Dieter Hoffmann (historian)

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Dieter Hoffmann (born December 11, 1948 in Berlin ) is a German historian of science who has an extensive work to show, especially on the history of modern physics.


Conversation between Holger Klein and Dieter Hoffmann about his career and the history of science.

Hoffmann studied physics at the Humboldt University in Berlin from 1967 to 1972 , where he received his doctorate in 1976 with the topic of stages in the interaction of science and production, attempting periodization using the example of the history of semiconductor research, and in 1989 he began studying the history of science The life and work of Ernst Mach (1838-1916) qualified as a professor . Between 1975 and 1991 he worked at the Institute for Theory, History and Organization of Science with Hubert Laitko at the Academy of Sciences of the GDR . Together with Horst Kant, he founded a working group on the history of physics in the Physical Society of the GDR in 1978 , which Kant headed until reunification in 1990.

After German reunification , he received a grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and worked at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt . Between 1992 and 1995 he was also a member of the research focus on the history of science in Berlin. Since 1996 he has been a research assistant at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin and since 1997 also a private lecturer at the Humboldt University in Berlin. In 2010 he was elected to the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina . Hoffmann was awarded the Abraham Pais Prize of the American Physical Society for 2020 (laudation: For insightful, determined, often courageous biographical and institutional studies on the history of German physics and technology, from the Weimar period through the Nazi period and the time of the GDR ).


Hoffmann is involved on a voluntary basis in numerous committees: he is the deputy chairman of the Association for the History of Physics of the German Physical Society , a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Georg Agricola Society and the Advisory Board of the Robert Havemann Society . He is also secretary of the Commission on the History of Modern Physics of the IUHPS / DHS and advisor to the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt. Between 1994 and 2002 he was a board member of the German Society for the History of Medicine, Natural Sciences and Technology.

Books (selection)

  • (Ed.): Max Planck and modern physics , Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer 2010, ISBN 978-3-540-87844-5 .
  • (Ed.): Max Planck: Annalen papers , Wiley-VCH, Weinheim 2008, ISBN 978-3-527-40819-1
  • Max Planck: the emergence of modern physics. CH Beck, Munich 2008 (Beck'sche series 2442), ISBN 978-3-406-56242-6
  • (Ed.), Together with Mark Walker : Physicists between autonomy and adaptation. Wiley-VCH, Weinheim 2007, ISBN 978-3-527-40585-5 (History of the German Physical Society in the Nazi era)
  • Einstein's Berlin. Wiley-VCH, Berlin 2006
  • (Ed.): Physics in post-war Germany. Harri Deutsch, Frankfurt am Main 2002
  • Ed. Together with Kristie Macrakis: Science under socialism East Germany in comparative perspective , Cambridge, Mass .: Harvard Univ. Press 1999, ISBN 0-674-79477-X .
  • Einstein's Berlin , Verlag für Berlin-Brandenburg , Berlin 2018, ISBN 978-3-947215-14-0

Individual evidence

  1. Resonator Podcast of the Helmholtz Association : Brief on the History of Science (episode 64, July 3, 2015)
  2. Member entry of Dieter Hoffmann at the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina , accessed on October 12, 2012.
  3. "For insightful, determined, often courageous biographical and institutional studies of the history of German physics and technology, from Weimar through the Nazi and East German regimes." Laudation Pais Prize

Web links