List of Heidelberg University people

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Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) was one of the most prominent German philosophers who taught in Heidelberg. Portrait by Jakob Schlesinger, 1831.

Alumni and faculty of the university include many founders and pioneers of academic disciplines, and a large number of internationally acclaimed philosophers, poets, jurisprudents, theologians, natural and social scientists. 56 Nobel Laureates, at least 18 Leibniz Laureates, and two "Oscar" winners have been associated with Heidelberg University. Nine Nobel Laureates received the award during their tenure at Heidelberg.[1]

Besides several Federal Ministers of Germany and Prime Ministers of German States, five Chancellors of Germany have attended the university, the latest being Helmut Kohl, the "Chancellor of the Reunification". Heads of State or Government of Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Nicaragua, Serbia, Thailand, a British Crown Prince, a Secretary General of NATO and a director of the International Peace Bureau have also been educated at Heidelberg; among them Nobel Peace Laureates Charles Albert Gobat and Auguste Beernaert. Former university affiliates in the field of religion include Pope Pius II, Cardinals, Bishops, and with Philipp Melanchthon and Zacharias Ursinus two key leaders of Protestant Reformation. Outstanding university affiliates in the legal profession include a President of the International Court of Justice, two Presidents of the European Court of Human Rights, a President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, a Vice President of the International Criminal Court, an Advocate General at the European Court of Justice, at least 16 Justices of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany, a President of the Federal Court of Justice, a President of the Federal Court of Finance, a President of the Federal Labor Court, two Attorney Generals of Germany, and a British Law Lord. In business, Heidelberg alumni and faculty notably founded, co-founded or presided over ABB Group; Astor corporate enterprises; BASF; BDA; Daimler AG; Deutsche Bank; EADS; Krupp AG; Siemens AG; and Thyssen AG.

Alumni in the field of arts include classical composer Robert Schumann, philosophers Ludwig Feuerbach and Edmund Montgomery, poet Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff and writers Christian Friedrich Hebbel, Gottfried Keller, Irene Frisch, Heinrich Hoffmann, Sir Muhammad Iqbal, José Rizal, W. Somerset Maugham, Jean Paul, and Literature Nobel Laureate Carl Spitteler. Amongst Heidelberg alumni in other disciplines are the "Father of Psychology" Wilhelm Wundt, the "Father of Physical Chemistry" J. Willard Gibbs, the "Father of American Anthropology" Franz Boas, Dmitri Mendeleev, who created the periodic table of elements, inventor of the two-wheeler principle Karl Drais, Alfred Wegener, who discovered the continental drift, as well as political theorist Hannah Arendt, political scientist Carl Joachim Friedrich, and sociologists Karl Mannheim, Robert E. Park and Talcott Parsons.

Philosophers Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Karl Jaspers, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Jürgen Habermas served as university professors, as did also the pioneering scientists Hermann von Helmholtz, Robert Wilhelm Bunsen, Gustav Robert Kirchhoff, Emil Kraepelin, the founder of scientific psychiatry, and outstanding social scientists such as Max Weber, the founding father of modern sociology.

Present faculty include Medicine Nobel Laureates Bert Sakmann (1991) and Harald zur Hausen (2008), Chemistry Nobel Laureate Stefan Hell (2014), 7 Leibniz Laureates, former Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany Paul Kirchhof, and Rüdiger Wolfrum, the former President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.


Name Affiliation Years at Heidelberg Importance / Notes Ref
Herbert Baxter Adams


Historian ~around 1872–1876 Founder of the American Historical Association. Established one of the first history Ph.D. programs to follow the new German seminary method at Johns Hopkins University around 1880. [2]
Felix Adler


Educator 1870–1874 Founder of the Ethical Culture Movement in 1876. [2]
Louis Agassiz


Paleontologist ~around 1824–1829 First to publish the Ice Age Hypothesis in 1840. [2][3]
Christoph Ahlhaus


Politician 1990–1993 Mayor and Prime Minister of Hamburg [4]
Edward Andrade


Physicist 1911–1913 Worked with Ernest Rutherford to show the wave nature of gamma rays in 1914. [5]
Hannah Arendt


Political theorist 1926–1928 Author of The Origins of Totalitarianism and The Human Condition; reported on the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem. [2]
Friedrich Arnold


Anatomist  ?–1825 Privy councillor; described the reflex of coughing when the ear is stimulated; the auricular branch of the vagus nerve was nicknamed "Arnold's nerve" [6]
William Backhouse Astor, Sr.


Financier Head of the Astor corporate enterprises; nicknamed "the Landlord of New York" [7]
Frederick II, Grand Duke of Baden


Statesman  ? Head of State of the Grand Duchy of Baden; General Field Marshal of the German Imperial Army [8]
Prince Maximilian of Baden


Statesman  ? Last Chancellor of the German Empire [9]
Adolf von Baeyer


Chemist ~around 1852–1858 Synthesized indigo; discovered the phthalein dyes; proposed the correct formula for indole; introduced the strain theory in triple bonds and carbon rings. Chemistry Nobel laureate [10]
George Bancroft


Statesman and historian ~around 1813–1822 U.S. Secretary of the Navy; established the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1845; Author of "History of the United States, from the Discovery of the American Continent" [11]
Auguste Beernaert


Statesman ~around 1850–1853 Prime Minister of Belgium and Nobel Peace Laureate [2]
Rudolf Bernhardt


Jurisprudent 1956–1962 President of the European Court of Human Rights [12]
Daniel Bernoulli


Mathematician 1718–1719 Developed the Bernoulli's principle and together with Leonhard Euler the Euler–Bernoulli beam equation. [2]
Manfred Bischoff


Executive Chairman of EADS; Chairman of DaimlerChrysler [2]
Franz Boas


Anthropologist April–September 1877 Started applying the scientific method to the study of human cultures and societies; "Father of American Anthropology" [2]
Edgar Bodenheimer


Jurisprudent  ? Author of "Jurisprudence: The Philosophy and Method of the Law", "Treatise on Justice", "Philosophy of Responsibility" [13]
Max Born


