Jürgen Renn

Director
Department I
Dr., Professor, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
Residence:
since 1. März 1994
Profile

In his research Jürgen Renn studies, together with his group, structural changes in systems of knowledge. The aim is to develop a theoretical understanding of knowledge evolution, taking into account its epistemic, social and material dimensions. As groundwork for such a theoretical approach to the history of knowledge, he has been studying some of the great transformations of systems of physical knowledge, such as the origin of theoretical science in antiquity, the emergence of classical mechanics in the early modern period and the revolutions of modern physics in the early twentieth century. In addition to this longitudinal perspective on the evolution of knowledge, he and his collaborators have developed a transversal approach, studying dissemination and transformation processes of knowledge across cultural boundaries.
He has been engaged from the very start in the Digital Humanities and the Open Access Movement. He is a co-initiator of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities launched by the MPG in 2003 and has created together with his colleagues the Edition Open Access as an innovative book series. He has also been responsible for numerous major exhibitions on the history of science from Albert Einstein - Chief Engineer of the Universe to Archimede. Arte e scienza dell'invenzione
Jürgen Renn is honorary professor for History of Science at both the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Freie Universität Berlin. He has taught at Boston University, at the ETH in Zurich and at the University of Tel Aviv. He has held visiting positions in Vienna, Bergamo, Pavia and at CalTech. He is a member of the Leopoldina as well as of further national and international scientific and editorial boards. In 2011 he won the Premio Anassilaos International. In 2014, he won the ESHS Neuenschwander Prize and the Premio Internazionale Marco & Alberto Ippolito and was awarded the Max Planck Communitas Award and the Francis Bacon Award.

Selected publications: 

Steinhauser, T., Gutfreund, H., & Renn, J. (2017). A Special Relationship: Turning Points in the History of German-Israeli Scientific Cooperation (2. Aufl.). Berlin: Forschungsprogramm Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft.

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Renn, J. (2017). Auf den Baustellen des Anthropozäns. In A. Lepik (Ed.), Draußen: Landschaftsarchitektur auf globalem Terrain (pp. 16-19). Berlin: Hatje Cantz.

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Blum, A. S., Giulini, D., Lalli, R., & Renn, J. (Eds.). (2017). Editorial introduction to the special issue "The Renaissance of Einstein’s Theory of Gravitation". European Physical Journal H, 42(2), 95-105. doi:10.1140/epjh/e2017-80023-3.

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Gutfreund, H., & Renn, J. (2017). El camino hacia la relatividad: el artículo de Einstein que camnió la cienca. Barcelona: Tusquets Editores.

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Renn, J., & Laubichler, M. D. (2017). Extended evolution and the history of knowledge. In F. Stadler (Ed.), Integrated history and philosophy of science: problems, perspectives, and case studies (pp. 109-125). Dordrecht: Springer.

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Renn, J., & Engler, O. (2017). Gespaltene Vernunft: Einstein - Fleck - Schlick. Berlin: Mattes & Seitz.

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Rosol, C., Nelson, S., & Renn, J. (2017). In the machine room of the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene Review, 4(1), 2-8. doi:10.1177/2053019617701165.

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Renn, J. (in press). Introduction. In B. Friedrich, J. Renn, D. Hoffmann, F. Schmaltz, & M. Wolf (Eds.), One Hundred Years of Chemical Warfare: Research, Deployment, Consequences. Heidelberg: Springer International Publishing.

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Renn, J. (2017). On the construction sites of the Anthropocene. In A. Lepik (Ed.), Out There: Landscape architecture on the global terrain (pp. 16-19). Berlin: Hatje Cantz.

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Friedrich, B., Hoffmann, D., Renn, J., Schmaltz, F., & Wolf, M. (Eds.). (in press). One hundred years of chemical warfare: research, deployment, consequences. Heidelberg: Springer International Publishing.

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Friedrich, B., Hoffmann, D., Renn, J., Schmaltz, F., & Wolf, M. (Eds.). (2017). One Hundred Years of Chemical Warfare: Research, Deployment, Consequences. Cham: Springer.

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Nelson, S., Rosol, C., & Renn, J. (Eds.). (2017). Perspectives on the technosphere [Special Issue]. The Anthropocene Review (Special Issue), 4(1).

