Arthur Schopenhauer (22 February 1788 – 21 September 1860) was a German philosopher known for his atheistic pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the fundamental question of whether reason alone can unlock answers about the world.
Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss (30 April 1777 – 23 February 1855) was a German mathematician and scientist who contributed significantly to many fields, including number theory, statistics, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, geophysics, electrostatics, astronomy and optics.
Heinrich Herman Robert Koch (11 December 1843 – 27 May 1910) was a German physician. He became famous for isolating Bacillus anthracis (1877), the Tuberculosis bacillus (1882) and the Vibrio cholera (1883) and for his development of Koch's postulates. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his tuberculosis findings in 1905. He is considered one of the founders of microbiology—he inspired such major figures as Paul Ehrlich and Gerhard Domagk.
Irving Langmuir (31 January 1881 – 16 August 1957) was an American chemist and physicist. His most noted publication was the famous 1919 article "The Arrangement of Electrons in Atoms and Molecules" in which, building on Gilbert N. Lewis's cubical atom theory and Walther Kossel's chemical bonding theory, he outlined his "concentric theory of atomic structure".
Jürgen Habermas is a German sociologist and philosopher in the tradition of critical theory and pragmatism. He is perhaps best known for his work on the concept of the public sphere, the topic of his first book entitled The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere.
Maximilian Carl Emil "Max" Weber (21 April 1864–14 June 1920) was a German lawyer, politician, historian, political economist, and sociologist, who profoundly influenced social theory and the remit of sociology itself. Weber's major works dealt with the rationalization and so called "disenchantment" which he associated with the rise of capitalism and modernity.
Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck (1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898) was a Prussian/German statesman of the late 19th century, and a dominant figure in world affairs. As Ministerpräsident, or Prime Minister, of Prussia from 1862–1890, he oversaw the unification of Germany. In 1867 he became Chancellor of the North German Confederation. He designed the German Empire in 1871, becoming its first Chancellor and dominating its affairs until his dismissal in 1890.
Robert Wilhelm Eberhard Bunsen (30 March 1811 – 16 August 1899) was a German chemist. He investigated emission spectra of heated elements, and with Gustav Kirchhoff discovered caesium (in 1860) and rubidium (in 1861). Bunsen developed several gas-analytical methods, was a pioneer in photochemistry, and did early work in the field of organoarsenic chemistry. With his laboratory assistant, Peter Desaga, he developed the Bunsen burner, an improvement on the laboratory burners then in use.
J. Robert Oppenheimer (April 22, 1904 – February 18, 1967) was an American theoretical physicist and professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is best known for his role as the scientific director of the Manhattan Project, the World War II effort to develop the first nuclear weapons at the secret Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. For this reason he is remembered as "The Father of the Atomic Bomb".
Gerhard Fritz Kurt Schröder (7 April 1944) is a German politician, and was Chancellor of Germany from 1998 to 2005. A member of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, he led a coalition government of the SPD and the Greens. Before becoming a full-time politician, he was a lawyer, and before becoming Chancellor he was Minister-president of the German state of Lower Saxony.
Georg Friedrich Bernhard Riemann (September 17, 1826 – July 20, 1866) was an influential German mathematician who made lasting contributions to analysis and differential geometry, some of them enabling the later development of general relativity.
Saint Edith Stein (October 12, 1891 – August 9, 1942) was a German-Jewish philosopher, nun, martyr, and saint of the Roman Catholic Church. Born into an observant Jewish family but an atheist by her teenage years, she converted to Christianity in 1922, was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church and was received into the Discalced Carmelite Order as a postulant in 1934.
Gerhard Karl Erich Gentzen was a German mathematician and logician. He had his major contributions in the foundation of mathematics, proof theory, especially on natural deduction and sequent calculus. He died in 1945 after the Second World War, because he was deprived of food after being arrested in Prague.
Thomas Young (13 June 1773 – 10 May 1829) was an English genius and polymath, admired by among others Herschel and Einstein. He is famous with the public for having partly deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphs before Champollion did. Young made notable scientific contributions to the fields of vision, light, solid mechanics, energy, physiology, language, musical harmony and Egyptology.
Max Born (11 December 1882 – 5 January 1970) was a German born physicist and mathematician who was instrumental in the development of quantum mechanics. He also made contributions to solid-state physics and optics and supervised the work of a number of notable physicists in the 1920s and 30s. Born won the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Wilhelm Friedrich Ackermann was a German mathematician best known for the Ackermann function, an important example in the theory of computation. Ackermann was awarded the Ph.D. by the University of Göttingen in 1925 for his thesis Begründung des "tertium non datur" mittels der Hilbertschen Theorie der Widerspruchsfreiheit, which was a consistency proof of arithmetic apparently without full Peano induction (although it did use e.g. induction over the length of proofs).
Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander Freiherr von Humboldt (September 14, 1769 – May 6, 1859) was a German naturalist and explorer, and the younger brother of the Prussian minister, philosopher, and linguist, Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835). Humboldt's quantitative work on botanical geography was foundational to the field of biogeography.
Gottfried Semper (November 29, 1803 - May 15, 1879) was a German architect, art critic, and professor of architecture, who designed and built the Semper Opera House in Dresden between 1838 and 1841. In 1849 he took part in the May Uprising in Dresden and was put on the government's wanted list. Semper fled first to Zürich and later to London. Later he returned to Germany after the 1862 amnesty granted to the revolutionaries.
Thomas Johann Seebeck (9 April 1770 – 10 December 1831) was a physicist who in 1821 discovered the thermoelectric effect. Seebeck was born in Reval to a wealthy Baltic German merchant family. He received a medical degree in 1802 from the University of Göttingen, but preferred to study physics. In 1821 he discovered the thermoelectric effect, where a junction of dissimilar metals produces an electric current when exposed to a temperature gradient.
Bartel Leendert van der Waerden was a Dutch mathematician. Van der Waerden learned advanced mathematics at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Göttingen, from 1919 until 1926. He was much influenced by Emmy Noether at Göttingen. Amsterdam awarded him a Ph.D. for a thesis on algebraic geometry, supervised by Hendrick de Vries. Göttingen awarded him the habilitation in 1928.
Christian Johann Heinrich Heine (13 December 1797 – 17 February 1856) was a journalist, essayist, literary critic, and one of the most significant German romantic poets. He is remembered chiefly for selections of his lyric poetry, many of which were set to music in the form of lieder (art songs) by German composers, most notably by Robert Schumann.
Maria Goeppert-Mayer (June 28, 1906 – February 20, 1972) was a German-born American theoretical physicist, and Nobel laureate in Physics for proposing the nuclear shell model of the atomic nucleus. She is the second female laureate in physics, after Marie Curie.
Wilhelm Carl Werner Otto Fritz Franz Wien (13 January 1864 – 30 August 1928) was a German physicist who, in 1893, used theories about heat and electromagnetism to deduce Wien's displacement law, which calculates the emission of a blackbody at any temperature from the emission at any one reference temperature. He also formulated an expression for the black-body radiation which is correct in the photon-gas limit.