Physicist  ? Formulated the matrix mechanics representation of quantum mechanics in collaboration with Werner Heisenberg; Physics Nobel laureate [14]
Andreas von Bülow


Statesman  ? Federal Minister of Education and Research [15]
Reinhard Bütikofer


Statesman  ? Chairman of the Green Party of Germany [16]
George C. Butte


Jurist 1913 (Jurisprudence) Republican gubernatorial nominee in Texas, 1924; member of the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands, 1932–1936 [17]
Moritz Cantor


Mathematician 1848–? Founded the history of mathematics as a scientific discipline [18]
Conrad Celtes


Humanist scholar 1484–1485 First to teach the history of the world as a whole; discovered the Tabula Peutingeriana [19]
Rangsit, Prince of Chainat


Statesman  ? Prince Regent of Thailand [20]
John W. Chanler


Lawyer  ? Top lawyer; U.S. Representative from New York; member of the Astor family [21]
Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale


Royalty 1884 Crown Prince of Britain [22]
John Amos Comenius


Theologian  ? Bishop of Lissa; author of Didactica Magna; became the symbol of the Czech nation [23]
Wilhelm Cuno


Statesman  ? Chancellor of the German Weimar Republic [2]
Nicholas of Cusa


Theologian and polymath  ? Roman Catholic Cardinal [24]
Thomas Dieterich


Jurisprudent –1963 President of the Federal Labor Court of Germany; Justice in the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany [25]
Jürgen Dormann


Executive  ? CEO of ABB Group [2]
Karl Drais


Inventor 1803–1805 Inventor of the two-wheeler principle that started mechanized transport [26]
Johann Eck


Theologian 1498–1501 Martin Luther's Catholic opponent during Protestant Reformation; Papal legate and Inquisitor [2]
Norbert Elias


Sociologist ~around 1917–1920 Founder of figurational sociology; author of The Civilizing Process [27]
Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff


Poet 1807–1808 Author of "Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts", "Die Zauberei im Herbst", "Ahnung und Gegenwart", "Auch ich war in Arkadien" [28]
Richard T. Ely


Economist  ? Co-founder and president of the American Economic Association; editor of Macmillan's Citizen's Library of Economics, Politics, and Sociology; Professor at Johns Hopkins University and University of Wisconsin–Madison [2]
Ludwig Feuerbach


Philosopher  ? Author of The Essence of Christianity [2]
Carl-August Fleischhauer


Jurist -1954 Judge in the International Court of Justice [29]
James Franck


Physicist  ? Invented the Franck–Hertz experiment; confirmed the Bohr model of the atom; Physics Nobel laureate [2]
Sebastian Franck


Theologian  ? Author of "Weltbuch", "Chronicle of Germany", "Universal Chronicle of the World's History from the Earliest Times to the Present", "The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil", "The Vanity of Arts and Sciences" [30]
Wilhelm Frick


Nazi government  ?–1901 Minister of the Interior of the Third Reich [2]
Carl Joachim Friedrich


Political scientist  ?–1925 Developed the concept of a "good democracy"; laid out a theoretical framework for the European Union; co-author of "Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy" with Zbigniew Brzezinski, author of "Man and His Government: An Empirical Theory of Politics"; Professor at Harvard University [31]
Erich Fromm


Psychologist  ?–1922 Co-founder of political psychology; author of The Art of Loving, Escape from Freedom; co-founder of The Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy [32]
Lazarus Immanuel Fuchs


Mathematician  ? Developed the Fuchsian groups and functions, the Picard–Fuchs equation and the Fuchsian differential equations [33]
Otto von Gerlach


Theologian  ? Published a major rewrite of the Old and New Testament after Martin Luther; Dome Minister and Konsistorialrat [34]
Georg Gottfried Gervinus


Political historian 1826–1828 Advocate of democracy before and during the 1848 revolution; member of the Göttingen Seven; member of the 1848 Frankfurt Parliament; [35]
Constantin Virgil Gheorghiu


Writer  ? Author of "The 25th Hour", "Les inconnus de Heidelberg", "Dieu a Paris", "Le peuple des immortels", "Calligraphies sur la Neige" [36]
J. Willard Gibbs


Physicist, chemist and mathematician 1868 Pioneer of chemical thermodynamics and physical chemistry; inventor of vector analysis; member of the Hall of Fame for Great Americans [37]
Albert Gobat


Statesman  ?–1867 Director of the International Peace Bureau; Member of the Swiss National Council; Nobel Peace laureate [2]
Joseph Goebbels


Nazi government  ?–1921 Minister of Public Enlightenment of the Third Reich; succeeded Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Nazi Germany [2]
Franciscus Gomarus


Theologian  ?–1591 Founder of the Gomarist movement; leader of the 1618 Synod of Dordrecht [38]
Constantine I of Greece


Statesman  ? King of Greece [39]
August Grisebach


Botanist  ? Founded biogeography as a scientific discipline; author of "The Earth's vegetation after its climatic arrangement" and "Catalogus plantarum cubensium" [40]
Max Güde


Jurisprudent  ? Attorney General of Germany [41]
Friedrich Gundolf


Writer  ? Co-founder of the Georgekreis; author of "Die deutsche Literärgeschicht, Reimweis kurz fasslich hergericht´", "Andreas Gryphius", "Shakespeare", "Paracelsus", "Romantiker"; also Professor at Heidelberg from 1916 onwards. [42]
Fritz Haber


Chemist 1886–1891 Developed synthetic ammonia; developed and deployed chlorine and other poison gases; "father of chemical warfare"; Chemistry Nobel laureate [2]
Gunther von Hagens


Artist and physician  ?–1975 Inventor the technique for preserving biological tissue specimens called plastination; initiator of the Body Worlds exhibition of human bodies and body parts. [2]
Theodor W. Hänsch


Physicist  ? Developed an optical "frequency comb synthesiser", which makes it possible, for the first time, to measure with extreme precision the number of light oscillations per second; Physics Nobel laureate [2]
James Hannen, Baron Hannen


