The Mathematical Center of the Universe

The University of Göttingen (1800–1933)

“The pilgrimage to Göttingen was imperative for serious mathematicians in Europe and the United States”

The inception of quantum mechanics can essentially be traced back to a single “Golden Age” in the mid-1920s at one university: the Georg-August University of Göttingen in Germany. Home to many notable scientists, the university is associated with no less than 45 Nobel Prize winners. Included in this group are many of the figures responsible for the creation of quantum mechanics, such as Max Born, Werner Heisenberg, James Franck, Wolfgang Pauli, Eugene Winer, Paul Dirac and Enrico Fermi, in addition to a bundle of other well-known physicists including J. Robert Oppenheimer and John von Neumann.

At the outset of the 19th century however, the University of Göttingen was first and foremost considered a prime research institution for mathematics, a status it would hold until the “Great Purge of 1933” forced many of its most talented academics to flee Germany for institutions in England and the United States. Read more