The Leipzig University (), located in Leipzig in the Free State of Saxony, Germany, is one of the oldest universities in the world and the second-oldest university (by consecutive years of existence) in Germany. Famous alumni include Goethe, Wagner, Nietzsche, Angela Merkel and multiple Nobel Prize winners in Physics, Chemistry, and Literature.
The university was founded on December 2, 1409 by Frederick I, Elector of Saxony and his brother William II, Margrave of Meissen, and originally comprised four faculties. Since its inception the university has enjoyed over 600 years of uninterrupted teaching and research.
Founding and development until 1900
The university was modelled on the University of Prague, from which the German-speaking faculty members withdrew to Leipzig after the Jan Hus crisis and the Decree of Kutn Hora. The Alma mater Lipsiensis opened in 1409, after it had been officially endorsed by Pope Alexander V in his Bull of Acknowledgment on (September 9 of that year). Its first rector was Johann von M nsterberg. From its foundation, the Paulinerkirche served as the university church. After the Reformation the church and the monastery buildings were donated to the university in 1544. Skyscraper]] and white building). During the first centuries the university grew slowly and was a rather regional institution. This changed, however, during the 19th century when the university became a world class institution of higher education and research. Until the beginning of the Second World War, the Leipzig University attracted a number of renowned scholars and later Nobel Prize laureates. Many of the university's alumni became important scientists.
During World War II, the university was kept open throughout the war even following the destruction of the university buildings. The acting rector, Erich Maschke during the war described the continuation of the university in a memo on May 11, 1945 announcing the vote for a new rector:
The University under the German Democratic Republic
By the end of World War II, 60 per cent of the university's buildings and 70 per cent of its books had been destroyed. The university reopened on 5 February 1946, but it was affected by the uniformity imposed on social institutions in the Soviet occupation zone. In 1948, the freely elected student council was disbanded and was replaced by Free German Youth members. The chairman of the Student Council, Wolfgang Natonek, and other members were arrested and imprisoned, but the university was also a nucleus of resistance. Thus began the Belter group, with flyers for free elections. The head of the group, Herbert Belter, paid for his commitment to democracy with his life and was executed in 1951 in Moscow. The German Democratic Republic was created in 1949 and in 1953 the University was renamed by its government the Karl-Marx-University, Leipzig. In 1968, the partly damaged Augusteum, including Johanneum and Albertinum and the intact Paulinerkirche, were demolished to make way for a redevelopment of the university, carried out between 1973 and 1978. The dominant building of the university was the University Tower (now City-Hochhaus Leipzig), built between 1968 and 1972 in the form of an open book.
After the reunification
In 1991, the University was renamed again to its original name Leipzig University (Alma mater lipsiensis). The reconstruction of the University Library, which was heavily damaged during the war and in the GDR barely secured, was completed in 2002. In 2008 the university was able to prevail in the nationwide "Initiative of Excellence" of Germany and it was granted the graduate school "BuildMoNa: Leipzig School of Natural Sciences Building with Molecules and Nano-objects". In addition the university was able to receive grants from the Saxon excellence initiative for the "Life" project a project that tries to explore common diseases more effectively. Also in 2008 the "Bach Archive" was associated with the university. With the delivery of the University Tower to a private user, the university was forced spread some faculties over several locations in the city. Furthermore it redesigned its historical centre at the Augustusplatz. This action was highly controversial. In 2002 Behet Bonzio received the second prize in the architectural competition. A first prize was not awarded by the jury. A lobby with partial support of the provincial government called for the rebuilding of St. Paul's Church and Augusteum. This caused the resistance of the university leadership, the majority of the students and population of Leipzig. These disputes led to a scandal in early 2003, were the Rector Volker Bigl, and the pro-rectors resigned in protest against the government. This was further forced after severe tensions had built up because of the Saxon university treaty on the future funding of higher education. As a compromise they could agree on the implementation of a second competition, which only covered the Augustusplatz front of the university. On 24 March 2004, a jury chose the design by Dutch architect Erick van Egeraat, which was well received by almost all sides. He recalls the outer form of the St. Paul's Church and Augusteum, and abstracted the original building complex. The renovations began in the summer of 2005. In 2009 the Leipzig University celebrates its 600th anniversary with over 300 scientific and cultural lectures and exhibitions, reflecting the role of the university's research and teaching from the beginning until today in Germany and Europe.
thumb The University Library of Leipzig was established in 1543. It is one of the oldest German university libraries and it serves as a source of literature and information for the Leipzig University as well as the general public in the region. Its extensive historical and special collections are nationally and internationally recognized. The library consists of the main building "Bibliotheca Albertina" and forty branches situated near their respective academic institutions. The current stock comprises 5 million volumes and about 7,700 periodicals. Collections range from important medieval and modern manuscripts to incunabula, papyri, autographs, ostraka and coins. The Apel Codex, a manuscript of 16th century music, is currently housed in the Leipzig University library.