Justice  ? Lord of Appeal in Ordinary; Life peer [43]
Monika Harms


Jurisprudent 1966–1967 Attorney General of Germany [44]
Franz-Ulrich Hartl


Biochemist  ? Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry; Wiley Prize laureate in Biomedical Science "for his significant contribution in protein folding"; Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award laureate "for distinguished work in basic medical science" [45]
Christian Friedrich Hebbel


Writer  ? Author of "Maria Magdalene", "Judith", "Genoveva", "Herodes and Mariamne", and of the trilogy "Die Nibelungen " [46]
Rudolf Heinze


Statesman  ? Vice-Chancellor of Germany; German Ministry of Justice (Weimar Republic) [47]
Barnabas Kelet Henagan


Statesman  ? Governor of South Carolina [48]
Heinrich Hoffmann


Writer 1829–1832 Author of children's books including "Der Struwwelpeter" [49]
Chlodwig, Prince of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst


Statesman Chancellor of the German Empire [50]
Charles Henry Huberich


Jurisprudent (?–?) Dean of Stanford Law School [51]
Heinrich Hübsch


Architect 1813–1815 Designer of the University of Karlsruhe main building, State Art Gallery Karlsruhe, Baden State Theater, west front of the Speyer Cathedral [52]
Sir Muhammad Iqbal


Poet, philosopher and politician  ? Leader of the All India Muslim League; author of "Asrar-i-Khudi", "Rumuz-i-Bekhudi", "Payam-i-Mashriq", "Bang-i-Dara", "Zabur-i-Ajam", "Javid Nama", "Bal-i-Jibril", "Zarb-i-Kalim", "What should then be done O people of the East", "Armaghan-i-Hijaz" [53]
Philipp von Jolly


Physicist  ? Contributed significantly to the understanding of gravitational acceleration and osmosis; teacher of Max Planck; also Professor at Heidelberg from 1839 onwards [54]
Heike Kamerlingh Onnes


Physicist 1871–1873 Explored extremely cold refrigeration techniques and the associated phenomena; Physics Nobel laureate [55]
Ernst Kantorowicz


Historian  ? Author of "The King's Two Bodies" and of "Kaiser Friedrich der Zweite"; Professor at Oxford University, University of California, Berkeley and Princeton University [56]
Hans-Peter Kaul


Jurisprudent 1967–1971 Vice President of the International Criminal Court [57]
James E. Keeler


Astronomer  ? Discovered the Encke Division, the Keeler Gap and two asteroids; co-founder of the Astrophysical Journal; Henry Draper Medalist [2]
Gottfried Keller


Writer 1848–1850 Author of "Green Henry", "A Village Romeo and Juliet", "The People of Seldwyla", "Zurich Novellas", "Martin Salander" [58]
Jerome Kern


Composer 1904 Composed The Way You Look Tonight, Ol' Man River, A Fine Romance, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes; Academy Award for the soundtrack of the movie Swing Time [2]
Wolfgang Ketterle


Physicist 1976–1979 Contributed significantly to fundamental studies of condensates; completed experiments that trap and cool atoms to temperatures close to absolute zero, and he led one of the first groups to realize Bose–Einstein condensation in these systems; Physics Nobel laureate; also assistant professor at Heidelberg from 1986–1990 [2]
Gustav Koerner


Jurist graduated as Doctor juris utriusque in 1832 Politician, lawyer, judge and statesman in Illinois; United States Minister to Spain, 1862–1864 [59]
Helmut Kohl


Statesman 1951–1956 Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany; "Architect of the German Reunification" [60]
Juliane Kokott


Jurisprudent 1982–1985 Advocate General at the European Court of Justice [61]
Hermann Franz Moritz Kopp


Chemist  ?–1839 Discovered several important correlations of the physical properties of substances with their chemical constitution; significant research on specific volumes and on the connection of the boiling point of compounds with their composition; also Professor at Heidelberg from 1864 onwards [62]
Sofia Kovalevskaya


Mathematician  ? Developed the Cauchy–Kowalevski theorem; first woman who was appointed to a full professorship in Europe [63]
Gustav Krupp


Industrialist 1888–1893 Owner and Chairman of the Krupp AG heavy industry conglomerate; Prussian Ambassador to the Holy See [2]
Hans Heinrich Lammers


Nazi government  ? Head of the Reich Chancellery; Reich Minister without Portfolio [2]
John S. Kyser[2]


Educator and university president President of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana [64]
Judah Leon Magnes


Rabbi, Pacifist and university chancellor Doctorate 1902 First Chancellor of Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Vera Lüth Physicist 1966–1974 Experimental particle physicist and professor emerita at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, senator of the Helmholtz Association [65]
Golo Mann


Writer and historian 1929–1932 Author of "Friedrich von Gentz", "Vom Geist Amerikas", "Von Weimar nach Bonn. Fünfzig Jahre deutsche Republik", "Erinnerungen und Gedanken. Eine Jugend in Deutschland", "Wir alle sind, was wir gelesen", "Wissen und Trauer. Historische Portraits und Skizzen"; Son of Thomas Mann and Katia Mann [66]
W. Somerset Maugham


Novelist 1890–? Author of "Of Human Bondage", "The Moon and Sixpence", "Cakes and Ale", "The Razor's Edge", "The Magician" [2]
Georg Ludwig von Maurer


Statesman  ?–1812 Member of the Council of Regency of Greece; Bavarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Justice; [67]
Charles McLaren, 1st Baron Aberconway


Statesman  ? Member of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom; member of the House of Lords; Order of the Redeemer (Greece); Order of the Sacred Treasures (Japan) [68]
Philip Melanchthon


Theologian 1509–1512 Key leader of the Protestant Reformation; friend and associate of Martin Luther [2]
Christian Erich Hermann von Meyer


Paleontologist  ? Introduced vertebrate paleontology in Germany; proposed the classification of fossil reptiles into four major groups based on their limbs [69]
Otto Meyerhof


Physician  ?–1909 Cardinal work on muscle metabolism, including glycolysis; also Director of the Heidelberg Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research; Physiology or Medicine Nobel laureate [2]
Johann von Miquel


Statesman  ? Prussian Minister of Finance; Lord Mayor of Frankfurt am Main [70]
Alfred Mombert


