University of Karlsruhe

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University of Karlsruhe
Universität Karlsruhe (TH)
Fridericiana audimax.jpg
Audimax at Forum
Type Public
Established October 7, 1825
Rector Horst Hippler
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 18,245
Address Universität Karlsruhe (TH)
Kaiserstraße 12
76131 Karlsruhe
, Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
49°00′34″N 8°24′42″E / 49.00944°N 8.41167°E / 49.00944; 8.41167Coordinates: 49°00′34″N 8°24′42″E / 49.00944°N 8.41167°E / 49.00944; 8.41167

The University of Karlsruhe, also known as Fridericiana, was founded in 1825. It recently merged with Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe to form the new institution, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

It is located in the city of Karlsruhe, Germany, and is one of the most prestigious technical universities in Germany - it is recognized as one of the leading research universities.


The University of Karlsruhe was founded as Polytechnische Schule, a polytechnical school, on October 7, 1825. It was modeled upon the École polytechnique in Paris. In 1865, Grand Duke Frederick I of Baden (German: Friedrich) raised the school to the status of a Hochschule, a high educational institute. Since 1902 the university also has been known as the Fridericiana in his honour.

In 1885 the institution was renamed a Technische Hochschule, Institute of Technology, and in 1967 it became Universität, a full university, and the right to give regular doctorate degrees. Nevertheless in 1899 all technical universities, therefore including the University of Karlsruhe, were granted the right to award doctorate degrees for engineering identified as Dr. Ing..

The University of Karlsruhe has been one of the leading German institutions in computer science. A central computer laboratory was founded in 1966. The department of informatics was established three years later along with the possibilty to study informatics in a regular course.[1] On 2 August 1984 the university received the first email in Germany.

On April 6, 2006 a contract for the foundation of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) was signed by Professor Horst Hippler and Dr. Dieter Ertmann from the University of Karlsruhe, and Professor Manfred Popp and Assistant Jur. Sigurd Lettow from Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe. The name was selected to emulate the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the leading technical university in the United States.[2]

In 2008 Hans-Werner Hector, SAP Co-Founder, raised a 200 Million Euro fund to support excellent researchers within the university. Interestingly Hans-Werner Hector is the only founder of SAP which did not graduate regularly at the University of Karlsruhe but was given an honorary doctorate degree for his support of intellectually gifted children in 2003.

Fridericiana, founded in 1825

Admission and education[edit]

Since winter semester 2008/2009 the University of Karlsruhe completed the change from the Diplom system to a bachelor and master based system. Students working towards a diplom degree can finish their studies while new students are just allowed to apply for a bachelor or master degree.

The admission policies are based on the different departments. While students are chosen by the quality of their school degration and their freetime activities for some courses like economics, other departments do not preselect for their courses, for example in physics, informatics or meteorology. The philosophy of a non preselective procedure is a natural selection during course time. All courses require a minimum amount of passed exams, called "Orientierungsprüfung" (engl.: orientational assessment), in the first three semesters to allow continuing the course to its end.

In the first semesters of a course education tends to be theoretically-oriented at the University of Karlsruhe, requiring a high concentration of mathematical courses for engineering and natural science courses. It is possible to specialize in more practical or theoretical topics in later semesters.

Interdisciplinary education and research[edit]

The university allowes a broad band of education with the possiblity of cross studies and work. The studium generale(Engl.: General studies) was established in 1949 allowing students to attend lectures not directly pertaining their study field.

The "Zentrum für Angewandte Kulturwissenschaft und Studium Generale" [3] (Engl.: Center for applied culture and general studies) was founded in 1989 to support the students as a central instution for their interdisciplinary study. Nowadays it offers specialised qualifications in the fields of "Leadership and Entrepreneurship", "Media - Culture - Communication", "Internationalisation and intercultural decision-making and responsibility", "Diversity Management", "European Integration and Identity Studies " as well as the classical studium generale. A possibilty for a concomitant study in applied culture science is given as well.[4]

In 1979 the "Interfakultatives Institut für Anwendungen der Informatik" [5](Engl.: Interfacultative institute for applications of informatics) was founded. It binds together reseach in the fields of physics, mathematics and engineering which are based on computer science. Its mathematical pendant is the "Institut für Wissenschaftliches Rechnen und Mathem. Modellbildung" [6] (Engl.: Institute for scientific calculations and mathematical modeling). Its aim is to enhance the exchange between mathematics and engineering in the fields of scientific calculations.

The "Interfakultatives Institut für Entrepreneurship" [7] (Engl.: Interfacultative institute for entrepreneurship) was established by SAP funding. Its teaching professors are entrepreneurs on their own. Current professor is Götz Werner, founder of dm-drogerie markt.

In 2001 the Center for Functional Nanostructures [8](CFN) was established. It merges the fields of material sciences, biology, chemistry, engineering and physics which are related to nano technology. The CFN is one of the three Exzellenzzentren (Engl.: Excellence Instituitions) of the University of Karlsruhe. A second interdisciplinary excellence institution is the Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology (CEDIM).

