Max Planck Institute for Physics

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Max Planck Institute for Physics
(Werner Heisenberg Institute)
Max Planck Institute for Physics (Werner Heisenberg Institute)
Aerial view
Category: research Institute
Carrier: Max Planck Society
Legal form of the carrier: Registered association
Seat of the wearer: Munich
Facility location: Freimann
Type of research: Basic research
Subjects: Natural sciences
Areas of expertise: physics
Basic funding: Federal government (50%), states (50%)
Management: Board of Directors, Managing Director: Dieter Lüst
Employee: approx. 330 (Feb. 2019)
Exterior view of the Max Planck Institute for Physics with assembly hall (left) and lecture hall (right)

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is a non-university research facility sponsored by the Max Planck Society (MPG) and is based in the Freimann district of Munich on Föhringer Ring . The institute primarily conducts basic research in the field of natural sciences in the field of experimental and theoretical elementary particle physics with connections to astrophysics , cosmology and many-particle physics . The full name of the institute is Max Planck Institute for Physics (Werner Heisenberg Institute) .


The institute was founded on October 1, 1917 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in Berlin , with Albert Einstein as chairman of a board of directors consisting of Fritz Haber , Walther Nernst and Max Planck . When it was founded, the institute had neither a building nor its own workforce. Initially there was only a board of trustees that helped manage a budget to support experimental and later theoretical research work carried out at other institutes.

The plan of 1929 under Max von Laue , Vice Director since 1922, to set up an institute for theoretical physics, was not carried out. After Einstein resigned in 1933, the Rockefeller Foundation agreed in 1935 with the government of the Third Reich to set up an institute in Berlin-Dahlem . In 1938 the institute building of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics was inaugurated and was equipped with modern devices for core and low temperature physics . When the secret uranium project began to be set up in 1940 , the Dutch director Peter Debye left the institute and emigrated to the USA .

In July 1942 Werner Heisenberg was appointed director. Heisenberg expanded the research program to include cosmic rays and elementary particle physics. During the Second World War , the institute was partially evacuated to Hechingen in 1943 . Shortly before the end of the war in 1945, Heisenberg was about to bring a nuclear reactor into critical condition for the first time with the Haigerloch research reactor .

The equipment of the Dahlem Institute was dismantled after the end of the war and brought to the Soviet Union as reparations . Heisenberg, von Laue and several of their employees became British prisoners of war and were interned in Farm Hall as part of Operation Epsilon . As early as 1946, Heisenberg and von Laue returned to Göttingen , where they were allowed to reopen their institute under the name Max Planck Institute for Physics . The research program included cosmic ray physics , elementary particle physics, sub-areas of nuclear physics, astrophysics and plasma physics .

In 1958 the institute was relocated to its current location in the north of Munich and expanded to become the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics , with Werner Heisenberg and Ludwig Biermann as co-directors. The institute building was built according to the plans of the architect Sep Ruf . The subsidiary institutes for plasma physics and extraterrestrial physics emerged from the institute in 1960 and 1963, respectively. Both institutes were located in Garching near Munich. In 1979 the "Astrophysics" division also moved to Garching. In April 1991 the MPI for Physics and Astrophysics was split up into three independent Max Planck Institutes: the Max Planck Institute for Physics, the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics .

Current plans include a move to the campus of the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Garching due to the necessary structural renovations in the existing building . The move is planned for 2022. The design of the new building comes from the Munich architectural office Brechensbauer Weinhart + Partner Architects. Around 350 jobs will be relocated during the move. This would reunite the parent institute with its subsidiary institutes on one campus.


The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) mainly deals with the fundamental components of matter, their interactions and their role in astrophysics and cosmology.

The theoretical work focuses on the field theory of strong interaction , phenomenological studies of high-energy physics, the study of possible extensions to the standard model of elementary particle physics and the mathematical foundations of quantum theory (e.g. string theory ) as well as open questions in astroparticle physics.

The experimental work includes participation in international collaborations on particle accelerators as well as these complementary non-accelerator experiments on particle and astroparticle physics. Among other things, the institute is involved in the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN , the MAGIC telescope for observing high-energy gamma radiation of cosmic origin and the KATRIN experiment, with which scientists want to determine the mass of the neutrino. In addition, scientists at the institute are working on two experiments in the underground Gran Sasso test laboratory : the CRESST experiment to detect dark matter particles and the GERDA experiment to search for neutrino-free double beta decays . In addition, the MPP is involved in the construction of the Cherenkov Telescope Array .

In addition to operation and data analysis on existing experiments, the institute is concerned with the development of future instruments, e.g. B. on the construction of detector components for the International Linear Collider . In the AWAKE project , the MPP is researching novel methods of particle acceleration: a charged wave is generated in a plasma , on which electrons can be accelerated over short distances. With the planned MADMAX experiment, scientists want to prove a previously purely hypothetical particle, the axion.


At the beginning of 2019, a total of around 330 employees worked at the institute, including around 105 scientists and 110 junior and visiting scientists.

The institute has technical departments with its own training workshops for the development and construction of experimental measurement electronics as well as for the planning and construction of the experimental setups.

International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS)

The Max Planck Institute for Physics operates the International Max Planck Research School on Elementary Particle Physics together with the two Munich universities LMU Munich and TU Munich . An IMPRS is an English-language doctoral program that enables a structured doctorate. The spokesman for the IMPRS is Wolfgang Hollik.


Since Werner Heisenberg's retirement at the end of 1970, the institute has been headed by a board of directors. Léon Van Hove , Hans-Peter Dürr , Norbert Schmitz , Ulrich Stierlin , Gerd Buschhorn , Leo Stodolsky , Wolfhart Zimmermann , Julius Wess , Friedrich Dydak , Volker Soergel were the directors of the institute.

The current board of directors (as of 2019) consists of Siegfried Bethke , Allen Caldwell , Gia Dvali (also Dwali), Johannes Henn , Dieter Lüst , Masahiro Teshima and Giulia Zanderighi .

Significant employees


  • Max Planck Society (ed.): Max Planck Institute for Physics. Series: Reports and communications from the Max Planck Society, issue 1993/1, ISSN  0341-7778 .
  • Horst Kant : Max Planck Institute for Physics, Berlin - Munich , in: Denkorte. Max Planck Society and Kaiser Wilhelm Society. Fractions and continuities , Sandstein-Verlag, Dresden 2011, ISBN 978-3-942422-01-7 , pp. 316–323.

Web links

Commons : Max Planck Institute for Physics  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. New building | Max Planck Institute for Physics. Retrieved May 29, 2020 .
  2. Mother Physics comes to Garching . In: . March 1, 2017 ( [accessed June 27, 2017]).
  3. Gudrun Passarge Garching: A house for Einstein's heirs . In: . March 3, 2017, ISSN  0174-4917 ( [accessed June 27, 2017]).
  4. Public invitation to tender Munich 2015 New institute building, Max Planck Institute for Physics in Garching, service for the specialist planning laboratory planning according to § 53-58 HOAI 2013. 2015-05-16. Retrieved June 27, 2017 .
  5. AWAKE website of the MPP
  6. MADMAX Web site of the MPP
  7. see homepage Archived copy ( Memento of the original from February 12, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /

Coordinates: 48 ° 11 ′ 3 "  N , 11 ° 36 ′ 45"  E