Poet  ? Author of "Der Sonnengeist", "Aeon, der Weltgesuchte", "Aeon vor Syrakus", "Der Himmlische Zecher", "Der Held der Erde, Aeon Zwischen den Frauen" [71]
Rudolf Mössbauer


Physicist 1955–1957 Discovered the Mössbauer effect; Professor at the California Institute of Technology; Physics Nobel laureate [72]
F. W. Murnau


Film director  ? Director of "Nosferatu", "The Last Laugh", "Faust", "Sunrise"; Academy Award for "Sunrise" [2]
Karl Friedrich Neumann


Orientalist  ? Author of "A History of the United States of America"; "Geschichte des englischen Reichs in Asien", "Versuch einer Geschichte der armenischen Literatur", "Die Volker des südlichen Russland", "Geschichte des englisch-chinesischen Kriegs " [73]
George Newlands


Theologian  ? Convenor of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland's Panel on Doctrine; member of the Doctrine Commission of the Church of England; Chair of the Theology, Divinity & Religious Studies panel of the UK's Research Assessment Exercise; Professor of Divinity, Glasgow [74]
Max Nonne


Neurologist 1879–1881 Discovered the Nonne-Apelt reaction and the Nonne-Milroy-Meige disease [75]
Robert E. Park


Sociologist 1903 One of the main founders of the Chicago School of sociology; president of the American Sociological Association and of the Chicago Urban League; Professor at Harvard University and at the University of Chicago [2]
Talcott Parsons


Sociologist 1925–1927 Produced a general theoretical system for the analysis of society that came to be called structural functionalism; created the Harvard Department of Social Relations [2]
Jean Paul


Novelist 1817 Author of "Greenland Lawsuits", "Selections from the Devil's Papers", "The Invisible Lodge", "Life of the Cheerful Schoolmaster Maria Wutz", "Biographical Recreations under the Brainpan of a Giantess" [76]
George H. Pendleton


Statesman  ? United States Senator from Ohio; nominee for Vice President of the United States; United States Ambassador to Germany; [77]
Hugo Preuß


Statesman ~around 1879–1883 Minister of the Interior; "Father of the German constitution of the Weimar Republic" [78]
Sir William Ramsay


Chemist  ? Discovered argon; significant contributions to the discovery of the inert gaseous elements in air; Chemistry Nobel laureate [2]
Egon Ranshofen-Wertheimer


Diplomat  ?–1921 Executive, supervisor, and diplomat for the League of Nations and United Nations Organization; author of "Portrait of the British Labour Party" [79]
Jovan Ristić


Statesman  ?–? Acted as regent of Serbia twice and served as Serbian prime minister four times (1867, 1875, 1877–81, 1887–88). [80]
José Rizal


Writer 1887 Author of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo; founder of La Liga Filipina; "national hero of the Philippines" [81]
Richard Rothe


Theologian  ? Co-founder of the Protestantenverein; author of "Die Anfänge der christlichen Kirche und ihrer Verfassung", "Theologische Ethik", "Zur Dogmatik" [82]
Mayer Amschel de Rothschild


Financier  ? Banker; High Sheriff of Buckinghamshire; MP for Hythe [83]
Henrique de Carvalho Santos


Statesman  ? Minister of Industry of Angola [84]
Hermann Scheer


Politician 1967–1972 Member of the German Bundestag; President of Eurosolar; major exponent of renewable energy; Right Livelihood Award 1999 [85]
Matthias Jakob Schleiden


Biologist  ? Co-founder of the cell theory [86]
Hanns Martin Schleyer


Executive 1933–1938 Entrepreneur and head of Confederation of German Employers' Associations; killed by Red Army Faction during the German Autumn [87]
Bernhard Schlink

(* 1944)

Novelist and jurisprudent Author of The Reader [88]
Robert Schumann


Composer 1829–1830 Composed "piano quintet", "Paradise and the Peri", "Faust", "Genoveva", "Rhenish Symphony" [89]
Jacob Gould Schurman


Diplomat ~around 1877–1880 President of Cornell University; U.S. Ambassador to Greece, China and Germany; Benefactor of the University of Heidelberg [90]
William Berryman Scott


Paleontologist  ?–1880 Authority on mammals; author of the White River Oligocene monographs; Professor at Princeton University; Penrose Medalist [91]
Anna Seghers


Poet  ? Author of The Seventh Cross, The Dead Stay Young, Benito's Blue and Nine Other Stories, A Price on His Head, Revolt of the Fishermen of Santa Barbara [92]
Walter Seuffert


Jurisprudent 1925– Vice President of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany [93]
Georg Wilhelm von Siemens


Industrialist ~around 1876–1879 Owner and Chairman of Siemens AG; privy councillor [94]
Georg von Siemens


Banker  ? Co-founder and director of Deutsche Bank; financed the Northern Pacific Railway and Baghdad Railway; member of the imperial Reichstag [95]
Hans Spemann


Physician  ? Discovered the effect now known as Embryonic induction; Physiology or Medicine Nobel laureate [2]
Carl Spitteler


Poet  ? Author of The Olympic Spring; Literature Nobel laureate [2]
Jakob Steiner


Mathematician 1818–1821 Renowned Swiss mathematician [96]
Konstantin Stoilov


Statesman  ?–1877 Prime Minister of Bulgaria [97]
Hans-Christian Ströbele


Statesman 1960–? Deputy Parliamentary Leader of the Green Party of Germany [98]
Thomas Sydserf


Theologian  ? Bishop of Brechin; Bishop of Galloway; Bishop of Orkney [99]
Haldun Taner


Playwright 1935–1938 Author of Kesanli Ali; Founder of Devekuşu Kabere [100]
Heinrich, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza de Kászon


Industrialist  ?–1900 Founder and Chairman of the Thyssen AG heavy industry conglomerate [101]
Arnold J. Toynbee


Historian  ?–? Director of the Royal Institute of International Affairs; professor at the London School of Economics [102]
Gianni Vattimo