The Karlsruhe School of Optics & Photonics[9] (KSOP) was established in 2006 as a public funded project by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) within the scope of the Excellence Initiative by the German Federal and State Governments to promote Science and Research at German universities. KSOP is the first graduate school at the Universität Karlsruhe (TH) and covers the research areas Photonic Materials & Devices, Advanced Spectroscopy, Biomedical Photonics and Optical Systems. It is supported by several Institutes and Professors of the university.


With the exception of the department of biology,[10] this university receives more funding from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft than any other university specializing in the natural sciences in Germany.[11] However, when compared to Germany's other universites, the university receives average funding. In the engineering sciences (except mechanical engineering where it is in the top ten[12]) the university is in the top three together with University of Stuttgart and the RWTH Aachen. However the university is not in the top twenty in the subject of mathematics.[13]

More than 20% of its students are attracted from other nations and 0.6% of its students receive grants from the German Studienstiftung (German National Academic Foundation). [14] In 1998, ScienceWatch [1] ranked its chemistry faculty as belonging to "the cream of the crop in chemistry" internationally.[15]

In 2006 the University of Karlsruhe was chosen to be one of the first three universities with the best future concept. These universities were called elite universities in general public and media from that day on.

For many years the department for Computer Science has been the number one institution in this field in Germany. Hence, the University of Karlsruhe has established international reputation.[16]

Computer facilities[edit]

The Steinbuch Centre for Computing (SCC), named after Karl Steinbuch, is the instution which was formed in 2008 out of the merging process between the main computer facilities of the University of Karlsruhe and the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe. It is responsible for the university's IP connectivity and provides central services (Mail, Web, Campus management) for students and employees. It supplies students with 10 full equipped computer facility rooms, one professional print office and a wireless network over the whole campus area. Some departments, like computer sciences, physics and mathematics, run their own computer facility rooms as well.

The SCC owns some of the fastest computers in Germany.

  • HP XC4000 (750 vertices with 4 cores each, 15.77 TFLOPS),
  • a cluster bought by a corporation of institutes of different disciplines (200 vertices with 8 cores each, 17.57 TFLOPS),
  • parallel calculator HP XC6000 (1.9 TFLOPS)
  • the two vector parallel calculators NEC SX-8R and NEC SX-9

On August 2, 1984 Michael Rotert, a research fellow at University of Karlsruhe, received the first email ever sent to Germany at his address rotert@germany.


The original central library was extended in 2006. It became a 24h library with many working places and a relaxing area. The faculty of physics and the faculty of mathematics have got their own libraries to supply students and researchers with topic related technical literature.


The university has eleven faculties:

  1. Mathematics
  2. Physics
  3. Chemistry and Biology
  4. Humanities and Social sciences
  5. Architecture
  6. Civil engineering, Geology, and Ecological Sciences
  7. Mechanical Engineering
  8. Chemical and Process Engineering
  9. Electrical engineering and Information Technology
  10. Computer Science
  11. Economics and Business engineering

Many departments cooperate, some are shared with the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe.

Famous people and discoveries[edit]

Karl Benz, was granted the patent for the first automobile, which he built in 1885

Famous students[edit]

Department Names
Architecture Oswald Mathias Ungers, Albert Speer
Civil Engineering and Geology Robert Gerwig, Dieter Ludwig
Mechanical Engineering Karl Benz, Emil Škoda, Bernhard Howaldt, Franz Reuleaux, August Thyssen, Roland Mack
Mathematics Fritz Noether
Physics Johann Jakob Balmer, Fritz-Rudolf Güntsch, Edward Teller, Klaus Tschira, Bernd Schmidbauer
Electrical Engineering, Informational Technology Rolf Wideröe, Dieter Zetsche, Hasso Plattner, Dietmar Hopp, Thom Barron
Industrial Engineering Franz Fehrenbach, Stefan Quandt, Michael Rogowski


  • 1968 - 1983 Professor Dr. Ing. h. c. Heinz Draheim
  • 1983 - 1994 Professor Dr. h.c. Heinz Kunle
  • 1994 - 2002 Professor Dr.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Dr.h.c.mult. Sigmar Wittig
  • 2002 - current Professor Dr. sc. tech. Horst Hippler [17]

Points of interest[edit]


  1. ^ 'History of the department of informatics"
  2. ^ The strategy for the future
  3. ^ Zentrum für Angewandte Kulturwissenschaft und Studium Generale
  4. ^ Zentrum für Angewandte Kulturwissenschaft und Studium Generale: Course options
  5. ^ Interfakultatives Institut für Anwendungen der Informatik
  6. ^ Institut für Wissenschaftliches Rechnen und Mathem. (Modellbildung)
  7. ^ Interfakultatives Institut für Entrepreneurship)
  8. ^ Center for Functional Nanostructures)
  9. ^ Karlsruhe School of Optics & Photonics
  10. ^
  11. ^ Exzellent in Naturwissenschaften. 03.07.2003
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Die Eliteschmiede
  15. ^ ScienceWatch: Chemistry Research. Institutions Ranked by Citations and Citation Impact. July/August 1998
  16. ^ References
  17. ^ Office of the President of Universität Fridericiana

External links[edit]