1980-1981 Horst Rollnik
1982-1983 Karl Joachim Schmidt-Tiedemann
1984-1986 Joachim Treusch
1986-1988 Joachim Trümper
1988-1990 Otto Gert Folberth
1990-1992 Theo Mayer-Kuckuk
1992-1994 Herwig Schopper
1994-1996 Hans G. Danielmeyer
1996-1998 Markus Schwoerer
1998-2000 Alexander M. Bradshaw
2000-2002 Dirk Basting
2002-2004 Roland Sauerbrey
2004-2006 Knut Urban
2006-2008 Eberhard Umbach
2008-2010 Gerd Litfin
2010–2012 Wolfgang Sandner
2012-2014 Johanna Stachel
2014-2016 Edward G. Krubasik
2016-2018 Rolf-Dieter Heuer
2018-2020 Dieter Meschede
2020-2022 Lutz Schröter

Nobel Prize Winner

Living members who have been awarded a Nobel Prize:

More than 30 Nobel Prize winners are among the deceased DPG members, including Albert Einstein , Werner Heisenberg , Erwin Schrödinger and Niels Bohr .

See also


  • Mark Walker and Dieter Hoffmann (eds.): Physicists between autonomy and adaptation. The German Physical Society in the Third Reich . Wiley-VCH, Weinheim 2006, ISBN 3-527-40585-2
  • Dieter Hoffmann (editor): Gustav Magnus and his house . Publishing house for the history of natural sciences and technology, Stuttgart 1995 (published on behalf of the German Physical Society)

Web links

Commons : German Physical Society  - Collection of Images

Individual evidence

  3. Press release 11/2020: Lutz Schröter new President of the German Physical Society. Retrieved April 9, 2020 .
  4. obituary for Wilhelm Walcher ; Physik Journal 5 (2006) No. 2, pp. 44-45.
  5. The Physical Society of Berlin
  6. ^ Statutes of the German Physical Society V.
  7. ^ Spring meetings of the DPG
  8. Physik Journal 09/2011 p. 99 ff - Annual report 2010 of the DPG
  9. Industry and Economy Working Group (AIW)
  10. Research - Development - Innovation
  11. Industry talks
  12. Previous winners of the medal for scientific journalism
  13. "Bonn makes physics visible"
  14. Scholarly Societies Project on journals of the DPG ( Memento from January 5, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  15. Former presidents at
  16. Johanna Stachel takes over the presidency of the German Physical Society
  17. ^ German Physical Society, list of members from 1845 to 1945