Jürgen Renn

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Jürgen Renn (* 11 July 1956 in Moers) is a German historian of science and since 1994 director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.

Short biography[edit]

Renn studied physics at the Free University of Berlin and at the Sapienza University of Rome. In 1987 he received his Ph.D in mathematical physics from the Technical University of Berlin.[1] Between 1986 and 1992 he worked as co-editor of the "Collected Papers of Albert Einstein" at Boston University. Between 1991 and 1996 he co-directed with Peter Damerow the "Arbeitsstelle Albert Einstein" at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. In 1993/94 he was visiting professor at Tel Aviv University and at the ETH Zurich. Since its founding in 1994 Renn is a director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) in Berlin. Renn holds an honorary professorship for the history of science at the Humboldt University of Berlin and at the Free University of Berlin. Since 1998 he is Adjunct Professor for philosophy and physics at Boston University. He is a member of the Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, the International Academy for the History of Science, and serves on the executive boards of Berlin's German Universities Excellence Initiative 'Topoi'[2] and the Berliner Antike-Kolleg.

Scholarly activities[edit]

Research and fields of study

Renn's research projects focus on long-term developments of knowledge while taking into account processes of globalization. His research projects have dealt with the historical development of mechanics from antiquity until the 20th century. In this context Renn also investigates the origins of mechanics in China, the transformation of ancient knowledge and the exchange of knowledge between Europe and China in the early modern period. A main focus of Renn's research is the history of modern physics, investigating the origin and development of general theory of relativity, and of quantum theory in particular. Recently, Renn has taken on the challenges of the Anthropocene in investigating the history of knowledge and science.

Digitalization and Open Access

Since the emergence of the World Wide Web, Renn has advocated for free access to historical sources.[3] In 1992 he launched an initiative with Peter Damerow and Paolo Galluzzi to create a freely accessible “Galileo-Einstein Electronic Archive” online. With support from the European Community, he later founded the ECHO-Initiative (European Cultural Heritage Online) to promote the study of historical sources online.[4] Renn is one of the initiators of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities[5] and launched the publishing platform Edition Open Access[6] together with other colleagues from the Max Planck Society.


Renn has organized several exhibitions in the area of the history of science, technology and culture. He has co-organized several exhibitions, including:

Awards and Fellowships[edit]

Selected Books

Selected Articles and Book Chapters




  1. ^ The Massive Sine-Gordon Equation in Quantum Field Theory and Classical Statistical Mechanics, Some Rigorous Results
  2. ^ "Renn, Jürgen | Topoi".
  3. ^ https://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/en/research/projects/DEPT1_10_20Buettner-OpenAccess and summarizing: Jürgen Renn, "Beyond editions: historical sources in the digital age," in Internationalität und Interdisziplinarität der Editionswissenschaft, edited by M. Stolz, & Y.-C. Chen, Berlin: De Gruyter 2014, pp. 9-28.
  4. ^ https://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/en/research/projects/DEPT1_10_13Rieger-ECHO
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-05-12. Retrieved 2011-08-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Edition Open Access".
  7. ^ "Albert Einstein - Ingenieur des Universums".
  8. ^ "Technikmuseum würdigt Max Planck". 2008-04-26.
  9. ^ "Katalog - 300 Jahre Wissenschaften in Berlin".
  10. ^ "Archimede. Arte e scienza dell'invenzione | Musei Capitolini".
  11. ^ Claudia Tamiro, "Anassilaos, cultura d’esportazione," in Il Quotidiano (13.11.2011), at http://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/Presse-PDF/2011-11-13_IlQuotidianoAnassilaos.pdf
  12. ^ http://lnx.itisvallauri.net/site/images/documenti/doc2013_2014/articolo_reggio_calabria_premio_ippolito.pdf
  13. ^ http://www.hss.caltech.edu/content/j-rgen-renn-awarded-2014-francis-bacon-prize-outstanding-scholarship-history-science
  14. ^ "Max-Planck-Communitas-Preis".
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-11. Retrieved 2015-06-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)