Philosopher  ? Author of The End of Modernity: Nihilism and Hermeneutics in Post-modern Culture, The Transparent Society, After Christianity, The Future of Religion, After the Death of God; member of the European Parliament [2]
Bernhard Vogel


Statesman 1953–1960 Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia [103]
William Walker


Statesman and filibuster  ? President of Nicaragua [2]
Carl Warburg


Physician and Clinical Pharmacologist  ? Late 1820s ? Inventor of Warburg's Tincture, a famed antipyretic and antimalarial medicine of the 19th-century [104]
Otto Warburg


Physician 1906–1911 Discovered flavine; important work on nicotinic acid amide; Order Pour le Mérite; Physiology or Medicine Nobel laureate [105]
Alfred Wegener


Earth Scientist  ? Discovered the continental drift and the thermodynamics of the atmosphere; developed the theory of the super-continent Pangea; eponym of the Wegener Impact Craters on both Mars and Moon [106]
Hermann Weinkauff


Jurisprudent  ? President of the Federal Court of Justice of Germany; Great Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany [107]
Luzius Wildhaber


Jurisprudent  ? President of the European Court of Human Rights; Vice President of the OSCE Court of Conciliation and Arbitration; Judge at the Constitutional Court of Liechtenstein [108]
Bohdan Winiarski


Jurisprudent  ? President of the International Court of Justice [109]
Friedrich Wöhler


Chemist  ?–1823 Synthesized urea and calcium carbide; co-discoverer of beryllium and silicon; first to isolate yttrium, beryllium, and titanium [2]
Manfred Wörner


Statesman Secretary General of NATO; Federal Minister of Defense [110]
Joseph Wright


Linguist  ?–1885 Author of the six-volume English Dialect Dictionary, Dialect Test, Rustic Speech and Folklore; Professor at Oxford University [111]
Wilhelm Wundt


Psychologist ~around 1851–1856 Author of Principles of Physiological Psychology; eponym of "Wilhelm Wundt-William James Award for Exceptional Contributions to Trans-Atlantic Psychology" awarded by the American Psychological Association; "Father of Psychology" [2]
Karl Zell


Statesman ~around 1810–1814 Member of the Upper Chamber of the Diet of Baden; reformer of the high-school system of Baden; established a special board for the supervision and encouragement of the higher studies; president of the congresses for Catholic Germany [112]


Name Affiliation Years at Heidelberg Importance / Notes Ref
Rodolphus Agricola


Humanist Scholar 1482–1485 Author of De inventione dialectica - a significant work for Renaissance Humanism and the education of Northern European humanists in the 15th century. [113][114]
Géza Alföldy

(1935- )

Historian 1975–2005 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize (1986); Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse (2002) [115][116]
Gerhard Anschütz


Jurisprudent 1900–1933 Leading commentator of the Weimar Constitution; consultant to the US military government in Germany after World War II; one of the "fathers" of the constitution of Hesse. [117]
Friedrich Arnold


Anatomist 1852–1873 Privy councillor; described the reflex of coughing when the ear is stimulated (Arnold's nerve cough); the auricular branch of the vagus nerve was nicknamed Arnold's nerve; the Arnold's canal and Arnold's ganglion are named after him. [6][118]
Jan Assmann

(1938- )

Egyptologist 1976–2003 Developed the theory of cultural memory; published renowned works on the origin and development of monotheism; Ph.D. h.c. from Yale University et al.; Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse (2006) [119]
François Baudouin


Jurisprudent 1555–1561 Established the palingenetic method of presentation of legal source; reconstructed the original legislation of Justinian; important commentator on Roman law [120]
Klaus Berger

(1940- )

Theologian 1974–2006 Leading interdisciplinary theologian in Germany in the 1970s and 1980s; particularly known for his works on exegetical methodology, history of religion, form criticism, and hermeneutics. [121]
Friedrich Bergius


Chemist  ?–? Chemistry Nobel laureate "in recognition of the contributions to the invention and development of chemical high pressure methods"; Ph.D. honoris causa from Harvard University [122]
Klaus von Beyme


Political Scientist 1974–1999 First West German university student in Moscow after World War II; president of the International Political Science Association (1982–1985); ranked 10th most important political scientist of the world (1991). [123][124][125]
Theodor Ludwig Wilhelm Bischoff (1807–1882) Anatomist  ?–1843 One of the first to conclude, based on comparative anatomy of the skull and brain, that women had a general intellectual deficiency for academia. [126]
Johann Kaspar Bluntschli


Jurisprudent 1861–1881 Co-founder of the Institut de Droit International; author of Privatrechtliches Gesetzbuch für den Kanton Zurich, Geschichte des algemeinen Staatsrechts und der Politik, Das moderne Kriegsrecht, Das moderne Völkerrecht, Das Beuterecht im Krieg; Bluntschli's library was acquired by Johns Hopkins University. [127]
Philipp August Böckh


Classical Scholar 1807–1811 Author of De Metris Pindari, Die Staatshaushaltung der Athener; pioneer in investigating ancient chronology; Order Pour Le Merite in 1857 [128]
Carl Bosch


Chemist –1940 Co-founder of IG Farben; Chairman of BASF; Chemistry Nobel laureate "in recognition of the contributions to the invention and development of chemical high pressure methods"; eponym of Haber-Bosch process [122]
Walther Bothe


Physicist 1932–1957 Pour le Mérite (1952); Max Planck Medal (1953); Physics Nobel laureate (1954) "for the coincidence method and his discoveries made therewith". [129][130][131][132]
Markus Büchler

(1955- )

Physician 2001– Founder and medical director of the European Pancreas Center; director of the Heidelberg Clinic for General, Visceral and Transplantation Surgery; managing medical director of the Heidelberg Clinic for Surgery. [133][134]
Robert Wilhelm Bunsen


Chemist 1852–1899 Developed the Bunsen burner; worked on the emission spectroscopy of heated elements; discovered together with Gustav Kirchhoff the elements caesium and rubidium. [132]
Conrad Celtes


Humanist Scholar 1495–1496 Founded the Sodalitas Litteraria Vistulana, Rhenana, Hungarorum, and Danubiana; first to teach the history of the world as a whole; discovered the Tabula Peutingeriana [135][136]
Georg Friedrich Creuzer


