History of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics

The Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität Hannover is the second largest university in Lower Saxony with 28,000 students and 330 professors. About 90 subjects are available. The Leibniz Universität Hannover is a member of the TU9 German Institutes of Technology. The Faculty of Mathematics and Physics includes 2,200 students, 50 professors and over 400 other employees.


  • 1831 Foundation of the Higher Trade School

    The history of the Leibniz University began in 1831 with the founding of the Higher Vocational School with the director Karl Karmarsch. He regarded mathematics as an important subject for technical studies, and designated the holder of the mathematics teaching position as Deputy Director. Between 1856 and 1858, two further apprenticeships for lower and higher mathematics were created.

    With the coming of the railways in 1842 the number of students rose sharply. The curriculum was radically altered, and the institution was turned into a polytechnic in 1847. Entrance requirements and the age of the polytechnic students were raised. Teaching became more theoretical, mathematical and specialised.

    View from the west onto the market place, in the background Bornemann's house, around 1835.
  • On the Way to Becoming an Institute of Technology

    The number of subjects taught tripled between 1845 and 1853. The library built up by Karl Karmarsch could soon measure up to other similar institutions. Hannover was growing rapidly at that time. In 1866 Prussia annexed the Kingdom of Hannover.

    Although the transition to a Polytechnic had been relatively rapid, the further development of the college between 1854 and Karl Karmarsch’s retirement in 1875 was rather slow. Under his successor, the civil engineer and economist Wilhelm Launhardt, began the accelerated development of the college into an Institute of Technology. With the conversion between 1876 and 1880, mathematics, which was previously only a teaching area, became a research field.

    Hannover Institute of Technology moved into the Welfenschloss, the former Royal Palace, on 6th October 1879
  • Start of the Physical Research


    The physical research in Hanover began in 1853 under Gustav von Quintus Icilius, who had his doctorate under Carl Friedrich Gauss in Göttingen. He was appointed as a lecturer in physics and mineralogy. He was later followed by professors in experimental physics and practical physics and photography.

    On April 14, 1909, the Prussian Ministry of Education opened the Technical University of Hannover for the regular enrollment of women.

    After the First World War, the Technical University received the right to higher education as a teacher of mathematics, physics and chemistry. In physics and mathematics the diploma degree was created too. During this time, another position for theoretical physics was established, which from 1941, the later Nobel laureate Johannes Jensen held.

    The Polytechnic (after 1860)
  • From the Institute of Technology to the Technical University

    After a general agreement had been passed in 1964 on the reorganisation of teaching in the sixth forms of Gymnasien, teacher training became the key issue of all further university expansion plans. Student numbers, which had remained almost constant at 4,000 to 5,000 until 1967, rocketed. In 1978/79 there were 18,000 students at the Institute of Technology.

    In 1968, the College of Education for Technical Schools was incorporated. In the same year, the Institute of Technology was renamed Technical University.

    Former Hannover College of Education, Bismarckstraße
  • The Origin of the Physical Institutes

    The Institute of Meteorology was founded in 1949 outside the University in Sarstedt at the University of Horticulture and Regional Culture. It moved to Herrenhausen in 1950 and belonged to the field of biology in the 1970s. In 1978 it was assigned to the Department of Physics.

    The reconstruction after the war saw the formation of three departments: Experimental Physics, Theoretical Physics and Applied Physics. From the latter, the Institute of Quantum Optics was founded in 1974. The areas of spectroscopy and atomic processes were divided in 1978 with the Institute of Atomic and Molecular Physics (later Institute of Gravitational Physics) from experimental physics and joined in 1996 with plasma physics together. In 1962, Solid-State Physics formed its own institute.

    In 1957 radiation research began in Herrenhausen. First, the area is separately assigned, among others, in 1994 as a Center for Radiation Protection and Radioecology and in 2010 assigned to the Institute of Radioecology and Radiation Protection of the faculty.

  • The Nine Faculties

    Since 2005, the university has been divided into nine faculties. Mathematics and physics were combined. The Institute for Didactics of Mathematics and Physics was founded nearly at the same time.

    Today, the faculty consists of six mathematical institutes, six physical and meteorological institutes and the joint institute of didactics. There are 52 professors at the faculty.

    With the reorganization of the faculty, the Bachelor and Master degree programs were introduced in 2005. The diploma courses as well as the teacher training with state exams expired.

    Welcome new students at Leibniz Universität Hannover (Photo: Moritz Küstner) Welcome new students at Leibniz Universität Hannover (Photo: Moritz Küstner) Welcome new students at Leibniz Universität Hannover (Photo: Moritz Küstner)
    Welcome new students at Leibniz Universität Hannover (Photo: Moritz Küstner)
Information about Persons and Research in the Faculty (German)


Incumbency Name
01.04.17 - 31.03.19Prof. Dr. Roger Bielawski
01.04.17 - 31.03.19Prof. Dr. Clemens Walther (Prodekan)
01.04.13 - 31.03.17Prof. Dr. Uwe Morgner
06.04.11 - 31.03.13Prof. Dr. Elmar Schrohe
01.04.09 - 31.03.11Prof. Dr. Rolf Haug
01.04.07 - 31.03.09Prof. Dr. Joachim Escher
01.04.05 - 31.03.07 Prof. Dr. Olaf Lechtenfeld