Heidelberg, University of

Heidelberg, University of

 

the oldest German university; located in the city of Heidelberg, Federal Republic of Germany. Founded in 1386, it included the four traditional medieval faculties of liberal arts, theology, medicine, and law; the faculty of liberal arts became the faculty of philosophy in the 16th century. In the late 15th and early 16th century the university was transformed into one of the centers of humanism through the efforts of the scholars who taught there (in particular the philologist and humanist J. Reuchlin). The University of Heidelberg was heavily damaged during the Thirty Years War and the pillaging of Heidelberg by Catholic troops in 1622. At the end of the 17th century the university was burned by the French. The rebirth of the university as an institution of scholarship and science began after Heidelberg was annexed to Baden in 1803. In the 19th century the University of Heidelberg became one of the leading educational institutions of Germany. Among those who worked at the university were the philosophers G. Hegel and K. Fischer, the chemist R. Bunsen, the physicist G. Kirchhoff, the naturalist H. Helmholtz, and the historian F. Schlosser.

In the 1968-69 academic year the University of Heidelberg consisted of five faculties: philosophy, theology, law, medicine, and natural sciences; more than 11,000 students were enrolled, and there were 550 teachers. The library (founded in 1386) houses more than 1 million volumes.

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