Philologist 1804–1845 Privy councillor; co-founder of the Philological Seminary at the University of Heidelberg (1807); friend of Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Clemens Brentano; liaison with Karoline von Günderrode. [137][138][139]
Otto Crusius


Classical Scholar 1898–1903 President of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities (1915–1918). [140]
Johann von Dalberg


Bishop 1480–1503 Bishop of Worms (1482–1503); Chancellor of the University of Heidelberg (1480–1503); supported the development of humanism at the University of Heidelberg; friend of Rodolphus Agricola; honored with a bust in the Walhalla temple (1842). [141]
Hugo Donellus


Jurisprudent 1573–1579 Leading representatives of legal humanism; pioneer in applying the methods of Renaissance humanism to law [142]
Thomas Erastus


Humanist, physician, & theologian 1558–1580 Opponent of Calvinist disciplinary regime and thus father of "Erastianism", denying the church independent jurisdiction over moral infractions in a Christian state. Challenged ideas of Paracelsus and Johann Weyer. [143]
Friedrich von Duhn


Archaeologist 1879–1920 Recognized scattered fragments of sculpture as the remains of the Ara Pacis; largely expanded the archaeological collection of the University of Heidelberg. [144]
Jakob Friedrich Fries


Philosopher 1806–1816 Author of Wissen, Glaube und Ahnung, Neue oder anthropologische Kritik der Vernunft, Reinhold, Fichte und Schelling, System der Philosophie als evidente Wissenschaft [145]
Hans-Georg Gadamer


Philosopher 1949–2002 Elaborated the concept of "philosophical hermeneutics"; author of Truth and Method; taught at Heidelberg until his death at the age of 102. [146]
Georg Gottfried Gervinus


Historian 1830–1871 Founder of Deutsche Zeitung; member of the 1848 Frankfurt Parliament; "Guide of the Nation" in political history  ?
Otto von Gierke


Jurisprudent 1884–1887 Developed important contributions to the Rechtsstaat conception; author of Das deutsche Genossenschaftsrecht, Deutsches Privatrecht, Naturrrecht und Deutsches Recht [147]
Jan Gruter


Humanist scholar 1597–1627 Author of Inscriptiones antiquae totius orbis Romani and Lampas, sive fax artium liberalium ; last librarian of the Bibliotheca Palatina  ?
Levin Goldschmidt


Jurisprudent 1855–1870 Major contributor to the development of the German commercial law (Handelsgestzbuch); founder and editor of the Zeitschrift für das Gesamte Handelsrecht; Member of the German Imperial Reichstag; Federal Judge at the Bundesgericht  ?
Dionysius Gothofredus


Jurisprudent 1600–1621 Author of Corpus juris civilis; member of the council of two hundred of Geneva; Dean of the Heidelberg Faculty of Law  ?
Emil Julius Gumbel


Mathematician 1924–1932 Developed the Extreme value theory; founder and editor of Die Weltbühne; anti-Nazi-activist; professor at Columbia University  ?
Jürgen Habermas

(1929- )

Philosopher 1961–1964 Author of The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere; The Theory of Communicative Action; Between Facts and Norms: Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy; The Inclusion of the Other; A Berlin Republic; Old Europe, New Europe, Core Europe  ?
Werner Hacke

(1948- )

Neurologist 1987– Chairman of the Department of Neurology; Feinberg Award recipient; Karolinska Stroke Award recipient  ?
Karl Hampe


Historian  ? Author of "Germany under the Salic and Hohenstaufen Emperors"; Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy; Rector of Heidelberg University  ?
Harald zur Hausen


Physician 1983–present 2008 Physiology or Medicine Nobel Laureate "for his discovery of human papilloma viruses causing cervical cancer"; former director of the Heidelberg German Cancer Research Center; member of the faculty of the medical school [148]
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel


Philosopher 1816–1818 "Father of German idealism"; author of Elements of the Philosophy of Right; Phenomenology of Spirit; Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences; Science of Logic  ?
Stefan Hell


Physicist 1981-1990 (student); since 2003 Professor of Physics Chemistry Nobel Laureate 2014; inventor of Stimulated Emission Depletion microscopy and related microscopy methods [149]
Hermann von Helmholtz


Physicist and physician 1858–1870 Medicine: developed the mathematics of the eye and theories of vision; cardinal work on the visual perception of space, color vision research, the sensation of tone and perception of sound; physics: introduced theories on the conservation of energy, developed a mechanical foundation of thermodynamics, significant work in electrodynamics and chemical thermodynamics; eponym of Helmholtz resonance  ?
Otto Hesse


Mathematician 1856–1868 Cardinal work on algebraic invariants; eponym of the Hessian matrix and the Hesse normal form
Alfred Hettner


Geographer 1906–1928 Developed a concept of chorology  ?
Wilhelm Hofmeister


Botanist 1863–1872 Discovered the principle of alternation of generations; pioneer in investigating genetics in plants; published a concept of plant evolution eight years before Darwin  ?
Marsilius of Inghen


Philosopher 1386–1396 Co-founder and first Rector of the University of Heidelberg  ?
Karl Jaspers


Psychiatrist and Philosopher 1913–1948 Major exponent of existensialism; author of Philosophy of Existence; Reason and Existenz; Way to Wisdom; Philosophy is for Everman  ?
Georg Jellinek


Jurisprudent 1891–1911 Author of Allgemeine Staatslehre (General Theory of the State), a groundbreaking work on constitutional law and state philosophy before and during the Weimar Republic; member of the democratic circle around Max Weber  ?
J. Hans D. Jensen


Physicist 1949–1969 1963 Physics Nobel laureate "for the discoveries concerning nuclear shell structure"  ?
Oskar Perron


Mathematician 1914–1922 Major contributions concerning differential equations and partial differential equations; eponym of Perron–Frobenius theorem and Perron's formula  ?
Jerome of Prague


Philosopher 1406–1407 Introduced Realism in Germany  ?
Paul Kirchhof

(1943- )