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Gutfreund, H., & Renn, J. (2017). The formative years of relativity: the history and meaning of Einstein's Princeton Lectures. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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Blum, A. S., Giulini, D., Lalli, R., & Renn, J. (Eds.). (2017). The Renaissance of Einstein’s Theory of Gravitation [Special Issue]. European Physical Journal H, 42(2),.

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Blum, A. S., Jähnert, M., Lehner, C., & Renn, J. (2017). Translation as heuristics: Heisenberg’s turn to matrix mechanics. Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics, 58. doi:10.1016/j.shpsb.2017.03.005.

Mehr
Presentations
January 2017
Leopoldina Jahresempfang 2017, Halle
Gravitationswellen und die wechselvolle Geschichte der Relativitätstheorie
January 2017
Perspectives Committee Meeting Biology and Medicine Section, GV, Munich
Impressions from the History of the BMS
December 2016
Secularity and the Disciplines: A Farewell Conference for Gabriel Motzkin
How Many Times Have the Natural Sciences Emerged?
October 2016
Präsidialkreis der MPG, Berlin
Forschungsprogramm Geschichte der MPG (1948–2002)
September 2016
Jahresversammlung der Leopoldina, Halle
Wie oft sind die Naturwissenschaften entstanden? With Matthias Schemmel
September 2016
GDNÄ Jahresversammlung, Greifswald
Ammoniak: Wie eine epochale Erfindung das Leben der Menschen und die Arbeit der Chemiker verändert
July 2016
Konferenz Towards a Global History of Ideas, Erfurt
The Globalization of Knowledge in History: The Perspective of Historical Epistemology
June 2016
Universität Wien
Mach’s Evolutionary Conception of Knowledge. With Manfred Laubichler
November 2015
100 Years of GR, Warschau
The Genesis and Renaissance of General Relativity
October 2015
Cycle de conférence: Les mécanos de la Générale: Einstein, 100 ans de relativité générale, Paris
La renaissance de la théorie de la gravitation d'Einstein
October 2015
Colloquium am Albert Einstein Institut, Golm
The Emergence oft he Tension between Quantum Theroy and Gravity. With Alexander Blum
October 2015
Conference Series: Gravitation 2015, University of Vienna
Die Entstehung und Renaissance der Allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie
July 2015
Salzburger Hochschulwochen
Wissenschaft als Menschheitsgedächtnis und Handlungspotential – in zehn Thesen. With Manfred Laubichler, Bernd Scherer und Helge Wendt
July 2015
DPG Lehrerfortbildung Bad Honnef
Einstein als Problemlöser: Die Rolle von Heuristik bei der Entwicklung der allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie
June 2015
Conference: Convergence. Im Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada
The Genesis and Renaissance of General Relativity
June 2015
CPT and GSHS- Section, Meeting at the Annual Assembly, Berlin
Die MPG zwischen 1948 und 2002: Auftakt eines Forschungsprogramms
May 2015
Fiesole Retreat – Preconference, HU Berlin
The Value of Collections for Researchers in the Humanities
March 2015
DPG Frühjahrstagung, TU Berlin
Die Entstehung und Wiedergeburt der allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie
March 2015
Die Zukunft der Wissensspeicher, Westfälische Akademie der Wissenschaften und Künste, Düsseldorf
Netzwerke des Wissens im 21. Jahrhundert
February 2015
Conference: 100th Anniversary of General Relativity, Cambridge
Historical Aspects of How the General Relativity Came About
February 2015
Minerva Advisory Board Meeting, Tel Aviv
A Special Relationship: Turning Points in the History of German-Israeli Scientific Cooperation. With Hanoch Gutfreund
January 2015
Paris, Séminaire d’Historie et Philosophie de la Physique-Paris
The Genesis of General Relativity from Philosophy to Cosmology
January 2015
Jerusalem Meeting on Space – Time Theories
The Renaissance of General Relativity: A New Reading. With Alex Blum
January 2015
Jerusalem Meeting on Space – Time Theories
Einstein´s 1913 Vienna Lecture: Modeling Gravitational theory on Electrodynamics. With Michel Janssen
November 2014
Conference on Einstein and the relation between physics and mathematics, Chicago
