Karl Friedrich Bonhoeffer

The full name of our former institute is Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry / Karl Friedrich Bonhoeffer Institute. Its history can be traced back far beyond this date, however, extending back to the former Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical Chemistry in Berlin. In 1949, after the creation of the Max Planck Society, the physicochemist Karl Friedrich Bonhoeffer re-established the Berlin institute as the Max Planck Institute for Physical Chemistry in Göttingen. This institute and the Göttingen Max Planck Institute for Spectroscopy were then merged to form the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry.

Its focus on biological research also has its roots in the work and interests of Karl Friedrich Bonhoeffer. He pursued a strong interdisciplinary approach at a very early stage and applied physical-chemical methods to resolve biological questions – a good reason to name the institute after him. 

On May 15th 2007, the 50th anniversary of Karl Friedrich Bonhoeffer's death, the institute launched a special website dedicated to his life, his scientific discoveries, and the tremendous suffering the Bonhoeffer family endured as result of their resistance against the Nazis. With this we hope to keep the memory of our institute's namesake alive. Our presentation of Bonhoeffer's life is based on an article by Ulrich Schindewolf of the University of Karlsruhe that appeared in Bunsen Magazine in 2002 (Bunsen Magazine 4, 139-146, 2002). We offer our deepest gratitude to Ulrich Schindewolf and the editors of the Bunsen Magazine for their permission to use their article.

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