Jurisprudent 1999– Justice of the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany; member of the 2005 CDU shadow cabinet as designated Federal Minister of Finance; proposed a conception to reform the German tax system based on a flat tax  ?
Gustav Robert Kirchhoff


Physicist 1854–1875 Contributed to the fundamental understanding of electrical circuits, spectroscopy, and the emission of black-body radiation; coined the term "black-body"; eponym of "Kirchhoff's laws"; Rumford Medalist  ?
Karl Knies


Economist 1865–1895 Major representative of the historical school of economics; author of Political Economy from the Standpoint of the Historical Method  ?
Leo Königsberger


Mathematician and historian of science 1884–1914 Author of the biography of Hermann von Helmholtz and of Mein Leben  ?
Albrecht Kossel


Physician 1901–1927 1910 Physiology or Medicine Nobel laureate "in recognition of the contributions to our knowledge of cell chemistry made through his work on proteins, including the nucleic substances"  ?
Emil Kraepelin


Psychiatrist 1891–1903 Founder of modern scientific psychiatry, psychopharmacology and psychiatric genetics  ?
Ludolf von Krehl


Physiologist 1907–1931 Co-developed the Strophanthin-Therapy for treatment of cardiac deficiencies; cardinal work concerning the physiological and pathological aspects of thermoregulation, metabolism and the circulatory system; Co-founder of the Heidelberg Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research; knighted in 1903, Order Pour le mérite in 1925  ?
Richard Kuhn


Chemist 1928–1966 Director of the Heidelberg Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Medical Research; discovery of the deadly nerve agent Soman; 1938 Chemistry Nobel laureate "for his work on carotenoids and vitamins"
Emanuel Lasker


Mathematician 1905–1933 Introduced the concept of a primary ideal, which extends the notion of a power of a prime number to algebraic geometry; World Champion of Chess from 1894–1921, 27 years in a row.  ?
Lothar Ledderose

(1942- )

Art historian 1976– Acclaimed work on the history of art of Japan and history of art of China; dean of the Faculty of Philosophy; 2005 Balzan Laureate; Slade Professor at the University of Cambridge in 1992  ?
Philipp Lenard


Physicist 1904–1945 1905 Physics Nobel laureate "for his work on cathode rays"; during the 3rd Reich one of the leading advocates of Deutsche Physik (Aryan Physics).  ?
Fritz Lipmann


Biochemist 1929–1931 Co-discoverer of coenzyme A; professor at Harvard Medical School and Rockefeller University; Physiology or Medicine Nobel laureate
Karl Löwith


Philosopher 1952–1964 Author of From Hegel to Nietzsche and Meaning in History: The Theological Implications of the Philosophy of History  ?
Peter Luder


Humanist 1458–1461 Introduced Humanistic ideals in Germany  ?
André Michel Lwoff


Biologist 1932–1937 Coined the term Provirus; 1965 Physiology or Medicine Nobel laureate "for the discoveries concerning genetic control of enzyme and virus synthesis"  ?
Michael Maestlin


Astronomer and Mathematician 1580–1583 First to accept and teach the heliocentric Copernican view; discovered the "golden ratio"; mentor of Johannes Kepler [150]
Karl Mannheim


Sociologist 1922–1930 Promoted a comprehensive sociological analysis of the structures of knowledge; author of Ideology Utopia; Man and Society in an Age of Reconstruction; Sociology as Political Education; professor at the London School of Economics  ?
Dmitri Mendeleev


Chemist 1859–1861 Creator of the first version of the periodic table of elements; eponym of the Mendeleev Medal
Matthäus Merian


Humanist Scholar ~ around 1620 Pioneering naturalist and illustrator  ?
Subrata K. Mitra


Political Scientist 2004– Cardinal research on Indian society and politics; director of the Heidelberg South Asia Institute; Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques; President of the joint Research Committee on Political Sociology of the International Political Science Association and the International Sociological Association; previously professor at University of California, Berkeley  ?
Robert von Mohl


Jurisprudent 1848–1861 Coined the term of a Rechtsstaat as opposed to an aristocratic police state; knighted in 1837; peerage in 1871  ?
Dieter Nohlen


Political Scientist 1974–2005 Author of Elections in the Americas: A Data Handbook; Sistemas electorales y partidos políticos,; Elections and Electoral Systems; Handbook of the Third World; 1991 Max Planck Research Laureate  ?
Severo Ochoa


Physician 1937 1959 Physiology or Medicine Nobel laureate "for the discovery of the mechanisms in the biological synthesis of ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid"  ?
Kaspar Olevianus


Theologian 1560–1576

(on faculty 1561–1562)

Significant covenant theologian and Calvinist church organizer during the Second Reformation  ?
Martin Opitz


Poet 1619–1624 Author of Dafne, the first German opera; leader of the Heidelber School of Poetry  ?
Frank R. Pfetsch


Political Scientist 1999– Co-founder of the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research; Commissioner of the European Consortium for Political Research; Chaire Elie Halevy and Chaire Alfred Grosser at the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris; Jean Monnet Professor at Heidelberg  ?
Enea Silvio Piccolomini


Theologian 1442–1449 Pope Pius II; chancellor of the university  ?
Samuel von Pufendorf


Jurisprudent 1661–1668 Pioneer in International Law; influential commentaries and revisions of the natural law  ?
Georg Hermann Quincke


Physicist 1875–1907 Classical investigations of all capillary phenomena; important work in the experimental study of the reflection of light and influence of electric forces upon the constants; DCL honoris causa from Oxford University; LLD honoris causa from Cambridge University  ?
Gerhard von Rad


Theologian 1949–1971 Major contribution to Old Testament studies; author of Theology of the Old Testament; The Problem of the Hexateuch and other Essays; God at work in Israel; Genesis: A Commentary; Deuteronomy: A Commentary  ?
Gustav Radbruch


Jurisprudent 1926–1933; 1945–1949 Major proponent of a renewal of natural law as opposed to the then predominant legal positivism; author of "Rechtsphilosophie", still one of the most important works on legal philosophy in Germany  ?
Johann Reuchlin


