What is the MPIWG?
The MPIWG in Berlin is one of eighty research institutes in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities administered by the Max Planck Society. It was established in 1994 as an international research center for the history of science in Germany.
What are our research interests?
Researchers at the MPIWG investigate how new categories of thought, proof, and experience have emerged in the centuries-long interaction between the sciences and their ambient cultures. The specific research projects span several millennia: cultures north, south, east, and west: and numerous scientific disciplines, ranging from the origins of counting systems in Mesopotamia to today’s postgenomics, from Renaissance natural history to the early days of quantum mechanics. Exemplary research questions include: How did the fundamental scientific concepts (e.g., number, force, heredity, probability) and practices (e.g., experiment, proof, classification) develop in specific historical contexts? And in what ways did local knowledge, originally devised to solve specific problems, become universalized? These questions form the basis of a theoretically oriented history of science which studies scientific thinking and knowledge acquisition in their historical development. More
Who works at the MPIWG?
Researchers at the MPIWG come from every continent and a wide spectrum of scientific and scholarly backgrounds. The MPIWG is involved in collaborations with scientists, historians of art and architecture, jurists, archaeologists, and museum curators. Go to staff pages
How is our work accessible?
The MPIWG supports the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, and uses its website to present its research results and current research projects to the general public. The MPIWG aims to pioneer new forms of publication and to tap into and make accessible new source materials. Resources and electronic research tools also can be found on this website. In its preprint series, the MPIWG provides a forum for preliminary research results in the history of science, also available through this website. Its biennial report informs a wider audience about the institute’s work. Monographs and articles addressed to a professional readership can be found on the institute’s publication list.
Where is the MPIWG located?
The MPIWG building is in Berlin Dahlem, in the vicinity of a number of other Max Planck institutes. The new building, designed by the architectural office of Dietrich & Dietrich (Stuttgart), was completed in 2006. The rotunda of chestnuts located at the center of the property determined the peculiar shape of the building. The individual departments reside in linked pavilions arranged around the chestnut trees. The library is the heart of the building: directly accessible from all departments in the institute, the library even enjoys natural lighting despite its subterranean location. (Photographs: Ulrich Schwarz) How to get to the MPIWG