The university's urban campus comprises several locations. All in all, the university is spread across 38 locations in Leipzig. The university's buildings in the center of Leipzig underwent substantial reconstruction since 2005; the new university's main building being drafted by Dutch architect Erick van Egeraat. The estimated total cost for the renovation project is 140 million euro. The new buildings are going to be completed in 2009/2010, just in time for the university's 600th anniversary celebrations.
Besides the faculties and other teaching institutions, there are several other bodies that serve the university: the University Library, a university archive and administration, numerous museums (e.g. the Museum for Music Instruments and the Museum of Ancient Egypt) and the university hospital. The university's Leipzig Botanical Garden was established in 1542 and it is the second oldest botanical garden in Europe. The University's Musical Instrument Museum includes one of the world's three surviving pianos built by Bartolomeo Cristofori, the piano's inventor. Five other Cristofori instruments are included in the Museum's collections.
Today, the university has 14 faculties. With over 29,000 students, it is Saxony's second-largest university. There are now more than 150 institutes and the university offers 190 study programs leading to Bachelor's degrees, Master's degrees, Staatsexamen, Diplom and Ph.D.s of which nearly all are tuition-free. Arguably, the Faculty of Medicine is the university's most renowned faculty.
The university offers a number of courses in English and other foreign languages and there are several programs allowing foreign students to study abroad at the university. Current exchange partner universities include the University of Arizona, University of Oklahoma, University of Houston, University of Alberta, Ohio University and University of Edinburgh among others. Traditionally contacts to universities in Eastern Europe and the Far East are strong as well, e.g. there are cooperations with leading institutions like Lomonosov University (Moscow) and Renmin University (Beijing).
There is a variety of International Master's programs: American Studies, Global Studies, SEPT (MBA in SME Promotion) and one Bachelor/Master's/Ph.D. program (International Physics Studies Program) taught in English. American Studies Leipzig is one of the most distinguished programs of its kind in Europe. In the last three years alone, it has been awarded three prestigious international professorships: The Fulbright-Leipzig Chair for American Studies, the DAAD Professorship for American and International Studies, and the Picador Guest Professorship for Literature. It is also the home of aspeers:emerging voices in american studies, a graduate-level peer-reviewed scholarly journal for American studies. Erasmus Mundus Global Studies on the other hand, is an interdisciplinary, research-based Master offered by a consortium of five European universities: Leipzig University, the London School of Economics, University of Vienna, University of Wroclaw and Roskilde University. Since 2008 the university is also home to one of Germany's few Confucius Institutes. The Institute is based on an agreement of June 2006 between the university administration and representatives of the Chinese Embassy to establish a Confucius Institute in cooperation with the Renmin University and the "National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language".
The university is ranked 2nd in Germany, 20th in Europe and 105th in the world by the web-based Webometrics Ranking of World Universities. (A ranking evaluating the university's scientific online publications.) The 2010 ARWU-Ranking sees the university in the 201-300 tier of world universities and within the top 25 in Germany. In respect to university sports Leipzig has constantly been ranked among the German top 10 in various disciplines over the past decades.
Anatomy auditorium of the Faculty of Medicine The original four facilities were the Faculty of Arts, Theology, Medicine, and Law. Today, the university comprises the following 14 faculties:
The following institutes are affiliated with the university:
People associated with the Leipzig University
Leipzig University has produced many notable individuals. Some famous people affiliated with Leipzig include:
C. F. W. Walther was the first President of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod and its most influential theologian.
Johann Wolfgang Goethe, German poet and polymath
Michelle Bachelet, first female President of Chile between 2006 and 2010
Angela Merkel, first female German Chancellor
Felix Bloch, Swiss physicist, Nobel Prize in Physics
Gustav Hertz, German physicist, Nobel Prize in Physics
Julius Edgar Lilienfeld, Jewish Austro-Hungarian Physicist, inventor of the transistor
Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher
Richard Wagner, German composer
Wilhelm Wundt, German psychologist, founded the first formal laboratory for psychological research
Gustav Theodor Fechner, German psychologist, founder of Psychophysics
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, German philosopher and writer
Hans-Dietrich Genscher, German politician, Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor
Werner Heisenberg, German physicist, Nobel Prize in Physics
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, German polymath
Ferdinand de Saussure, linguist, founder of structuralism
Bartel Leendert van der Waerden, Dutch mathematician
Maximilian von Frey, physiologist, inventor of the esthesiometer
Zhar Lestin, Kaliningradian (Russian) mathematician
Hans-Georg Gadamer, German philosopher and rector of the university
The local radio station of the University is "mephisto 97.6" and is receivable in the Leipzig area on FM 97.6 MHz and is also fed into the cable network of Leipzig at 93.6 MHz (both on a shared frequency with radio "R.SA"). It can be received Monday to Friday from 10 to 12am and 6 to 8pm. Therefore it can be received by over a million people in the broadcasting area.
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