Ludwig Erhard (1897 -1977), former German Chancellor and “father” of the German economic miracle

Ludwig Erhard

Ludwig Erhard completed his undergraduate studies at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg majoring in Business Studies.
His support for economic competition and free-market price regulation began as early as the 1930s. In defiance of the prevailing political opinion at that time he championed the principle of the social market economy. Indeed, Erhard is considered to be the creator of the social market economy. In 1934 he was one of the founding members of the GfK Group [Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung], which is still to this day one of the world’s leading market research companies.
His political career began in 1945 as Minister for Economic Affairs in the Bavarian cabinet. From 1949 to 1963 he served as Minister for Economic Affairs in the Federal Government and in 1963 he was elected, as successor to Konrad Adenauer to the office of German Chancellor.
Erhard, with his trademark cigar-smoking, is regarded as the father of the German economic miracle, and was one of the most popular politicians of the 1950s.

Image Copyright: Ludwig Erhard-Stiftung e.V., Bonn

Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach (1804 – 1872), Famous German Philosopher

Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach

Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach studied in Heidelberg, Berlin and Erlangen. In 1828 he completed a doctorate and the post-doctoral Habilitation in Philosophy at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and went on to become one of the most famous proponents of philosophical materialism. In his criticism of religion, Feuerbach exerted a lasting impact on the Vormärz (pre-March revolution) movement. He achieved sudden fame after the publication of his magnum opus, The Essence of Christianity.
Feuerbach is considered to have paved the way for Marxist Philosophy.

Image Copyright: University Library

Hermann Emil Fischer (1852 – 1919), Winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Hermann Emil Fischer

The Nobel Laureate Hermann Emil Fischer taught and researched at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg as Professor of Chemistry from 1881 until 1888. The University’s Emil-Fischer Center is named after him.
He received several accolades for his outstanding achievements in the studies of sugar, carbohydrates, enzymes, proteins and purine. The pinnacle of his career, however, was undoubtedly his winning of the Nobel Prize in 1902 in recognition of his work in the field of syntheses in sugar and purine groups.
Fischer is considered to be the founder of classical organic chemistry. His contributions include, amongst others, the formulation of the lock-and-key principle, the sleep-inducing medication (Veronal®), the development of the so-called ‘Fischer nomenclature’ and the discovery of the structure of glucose.

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Hans Geiger (1882 – 1945), Inventor of the Geiger Counter

Hans Geiger

Hans Geiger studied Mathematics and Physics at Friedrich-Alexander Universität of Erlangen-Nürnberg. Having completed his doctorate in Erlangen in 1906 he began his research in the field of radioactivity and atomic physics, initially under the direction of Professor Ernest Rutherford in Manchester, returning later to Germany to continue his research.
His remarkable research results brought him both international fame and an array of awards and honors. One his most famous inventions was the Geiger-Müller Counter, an improved version of the earlier Geiger Counter used to measure radioactivity and energy.

Image Copyright: Gerhard Hesse: Hans Geiger zum Gedächtnis. Georg-Simon-Ohm-Verein e.V. Erlangen 1982.

Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann (1755–1843), Founder of Homeopathy

Samuel Hahnemann

Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, studied medicine in Leipzig, Vienna and Erlangen and graduated with a PhD from Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg.
He practiced as a doctor and translated and published numerous medical works. Hahnemann also devoted himself to conducting chemical and pharmaceutical experiments. Drawing on his experience and on these experiments he came to develop a new approach to treatment, known as homeopathy.
His ”Organon of the Healing Art“ published in 1810 is regarded as the first major text on the subject of homeopathy.

Image Copyright: Institute for History of Medicine of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, Stuttgart

Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), Geographer and Explorer

Alexander von Humboldt

The famous naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt attended lectures in Chemistry and Physics at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg while he was serving as Mayor of Bayreuth. He later became a pioneering geographer.
His numerous expeditions across the globe led him as far as America and Asia. Following his trip to South America from 1799 until 1804 he even became known as the second Columbus, the ‘academic Columbus’.
Humboldt is considered to have paved the way for the study of Geography as an empirical academic discipline and he is regarded as the founder of new subjects in the natural sciences, such as climatology, ecology and oceanography.
Humboldt used his patronage to support many artists and young researchers, for example, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Justus von Liebig.

Image Copyright: University Library

Hermann Kesten (1900 - 1996), Author and Founding President of the PEN Center (Poets’, Essayists’ and Novelists’ Center)

Hermann Kesten

Hermann Kesten studied Law at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg.
Before the outbreak of the Second World War he was, alongside Erich Kästner, one of Berlin’s most promising literary figures. His Jewish heritage, however, meant that he was forced to flee Germany. In exile in America, he worked to save writers and artists from the persecution of the Nazi regime.
In 1995 Kesten donated the prize money for the first Nürnberg Human Rights’ Award.
Kesten won numerous awards for his literary contributions and for his work in helping oppressed writers: he won both the Georg Büchner Prize and the Nelly Sachs Prize, he was a member of academies of science and president of the PEN Group in Germany. In 1978 he received an honorary doctorate from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg.

Image Copyright: Literature Archive of the Monacensia in Munich

Justus von Liebig (1803 - 1873), The most famous German Chemist of his day

Justus von Liebig

Justus von Liebig became a student at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg in 1821.
Liebig earned his place in history as the most famous and successful chemist of his century and is regarded as the founder of organic chemistry, agricultural chemistry and nutrition physiology. His many achievements include the discovery of mineral fertilizer, the silver mirror, chloroform, radical theory, meat extract, manufactured baby foods and baking powder.

