Eleonore Trefftz

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Eleonore Trefftz
Born(1920-08-15)15 August 1920
Aachen, Germany
Died22 October 2017(2017-10-22) (aged 97)
Munich, Germany
Scientific career
FieldsMolecular and nuclear physics
InstitutionsMax Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics

Eleonore Trefftz (15 August 1920 – 22 October 2017) was a German physicist known for her work on molecular and nuclear physics. She was appointed as a Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics in 1971.[1]


Trefftz was born in Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, on 15 August 1920.[2] She was raised in Loschwitz, Dresden from 1923, after her father Erich Trefftz [de] was appointed as a professor of applied mechanics at TU Dresden in 1922.[2][3] Between 1941 and 1945, Trefftz studied at TU Dresden and remained here until 1948, where she engaged in research and made assignments on theoretical physics, assisted by Friedrich Hund.[2][4] In 1948, Trefftz became a research assistant at the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen, where she researched the transition probabilities of spectral lines.[1][4]

In 1971, Trefftz became a Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute for Physics and Astrophysics;[1] she was the second woman to be appointed to the Max Planck Society, after Margot Becke-Goehring.[4] While Trefftz primarily worked on molecular and nuclear physics,[1] she was also associated with quantum chemistry.[4] Trefftz helped develop programming techniques to assist the Max Planck Institute in using computerised data processing.[1] She spent the remainder of her scientific career at the Max Planck Institute,[5] becoming an Emeritus Scientific Member of the Institute for Astrophysics in Garching bei München upon her retirement. She died in Munich on 22 October 2017.[1]

TU Dresden has introduced the Eleonore Trefftz Programme for Visiting Women Professors to support female scientists by providing year-long research and teaching roles.[6] Minor planet 7266 Trefftz, discovered in 1973, was named in her honour.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Stramann, Martin (30 October 2017). "Mourning for Eleonore Trefftz". Max Planck Institute for Physics. Archived from the original on 4 September 2018. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b c "Famous TU Graduates: Eleonore Trefftz" (PDF) (in German). TU Dresden. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 February 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Trefftz, Erich" (in German). Catalog of the German National Library. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d "TU Dresden mourns the passing of Eleonore Trefftz". TU Dresden. 25 October 2017. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  5. ^ a b Schmadel, Lutz D. (10 June 2012). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names. Springer Science+Business Media. ISBN 9783642297182. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Eleonore Trefftz Programme for Visiting Women Professors". TU Dresden. Retrieved 3 September 2018.