Einstein’s Vienna Lecture: Modeling Gravitational theory on Electrodynamics. With Michel Janssen
September 2014
Workshop on Online Publishing in Florence, Italy
Open Access Publikationen: Formen und Entwicklungen im akademischen Bereich. With Matteo Valleriani und Dirk Wintergrün
September 2014
6th International Conference for the European Society for the History of Science, Lisbon
From the History of Science to the Evolution of Knowledge – and Back
August 2014
Summerschool Tübingen
The Genesis of General Relativity – 
from Philosophy to Cosmology
June 2014
Integrated History and Philosophy of Science – &HPS5 in Wien
On the Evolution of Knowledge: From Cooperative Action to Science
January 2014
Knowledge in this Era: Historical Perspecitves, Contemporary Challenges and the Future of Higher Education, Tel Aviv
The Struggle for an Autonomy of Knowledge: Rethinking Cultural Abstractions
May 2013
Musei Capitolini, Roma
Inauguration: Archimede, arte e scienza dell' invenzione
May 2013
Seven Pines Symposium: The Conceptual Development of Quantum Physics, Minnesota
From Classical Mechanics to Quantum Mechanics. Schroedinger and Umdeutung
April 2013
Planetarium am Insulaner, Berlin
Einsteins Entdeckung der Relativitaetstheorie
March 2013
Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES ), Paris
Einstein's Path to General Relativity
February 2013
UNESCO, First WSIS+10 Review Meeting, Paris
Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities + 10 Commitment of the Max Planck Society and International Research and Cultural Organisations
January 2013
XIV. Colloquio del Lessico Intellettuale Europeo (ILIESI), Roma
The Space of Relativistic Mechanics / Der Raum der relativistischen Mechanik
January 2013
Das Anthropozaen-Projekt. Eine Eroeffnung, Berlin
Keynote Lecture: Anthropocenic Research Forum
November 2012
Humboldt University Berlin
Contingentia. Transformationen des Zufalls. Zufaelle der Transformation
November 2012
The 5th conference of the European Society for the History of Science, University of Athens
Einstein as a Cosmopolitan (Plenary Lecture)
November 2012
Universitaet Erlangen
Festvortrag: Die Globalisierung des Wissens und ihre Geschichte
November 2012
"Wissenschaftsakademien im Zeitalter der Ideologien", LEOPOLDINA und HU Berlin, Halle
Utilitas oder Curiositas. Zur Bedeutung der Wissenschaftsakademien heute
October 2012
Juedisches Museum, Berlin
Freier Zugang zu kulturellem Erbe: eine Zwischenbilanz
September 2012
Biblioteca Leonardiana di Vinci, VINCI
Science et Representations. Colloque International en memorie de Pierre Souffrin
September 2012
University of Oslo
Globalization of Knowledge and Its Consequences
August 2012
The International Radiation Symposium 2012, Berlin
Einstein at the Crossroads between Quantum- and Relativity Physics
June 2012
FU Berlin, Keynote Lecture
Ethik - eine Selbstreflexion der Wissenschaft
June 2012
8th meeting of STEP ( Science and Technology in the European Periphery), Corfu National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Keynote Lecture
The Globalization of Knowledge in History
June 2012
Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, Halle
C.F. von Weizsaecker in den Netzwerken der MPG
June 2012
8th meeting of STEP ( Science and Technology in the European Periphery), Corfu National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, Keynote Lecture
The Globalization of Knowledge in History
March 2012
Evangelische Akademie Tutzing, Tagung „Himmels(t)raum“
Vor 400 Jahren: Galileo Galilei Vollendet die kopernikanische Wende
February 2012
FU Berlin, Akademische Abschlussfeier des Fachbereichs Physik, Berlin
Die Geschichte der Wellenmechanik
February 2012
EFC Research Forum Stakeholders' Conference, Barcelona
History of Science in Action: Creating and Publishing Virtual Knowledge Spaces
February 2012
Residencia de Estudiantes Madrid
Einstein as a Missionary of Science
February 2012
University of Bern
Beyond Editions: Historical Sources in the Digital Age
January 2012
FU Berlin (Experimental Molecular Biophysics), Klosters
The Global Evolution of Knowledge

Contact

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science 
Boltzmannstraße 22 
14195 Berlin 
Germany

Projects