Image Copyright: University Library

Wilhelm Löhe (1808-1872), Theologian

Wilhelm Löhe

Wilhelm Löhe is considered to be one of the most significant representatives of the German ‘inner mission’ and is remembered as one of the few ministers of the Protestant Lutheran Church in Bavaria, who gained both national and international recognition. He was responsible for the introduction of the name ‘Protestant Lutheran’ in 1853.
Wilhelm Löhe studied Theology at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. On completion of his studies in 1837 he returned to Neuendettelsau to work as a Pastor and established what later became known as the ‘Neuendettelsauer Mission’. In response to the social problems of his time he founded the first seminary for Deaconesses in Bavaria in 1854 and rapidly made Neuendettelsau an important center of mission in Germany.

Image Copyright: Diakonie Neuendettelsau

Emmy Noether (1882–1935), Germany’s most famous female Mathematician

Emmy Noether

In 1904 Emmy Noether became one of the first female students at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. She studied Mathematics and became Erlangen’s first full-time female doctoral student in 1907.
Emmy Noether is regarded as the co-founder of modern algebra. She gave her name to the Noetherian rings and modules, the Noether normalization lemma and, in the field of Physics, Noether’s theorem.
The biography of Emmy Noether reflects the tragic fate of a highly-talented Jewish woman in Germany at the beginning of the 20th Century: She initially faced the insurmountable problems of social and academic resistance in Germany, a country in which women were not permitted to attend university until the beginning of the 20th Century. The ban on Habilitation (a post-doctoral qualification) for women remained in place until 1919; only after this date was Emmy Noether first allowed to gain her Habilitation and teach in her own name. Later, in 1933, under the Nazi regime her permission to teach was withdrawn and she emigrated to the USA.
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg honors the memory of its most famous alumna in the Emmy-Noether Lecture and the School of Sciences’ Emmy Noether Prize – and in 2007 the Erlangen football team known as “Emmy’s eleven” won the German national Mathematics’ students championship.

Image Copyright: University Library

Georg Simon Ohm (1789 - 1854), Famous German Physicist

Georg Simon Ohm

Ohm began his studies of Mathematics, Physics and Philosophy at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg at the tender age of 16 and obtained his doctorate in 1811. His chief interest was in the then little researched area of electricity. Among his many discoveries were Ohm’s Law, the torsion balance for measuring electrical current strength and what is known as ‘Ohm’s acoustic law’.
In 1841 the Royal Society of London awarded Ohm the Copley Medal, an honor the status of which is comparable to that of the modern-day Nobel Prize.
The greatest honor, however, was granted to him only after his death when, at the World Congress on Electricity in Chicago in 1893, it was declared that the name Ohm would be used internationally to describe a unit of electrical resistance, denoted by an uppercase Omega (W).

Image Copyright: University Library

Franz Penzoldt (1849 – 1927), Physician

Franz Penzoldt

Franz Penzoldt, who was a native of the Free State of Thuringia, came to Erlangen in 1874, gained his Habilitation in 1875 and soon became a leading figure in the field of paediatrics. In recognition of his contribution he was made a full professor. In 1893 he was entrusted with the position of Director of the Institute of Clinical Pharmacology. Whilst in this post he played a decisive role in the founding of the University Children’s Hospital. From 1903 he was Director of the Medical Clinic in Erlangen. During the First World War – having been promoted to the rank of military physician – he ran the military hospital housed at that time in University buildings. The city of Erlangen made him an honorary citizen for the services he had rendered. He was later awarded an honorary doctorate by the Faculty of Arts at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg.

Image Copyright: University Archive

August Graf von Platen (1796 - 1835), Poet

August Graf von Platen

Count Karl August Georg Maximilian von Platen-Hallermünde studied Languages and Literature at the Friedrich-Alexander University, which he praised with the following words: “Our University is without a doubt the most excellent in the whole of Germany, at least in terms of intellect and ingenuity.”
Influenced by Friedrich Rückert and Schelling in Erlangen he dedicated himself to the study of the culture of the Orient.
He gained praised from literary critics, above all for his lyric poetry. His comedies and ballads earned him popular acclaim.

Image Copyright: University Library

Friedrich Rückert (1788 – 1866), Orientalist and Poet

Friedrich Rückert

Friedrich Rückert was a linguistic and intellectual prodigy who mastered the expression of his observations and reactions in a quite extraordinary 44 languages.
In 1826 he became Professor of Oriental Languages in Erlangen, beginning a period of his life that was to be his most creative and productive. Whilst working at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Rückert published his famous work “The Wisdom of the Brahman“, Indian stories, morals and maxims. In his teaching he also set in motion new trends in Oriental Studies.
It is thanks to Rückert that the thinkers of the 19th century began to engage with the rich heritage of the Orient. In this respect, he can be compared to Goethe, Herder and Schlegel.
His poetic influence can also be seen in the realm of church music - Gustav Mahler set to music some of Rückert’s requiem pieces written in memory of his two children who had passed away.

Image Copyright: University Library

Siegfried Trotnow (1941 - 2004), “Father” of the first German test tube baby

Siegfried Trotnow

Having completed his degree in Medicine at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Siegfried Trotnow worked at the University Hospital specializing in reproductive medicine. In 1982 he achieved his break-through by undertaking the first successful in-vitro fertilization: the University Hospital announced in 1982 the birth of the first “test tube baby“ in Germany, and Erlangen thus became one of the leading centers for reproductive medicine in the world.

Image Copyright: University Hospital