Humanist Scholar 1492–1498 Most influential representative of platonism; founder of the newer German Drama; author of De Arte Cabbalistica  ?
Johann Carl Otto Ribbeck


Classical Scholar 1862–1887 Authority on ancient Roman poetry; editor of Ars Poetica of Horace and the Satires of Juvenal  ?
Heinrich Rickert


Philosopher 1915–1932 Co-founder and leader of the Baden School of Neo-Kantians  ?
Erwin Rohde


Classical Scholar 1878–1898 Author of Psyche: The Cult of Souls and the Belief in Immortality among the Greeks  ?
Rudy Rucker

(1946- )

Novelist and mathematician 1978–1980 Founder of the cyberpunk literary movement; author of The Fourth Dimension; the Ware Tetralogy, White Light, Master of Space and Time, Spaceland, Mathematicians in Love;  ?
Bert Sakmann

(1942- )

Physician 1988– 1991 Physiology or Medicine Nobel laureate "for the discoveries concerning the function of single ion channels in cells"  ?
Friedrich Carl von Savigny


Jurisprudent  ? Founder of the German Historical School of Law; High Chancellor of Justice of Prussia; celebrated authority on Roman Law; co-founder of the University of Berlin  ?
Paul Schede


Diplomat and Humanist Scholar  ? Imperial Ambassador to France, Switzerland, England and Italy; director of the Bibliotheca Palatina  ?
Edmund Schlink


Theologian 1946–1971 Influential authority on Lutheran systematic theology and advocate of Ecumenism; author of The Victor Speaks, Theology of the Lutheran Confessions, The Coming Christ and the Coming Church, The Doctrine of Baptism, The Vision of the Pope  ?
Friedrich Christoph Schlosser


Historian 1819–1861 Author of World History and World History for the German People; teacher of Georg Gottfried Gervinus; "Guide of the Nation" in political history.  ?
Peter Schlotter

(1945- )

Political Scientist 2005– Chairman of the German Society for Peace and Conflict Research; Member of the German UNESCO-Commission  ?
Manfred G. Schmidt

(1948- )

Political Scientist 1997– Author of Political Institutions in the Federal Republic of Germany and of The Welfare State; 1995 Leibniz Laureate; ranked as the third most influential political scientist in Germany, and as the most important researcher in comparative politics in Germany by the German Research Foundation  ?
Herbert Seifert


Mathematician 1935–1975 Eponym of Seifert fiber space, Seifert surface, Seifert-van Kampen theorem, Seifert conjecture, Seifert–Weber space  ?
Paul Stäckel


Mathematician 1913–1919 Groundbreaking work in differential geometry, number theory, and non-Euclidean geometry. Coined the term twin prime  ?
Dolf Sternberger


Political Scientist 1947–1985 One of the founders of political science in post-war Germany; developed the "Concept of Citizenship in German Political Contemporary Thought"; coined the term "constitutional patriotism"; Chairman of the German Society for Political Science  ?
Gerd Theissen

(1943- )

Theologian  ? Pioneer in the application of the principles and methods of sociology to the study of the New Testament; 2002 Burkitt Medalist  ?
Anton Friedrich Justus Thibaut


Jurisprudent 1805–1840 Re-introduced the ancient Roman Pandectists system which allowed the creation of the German Civil Code  ?
Ernst Troeltsch


Theologian 1894–1914 Author of The Social Teachings of the Christian Church; developed an acclaimed system of philosophy of religion by synthesizing the conceptions of Max Weber and Neo-Kantianism; member of the democratic circle around Max Weber  ?
Zacharias Ursinus


Theologian 1561–1576 Reformer and intellectual mastermind during Protestant Reformation; Principal author of the Heidelberg Catechism [151]
Klaus Vogel


Jurisprudent 1966–1977 Internationally acknowledged authority in international taxation; member of the Permanent Scientific Committee of the International Fiscal Association  ?
Johann Heinrich Voss


Poet 1805–1826 Author of Wine, Women and Song; published the first German translations of the Odyssey, Hesiod, Theocritus, Bion and Moschus, Virgil, Horace, Tibullus, Propertius, and Shakespear  ?
George Wald


Biologist 1933 1967 Physiology or Medicine Nobel laureate "for the discoveries concerning the primary physiological and chemical visual processes in the eye"  ?
Max Weber


Sociologist 1896–1919 Founder of modern sociology; author of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Politics as a Vocation, The Religion of China: Confucianism and Taoism, The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism, Ancient Judaism, The History of Medieval Business Organisations, The Roman Agrarian History and its Significance for Public and Private Law; widely considered the all-time most important German sociologist [152]
Alfred Weber


Political Economist 1907–1933 Leader in intellectual resistance during Nazi era; developed the Least Cost Theory; eponym of the Alfred Weber Institute for Economy at Heidelberg  ?
Claus Westermann


Theologian 1958–1978 Leading German Old Testament scholar; author of The Human in the Old Testament  ?
Wilhelm Windelband


Philosopher 1903–1915 Co-founder of the Baden School; author of History Of Ancient Philosophy, History of Philosophy, An Introduction to Philosophy, Theories in Logic  ?
Bernhard Windscheid


Jurisprudent 1871–1892 Co-author of the German Civil Code; knighted in 1868  ?
Georg Wittig


Chemist 1956–1980 1979 Chemistry Nobel laureate "for the development of the use of boron- and phosphorus-containing compounds, respectively, into important reagents in organic synthesis"; eponym of the Wittig reaction; honorary doctorate of the Sorbonne  ?
Rüdiger Wolfrum


Jurisprudent 1993–present President of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea; Director of the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for International Law; Vice President of the German Research Foundation; Vice President of the Max Planck Society; United Nations mediator in the Darfur conflict; Great Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2008 [153]
Karl Salomo Zachariae


Jurisprudent 1807–1829 Created a reformation the Baden Criminal Code and the Baden Constitution;  ?
Karl Ziegler


Chemist –1936 1963 Chemistry Nobel laureate "for the discoveries in the field of the chemistry and technology of high polymers"; eponym of the Ziegler-Natta catalyst  ?


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