Göttingen, University of

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Göttingen, University of


(also known as Georg August University), one of the best known German universities. Located in the Federal Republic of Germany, the university was founded in Göttingen in 1737. From the second half of the 18th century the University of Göttingen was the center of rationalist philosophy, at the end of the 18th century it embraced neohumanism, and at the beginning of the 19th century it was the center of the cultural and national political movement. As a result of the activities of well-known professors (such as K. Gauss, mathematician; F. Dahlmann, historian; the brothers J. and W. Grimm, philologists; and G. Hugo, jurist), historical, political, and natural and mathematical sciences became the leading sciences at the university. Göttingen was the most popular higher educational institution among the liberal gentry not only in Germany but also in other countries. Young noblemen from abroad came also to study.

Because of dissatisfaction with the reactionary policies of the feudal (precapitalist) government, student disturbances often occurred at the University of Göttingen (in 1790, 1806, and 1818). In 1837, in protest against the violation of the Hanover Constitution by King Ernest Augustus, seven of the most eminent professors resigned from the university. They included the brothers Grimm and the physicist W. Weber. The departure of this group of professors caused a temporary decline of the university. In the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the University of Göttingen again began to occupy a leading place in the field of mathematics and physical sciences. The faculty included the mathematicians G. F. B. Riemann, F. Klein, D. Hilbert, and H. Minkowski. During the period of the fascist dictatorship the most eminent scholars left the university, and it lost its standing as a great educational and scientific center.

In the 1970-71 academic year, the university’s faculties included theology, law and political sciences, medicine, philosophy, economics and social sciences, natural sciences and mathematics, forestry, and agriculture. The student enrollment was about 11,000, and the faculty comprised about 500 instructors. The university library had about 2 million volumes in 1970.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.